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Fantasy

Cliona’s Coat

THE OLD WOMAN SITS NIGHTS on the porch of Marcel’s bar in Le Havre, on the side facing the waves, wearing a fur coat. Her fingers are gnarled mangrove roots around a glass of something thick and amber that Old Marcel refills for her without being asked, and without ever asking to be paid. Each […]

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Star Box

THE OLD MAN OPENED THE OLD WOODEN BOX and lifted out Betelgeuse, red and shining, and the other stars of Orion followed like pearls on a string. He arranged the constellation on his work table. Orion’s shoulders and legs were the brightest points, and the belt glowed blue. Beside the constellation, the box radiated starlight […]

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Hairbrush, Socks, Pencils, Orange

I didn’t have the kind of father who would fake reindeer tracks. And Mom would never have left us alone in the house, not even for as long as it might take to do it.  So I knew no human made those marks. My sister Stacy wasn’t convinced it had been reindeer. Any animal could […]

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When Death’s Daughter Deals the Cards

Death’s daughter walks into my bar, her steps as smooth as a silver dollar gliding down a silk sheet. She’s dressed in a black suit and carries a coffin slung over her shoulder. The coffin’s an ugly, misshapen affair and covered in cankers of rust. The letters engraved on the lid are reduced to tell-tale […]

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The Secret Life of Sea Monsters

They live in crowded old apartment buildings, leaning up against the walls at night to listen to the sounds the pipes make, the transit of air and water from here to there. Sometimes they will sing strange songs, harmonizing with the pipes and the sirens and the city sounds from beyond their apartment walls. They […]

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Black Friday

My Uncle Joe spent five years in one of those “re-acculturation” centers. He was one of the lucky ones — locked up, not put down — because my grandfather had so much money and my dad says Joe was always his favorite.  I was only nine then, and I still don’t know how many people […]

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The Rules of the Game

Li brushed the snow off of the Buddha statues that covered the steps outside of Yue’s house. The clouds hung heavy in the sky, and Li was sure that it would snow again soon. But Yue would make the most hideous gurgles and whistling breaths if she did not brush the snow off of the […]

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The Liar

The boy, who would rather be called a man, was dying. Fire ate at the old forest, but the Liar couldn’t feel the heat. He felt only the boy’s fear, his pain, his regret. The way his bloody fingers slipped over the buttons as he tried to radio for help. The machine was dead, but […]

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Columbidae

They were beating on the door. Huey could hear it rattling, see it shaking in the frame. They were going to take him away and lock him up like he was crazy. And this was only fair, Huey reflected, edging a little further out onto the ledge. The cars below looked like droplets of blood […]

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Kitsune no Yomeiri

I found the painting in the basement in a Japanese tansu. Noriko had moved in a lot of antique furniture when we got married, primarily from the late Edo period, and I had lost track of most of it. The painting itself was buried underneath a stack of clothing and wrapped in old brown paper. […]

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