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Fantasy

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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Creation

When the Queen of Faerie orders you to do something, you don’t refuse. The lands are filled with the remnants of her commands, for sometimes – make me a boat of dead men’s nails – her creatures die from exhaustion or accident before their duty is done. We have a lot of ruins here. Her […]

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Jason S. Ridler, professional author and historian

Charlatans and Magi

Fast as greased weasels, two decks of cards flew from Knox’s scarred fingers and blurred before the crowd into a fifty-two page flipbook. Knox smiled, the breeze from the furious cards waving his Mohawk. “Lads and Ladies,” Knox said, “any dime-store magus can stretch a balloon into a giraffe, but how many can make a […]

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Sparrows

The Sparrows fly today, but this time it’s different; I’m not in the audience. This time I’m standing with my brother’s troupe at the edge of Mexico City’s Olympic Stadium, as the world watches and waits. But I can’t jump. I can’t even move. One by one, I watch as the others approach the edge […]

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Now Watch as Belinda Unmakes the World

She begins with the grass that runs along the border near the bottom. She’s careful, as the tea-stained linen cloth is beginning to fray from the hundreds of times she’s pulled it in and out of the canvas shopping bag where she keeps her sewing. She pulls each stitch carefully, her movements a kind of […]

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Nothing Less Rare, Nor Precious

The sparrows left my chest the day I brought you home from the hospital. At first, I thought it was the crying–you were a loud, red-faced little thing–but they didn’t come back even after you quieted down. I began to miss the brush of wings against my ribs, the soft prick of little beaks and […]

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