From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Fiction

Flash Fiction

The Life and Death of Atomic Tangerine

Atomic Tangerine skates like a dream / nobody beats Atomic Tangerine. —Federova, Anya. Preserved Graffiti of the Water Riots. 2055, mixed media. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Fiction

Potemora in the Triad

There are always three: the father, the unfather, and the child. That’s why Vriskiaab threw my unfather off his back after she bore my baby sister, or so Vriskiaab tells me when he stops in the shade of a dune, his massive scales warm under my calves and the tail of him stretching behind me for leagues. My baby sister is soft and crimson-tacky in the crook of my arm.

Flash Fiction

The Magical Sow

When I was small, my mother told us a story about a talking fish who granted wishes. I got the family sow, who doesn’t. “Something’s wrong with Little Sister,” I whispered to the sow. Her ears perked. “Tell me.”

Fiction

Baba Nowruz Gives His Wife a Flower Only Once a Year

My mother tells me all the wrong stories. In our hut beneath the cypress trees, my mother opens up at story time. She steps away from her apron and her broom, her heaps of marjoram and pennyroyal, her pestle and her mortar, and her ingredients for medicinal soups. She throws off her scarf, and oils our hair with fragrant sedr oil. We keep company with her stories as the wolves outside howl their song to the moon. Just as their ancestors have and as their descendants always will.

Flash Fiction

rat/god

The rat was a god, but you had no idea. You found it snapped in half on the trap you set, dead.

Fiction

One Day the Cave Will Be Empty

“Tell me again about the night I was born.” Li Shing drags the comb through her daughter’s oil black hair. Impermeable, like a starless sky reflected against a dense sea. Or a fish’s opaque cloudy eye as it gasps at the bottom of a boat. Li Shing’s fist accidentally brushes the creature’s clammy gray neck, and she tries not to shudder.

Flash Fiction

Mirage-Stories

Dear Jojober, I hope this finds you well, old friend. I write to you from the deserts of Akosa, from a place so dry and far inland that the natives simply laugh at my tales of the sea. They call them eb’yore. Mirage-stories. I am the silly man who speaks in riddles, whose memories are dreams. Ha! If they only knew how true my stories are. If they only knew what kind of man I used to be.

Fiction

Drowned Best Friend

The clatter of rain against the window draws Lesley close. “Hey,” she hisses from across the kitchen. She calls me by my old name and I don’t even flinch. It’s morning, and I’m trying to get breakfast done before Mom comes down, because a perfectly fried egg makes her more likely to say yes to what I’m about to ask. The light was coming through the windows over the sink all yellow and golden, but the storm blew in fast, and now there’s electricity prickling in the air and everything smells damp. I left the window open, hoping she’d show, despite the water pushing through the screen into Mom’s flowerboxes above the sink.

Flash Fiction

How to Make Love to a Ciguapa

1. Wake at dawn. 2. La ciguapa finds you, but you must first pay her homage. Lore dictates she is tucked in the lush mountains of the Dominican Republic. Try the countryside of Constanza, away from the business of the valley below. Follow the crushed line of cliffs set against the horizon.

Fiction

Beginnings

In the beginning, June and Nat are best friends. June is not yet a swarm of honeybees and Nat is not yet a cloud of horseflies, and the king hasn’t yet decided that separating them into parts like this—June’s left pinky finger one bee, her left ring finger another—is the only surefire way to strip them of what they really are. Which, at least in the beginning, is best friends, living together on the outskirts of town, sharing a dresser full of secondhand band tees, squeezing lemon juice onto one another’s hair in the summer, then sitting together on the blacktop to wait.