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Fantasy

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Untimely Frost, Unlikely Bloom

The first is a boy of only twelve summers. He smells like rotting fruit, his shirt bruised with blood and bile, and I know from the look in his eyes he intends to kill me. I put an end to his suffering as quickly as I can. A mercy, I tell myself. Afterward, I smooth […]

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Gathering

Paige was itching to paint something when she noticed and remarked on the birds—grackles and ravens mostly—that were flitting around carrying bits of copper wire and circuitry. Now that she mentioned it, the others at the garden party became so enrapt with the birds that they didn’t notice her sketching on a napkin. The parties […]

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The Strawberry Queen of Irapuato

When Irina says for the gazillionth time that she’s going to escape, we coax her away from the barred window. We smooth her hair and shush her, but we don’t touch the shiny laminate that coats her arms. We don’t know if Irina can feel anything underneath that brittle gloss like a nail-polish top coat. […]

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Songs in the Key of Chamomile

Jessica squeezed the keepsake box in her pocket for strength, then stepped through the dangling curtain of finger bone beads that served as a door. A strand caught on the harp case over her shoulder. She plucked it free and waited just inside the dim room while the clattering susurrus faded. Oil lamps burned fitfully, […]

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Reliving My Grandmother’s Youth

When we turn thirteen, we witch-children must sing at the Witches’ Sabbat. It is how newly of-age witches are introduced to our ancestors, my grandmother said. Taking puffs of her pipe, she told me about her own Sabbat, in the same woods I would have mine. Her eyes sparkling, she spoke reverently how she sang […]

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“A World Without” or “From a Brief History of the Sjöberg Portal”

* From A Brief History of the Sjöberg Portal The precise date and time of the appearance of the Sjöberg Portal is indeterminate, as Ms. Marta Eriksson, on whose property it appeared, noticed it only by happenstance when, upon peering out her study window, she saw the back end of her sheep (Ludvig)—and only the […]

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Eyes of Wood, Heart of Stone

“Are you the Queen of Faerie?” The human child, wearing nothing but his nightshirt, can’t have seen more than six summers. Wide brown eyes beneath a mop of straw-blond hair ignore the wonders of my court, staring only at me. “You’ve found me out.” I slip a nightshade berry between my lips. The sharp poison […]

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Dragon Meat

My dragon, Rolly, died. It’s all right—I’m not sad about it, whatever anyone says. I’m tougher than that. She was old and grumpy. Her time had come. The good thing is, one dead dragon makes a shed-load of dragon meat and that is impressive in the right circles. As soon as Rolly passed, our nearest […]

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The Ghost In Angelica’s Room

Dad still comes into my room at night, even though he’s dead. I don’t know why he bothers, but he does. First time it happened, I thought I imagined him. But I can hear his breathing, can feel the mattress shift when he sits down on my bed next to Winston, who purrs and tucks […]

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Illustration of man and woman kissing by Dario Bijelac

The Hole Where Andy Used to Be

The hole where Andy used to be came downstairs and sat at the kitchen table. I served him a plate of eggs before I remembered the hole never ate. As I took it back to place in the fridge, I felt like a fool. Not much later, I found the hole where Andy used to […]

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