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Fantasy

Vet

The nightmare drifted at the girl’s shoulder as a dark, sinuous coil of mist. As I crossed the room, its eyes followed me, as red and changeable as coals glowing in a grate, and the sharp sting of its malice raked over my skin. “He won’t hurt you,” said the girl. She sat cross-legged at […]

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Mid-Autumn Moon

The lake was alive with lights — the lanterns on the boats, golden and round, like hundreds of miniature suns, and the moon, so heavy on the horizon that it was difficult to believe that it would be able to climb any higher in the sky. The foxes smiled debonairly as they steered the boats. […]

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Zombie March

Amber Riley’s husband had promised that he would come home to her no matter what, so after they reported him dead she began to keep the shotgun next to the front door. The day he returned, ambling, shambling, reeking of decay, the dog barked once in warning and went to hide under the back porch. […]

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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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