From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Fiction

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.

Flash Fiction

To My (Final) Girl

You wanted to buy the house. Could you at least admit that? You looked at the dark wooden floors and the bay windows, and you said, “This is the one.” You didn’t mind at all that our neighbors refused to approach the property, would only wave from across the street as they jogged by. It didn’t even slow you down when our agent got around to disclosing what had happened in the house before we lived there. That has nothing to do with us, you said.

Flash Fiction

The Port of Le Havre, Night Effect, 1873

Mermaid stories and selkie stories, mother Eve stories, they always start the same way: with curious girls who want to know. So they leave their homes and lose themselves, but only for a time. Mermaid stories and selkie stories, mother Eve stories, they always end the same way: heads bowed, hearts heavy, they go back. They go home.

Fiction

A Gift from the Queen of Faerie to the King of Hell

The designs weren’t in the window or in any of the shop’s sample books, but I caught sight of the tattoo artist tracing stencils onto transfer paper. I’d been looking for a place to finish my sleeves, and though the tumbling spike-thorn roses weren’t what I’d pictured, I could see them winding between my birds and beasts, viny tendrils and jagged rocks, the buds tempting and lush, the thorns sharp and deadly.