From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Fiction

Flash Fiction

So. Fucking. Metal.

Baron Samedi pounds the drums and the whole floor shakes. That’s his thing, earthquakes. I heard the Skull Suckers played Santa Monica and the Baron literally brought the whole place down during a blistering solo of “The Devil May Ride.”

Fiction

The Woman With No Face

Ankuin knew she was in a sim by the mineral taste in her mouth. The other tells were more subtle: the fractal pattern of moss on the cave wall, the cyclical rhythm of the rain on wet fronds, and the lyrical birdsong piercing through the dense forest. Most people wouldn’t notice such details, because most people didn’t have a reason to doubt their senses. But Ankuin’s senses were never fully her own.

Flash Fiction

Single Origin

I met Fawn in line for the bog witch’s coffee. At first, there was a man standing between us, but after a few days of waiting, he wandered off. Most people did, but not Fawn and me. We started talking once we were beside each other, sharing the food we’d brought. I’d brought a flask of bourbon, which she hated (and still hates to this day), but she gamely worked her way through it with me.

Fiction

Arenous

It starts with the patch of skin behind her right ear, where her too-large turquoise glasses frame sits awkwardly, an unbalanced seesaw upon her nose. While finishing a requisition report, she scratches there unconsciously, and her nails catch on something hard and thin, coming back with a flimsy yellow patch the size of her nail, translucent and slightly elastic.

Flash Fiction

Close Enough to Divine

Mona watched them with dark, darting eyes as they dipped and tripped over the makeshift dance floor in the stuffy basement. Their laughter sounded high and clear, silky strands of hair catching the dim light and refracting it into a million shimmering sparkles. She gripped her cup, the plastic cracking between her fingers, the piss-warm and piss-taste beer threatening to overflow. Careful, careful, she chastised herself, easing her grip, forcing herself to relax. To ignore that itchy feeling between her shoulder blades. The tingling at her fingertips that drove her to something. Was it one of them? She puzzled over it while she watched, her eyes catching everything.

Fiction

Man vs. Bomb

Watch. The starter pistol sounds. The man takes off running. Five seconds later, the bomb takes off after him. The man is young and strong, for a human, but his legs are short. He’s naked and doesn’t have much hair, even on top of his head. His genitals swing frantically, like a smaller, more terrified version of himself, as he runs from the bomb.

Flash Fiction

The Code for Everything

Izzy hugged her knees to her chest, her stomach a tight ball of humiliation. She was out on the verandah, sinking into a saggy floral couch. The city was doing its ridiculous Melbourne-summer thing, where the night was hotter than the day, and heat radiated off the asphalt in waves. She’d left the party to “get some air,” which was code for “cry where no one can see you.” You had to know the code for everything, that was important.

Fiction

Flight

Tonight, Jekwu and Izu are perched on Chapel’s fence. They love this fence. It is the only fence in Selemku that is still coated with fresh algae-spirogyra lichen, warm under their feet, like a rug. Here, the glint of the full moon on Chapel’s stained-glass windows crisscrosses their grey feathers, the same way rainbow beams stretch out across the sky in the mornings. The air from this height is cold and dry. It wriggles its way under their skin, sending spasms down their spine. From time to time, the halogen-bulb atop the belfry comes on and then goes off and then on again. A never-ending cycle.

Flash Fiction

Of Course You Screamed

Sunsets are never beautiful here. Instead, it’s as though the sky burns red and hot, the lengthening shadows falling like ash, smudging and darkening everything they touch. This isn’t the comforting darkness of your cottage, where your grandmother’s well-worn furniture provided soft edges. (What did they do to your grandmother? Did they hang her like the others?)

Fiction

Kisser

Bragg sleeps alone. Thirty-four. This morning, he wakes up with one less tooth in his mouth, a central incisor. What his dentist, later and while looking at a dental chart, calls the patient’s Number Nine. Bragg’s Number Nine, root to crown, a crucial corn-on-the-cob tooth, is not in his mouth. It’s on the pillow beside him. Bragg rubs sleep from his eyes. That first glimpse of the tooth sends his tongue darting to the front of his mouth. An absence. A canyon.