Strangers on a train

A flood of Enforcers poured in when the doors opened at my stop, dressed in full gear, swarming the train and the platform in a car-by-car. There’d been two already this month and they looked almost as bored with the whole thing as we did. ‘Ident check,’ one of them barked. ‘Arms up!’ The crowded […]

Haruspex

Content note: This year’s Halloween story is extremely graphic. If you’d like to read something less gruesome, how about this? ‘The Greeks believed that the seat of the soul was in the liver,’ you say, pulling out the offending organ and placing it gently on the cutting board. The man screams, but you pay him […]

Thanksgiving

When she wakes, the air smells like feathers and shit and something damp and heavy. It’s like being inside her cousin Mark’s barn on the edge of town, where the chickens cluck and scratch even in the darkness, filling the empty space with a meaty, sharp odor that persists even when the doors are open […]

Keys

She hadn’t been back to the old house in a very long time. At first, it was the fear of being drawn in again, the sense of knowing that to set foot in the door would be to fall right back into the familiar patterns that had threatened to destroy her before she left, creeping […]

Her

She tells herself she’s in love, and that’s enough, but the way they laugh at her tells her something else. She feels out of place at the parties, where everyone else looks casually, effortlessly stylish while she just feels stiff and awkward in the outfit she spent two hours putting together that still manages to […]

Death’s Head

‘I’m going to be so glad when this project is over,’ she said, righting the headstone she’d unearthed from a deep pile of tangled ivy. Her hands were lashed with tiny cuts and swelling hives from where the ivy had bitten at her, and she was covered in dirt and smears, her t-shirt drenched with […]

Climbing the Mountain

Between the ocean, the desert, and the mountain, she had chosen the mountain. She was beginning to wonder if that was the right choice. Few options had presented themselves in the clearing, when she knew she had only moments to steal away before she would be noticed; she would have time later to reflect on […]

Slippery

They buried her on a rainy Tuesday and her sisters fought, none too quietly, over the estate at the graveside. Everything was wet and dripping and the cemetery employees had put up a warning sign, ‘SLIPPERY,’ to absolve themselves of liability for any haphazard footsteps. The path to the graveside was all churned up mud […]

Straw

He left the baby in a clay basket tucked just under the overhang of the roof. A tuft of straw drifted down and she stirred sleepily before clenching it tightly in her fist and settling back under her blanket, which he tucked around her to make sure she’d stay warm long enough for one of […]

Under the Roses

When we moved into the new house, we spent a few hours going over it with the old owners, walking through empty rooms, feet ringing on the floors. They showed us where the switches and breakers were, went over the heater’s finicky pilot, all the little details you wish you had when moving in to […]