From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Fiction

Flash Fiction

Lost Portals

In a furniture showroom in Stockholm stood a large wardrobe called a Kleppstad. It was made out of cheap particle board and wooden pegs. If the shelves were removed and a person scrunched inside, the back panel would disappear and a passage would open into the shuddering woods of Myrkvior, where the highland trolls dwell. But a forklift backed into the wardrobe and it was taken to a dumpster.

Fiction

What is Mercy?

Nanda hauls the bucket from the depths of the well, her palms aflame with red blisters from clutching the frayed rope too tight. The thick rope, screeching against the pulley, trembling under the weight of the water, becomes heavier by the minute. The minute she goes weak, the bucket will plunge, crashing into the sweet water below, and she’ll have to start the charade for the fourth time.

Flash Fiction

Sounds for Crustaceans

“I’m a crustacean.”

Disbelief meets my gaze, then moves away. Jewel looks to the shells that decorate my room, the aquariums, the marked-down netting draped over my window. She looks to anything to save her the embarrassment of meeting my eyes, or the trouble of telling me I’m just a person, like her, like anyone. When she finally meets them, it is with resignation, and I know I’m being humored.

Fiction

Ghost Riders at Hutchinson’s Two-Pump

Clouds rolled across the evening sky, dark and low, dragging rain behind them. Desert washes ran dirt-red, and rocky mesas shone wet when lightning flashed. Rainwater frothed down the narrow slot of Sheep Drop Ravine, a chasm with overgrown edges that had claimed the lives of countless sheep and antelope, and of the entire “Handsome Jake” Jubles Gang as it had fled, on a similar night, from a posse of enraged Winslow, Arizona citizens.

Flash Fiction

My List of Bedtime Bogeyman Blues

1. I’m a grown woman. I do not believe in the bogeyman. 2. Okay, I believe in the bogeyman, but he is confined to nightmares. 3. The bogeyman is not allowed in my closet where I keep my sexy lingerie and aphrodisiac mothballs. Nor under my bed, nor in the real world.

Fiction

The Failing Name

The oval fruit, uneven on all sides even when it’s ripe, is not just for eating. Spaces in the dust roads filled with reddish-brown wind are what she sees in her lost childhood. Jolainne wants to tell you, to tell anyone who’ll listen, of hiding in the leaves of a mango tree, witnessing what could have been the onset of an assault.

Flash Fiction

Shapeshifter

At the Last Black Unicorn, no one is too much to too little; everyone is enough. Period.

I’ve had golden wings that glittered, making me a jewel of the sky as I glided through the air. Swam in pink and purple oceans on a nameless planet. Traversed the cosmos to witness the birth of a star. And yet none of that compares to the ecstasy I feel being loved by a Black woman.

Fiction

I Would

I had only one defense against a woman who knew me. “Fine.” I layered venom into my voice, to make her think it a hard-won concession yet again. “I’ll prophecy for you.” Queen Iroda stood alone by the parapet, a dark silhouette against the mountains. The scant light caught the gold embroidery on her robe and the perfect braids of red and silver that draped down her chest like chains.

Flash Fiction

There Will Be a Question and Answer Period After Your Inevitable Demise

We hope the manner of your death has been pleasing to you. You’re confused, perhaps. Uncomfortable? This period of adjustment is necessary—optimal—for your full post-life experience. Contrary to your expectations, there are no angels here, no mead hall with feasting warriors.

Fiction

A Softness of the Heart

Aunt Violet had been sick for a long time before she died. The doctor said cancer, but Louise’s Aunt Sinna said it was a soft heart. Louise was inclined to agree, knowing little of this cancer business. Anyway, Aunt Sinna never, ever lied.