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Fantasy

Lumberjack chopping down a dryad

A Lumberjack’s Guide to Dryad Spotting

It’s spring when you arrive, or what passes for it in the Northwoods. The ground is still frozen because otherwise, you’d have to wait months for it to dry to get all the equipment in. It’s cold and your knuckles split from having to swing the axe in the dry air, but it beats Milwaukee. […]

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Womens Work by Amelia Aldred Fantasy Fiction

Women’s Work

At Mama’s funeral, the ghosts crowded around the casket, like see-through pallbearers. “Go away,” I said. “She gone. She can’t talk to you no more.” Miss Ruth, our neighbor, patted my arm. She thought I was talking to the mourners. “Oh honey,” she said, “I know you feel like that now. But you gonna need […]

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A Menagerie of Grief

When my daughter’s chest fell and did not rise again, when her doctor looked at the monitors and shook her head, when it was over, really over, and still she lay there, my grief pushed its scaly head out of her chest. My grief was a dragon, with scales of steel and eyes of flame. […]

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Perfectly Not Normal

In the womb, you already know she is different. You feel her first kicks earlier than should be possible. Later, when your belly is stretched taut, you can see and feel the edges of appendages that should not be. You can’t muster the courage to ask the doctor–but your ultrasounds last longer than most as […]

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Boxes and Lockets and Clocks

Tia’s mother’s truth is kept in a wooden box on the mantel above the fireplace. It’s a plain box, not ornate at all. Sometimes they are carved and intricate, like the delicate jewelry box Tia has seen next to her aunt’s bed. A few people wear theirs around their necks, a wooden locket nestling at […]

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The Monster on Her Cheek

WHEN JANE WAS BORN, the first thing the nurse said was, “There’s a monster on her cheek.” Wendy struggled to sit up. “Let me see her. Let me hold my daughter.” “I’m so sorry,” the doctor said, her mouth turned down, not quite meeting her eyes. “Did you get vaccinated?” the nurse said. “Of course,” […]

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Three Rules for Befriending Ghosts

Rule #1: Don’t ask them how they died Mandy died young but it wasn’t truly tragic. It was in the sense that she was ten years old and would never learn to drive, sure. However, when you looked at how she was being raised (parents in and out of jail, drugs, etc.) she was almost […]

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Offspring

Our House is pregnant. The Orderlies posted the news on our Noticeboard. No explanation, no fanfare. We gather in the common room, silent, scarcely able to look at each other. Then the room erupts. “They’re joking.” One woman, white-faced. A man sits and stares at his hands. Like he had something to do with it. “What […]

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Scent

Her cabinet is full of perfumes, and the scents try to escape as soon as I open the door – twined tendrils reaching out – each scent a murmur, a ripple of memory beneath my skin. There are liquid amber and fluid gold, swirling ruby and molten jade, lustrous indigo and glossy lilac – gleaming […]

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You Are Not a Metaphor

The diseases that pop up these days–they say that they’re just stand-ins. Metaphors for real illnesses. Like, the world got so fed up with comas and Alzheimer’s that reality decided to rewrite itself and give us sleeping-beauty disorder and zombieism instead. He’s not really undead, they keep saying. She’s not really a werewolf. It’s all something else–those “real” illnesses […]

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