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The Only Way Out Lies Farther In

She was seven years old, and if only she hadn’t seen the sign then none of it would ever have happened. The grounds of the country house were vast, limitless-seeming. They had already been inside the house itself, had eaten lunch in the cafe, had explored both the lower and upper gardens, and had made […]

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Dukkering

My mother could do it from the Rorschach of tea-leaves, or from the metropolitan map of your palm, or from knots tied on a piece of string. She’d do it from the tiny flecks of colour on the edges of your iris, clamping you between her work-roughened hands and craning her head back, narrowing her […]

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A Prayer to the Many-Eyed Mother

The plan was this: resign from work, fly to Vegas on her tourist visa, stay with family, and wait for an H1B sponsor to hire her. “And how’s that working out for you?” Alejandra asked. “Well, I’m here, aren’t I?” Ruby said. “So not good.” She sighed. “I’ve been applying to jobs online for months […]

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The Last Epic Pub Crawl of The Brothers Pennyfeather

My brother is waiting for me in the cold; didn’t bother him then, doesn’t bother him now, even with the wind snatching billowing steam from right under my nose. Me? I get the cold, and the cold gets me. The fingertips that I don’t feel against my gloves, even when clenched into fists and pressed […]

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Sea Glass

A windchime played through a crackling speaker. Frozen leaves kicked by tiny feet. Vida’s quarry—her fucking quarry, as if it was going to run away—had a sound distinctive enough, persistent enough, that she knew it was there even in the imperfect shifting darkness outside the circle of her flashlight. She was almost sure this wasn’t […]

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In the End, It Always Turns Out the Same

Five children have gone missing since the school year began. The youngest, only six; the oldest, no more than ten. They all went to school together, but all in different grades. The only thing they have in common is that they all rode the school bus together every day. Richard McGinty reported the first child […]

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Snake Season

We buried the first ones, nice and proper. It sounds foolish now, but what could we do? After all, they were still our children. I even dressed my Sarah for the occasion—decked out in her Sunday best, yellow cotton bright against the dark brown of her skin, pattern hand-stitched to cover a mismatched body. We […]

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Molting Season

There he is in the tub. Note the pores on his nose. Note the scarred cheek, the breakout here and there, angry ripe things red with a dot of white all ready to burst. Note the long hair, which I tried to wash last night; I’d put his head under the faucet, let the cold […]

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Necksnapper

Delayna snapped the first crow’s neck without thinking about it. She had learned this from her parents. Before they robbed and prostituted their way out of her life and into prison, they had taught her to ignore the weight of sin and instead focus on doing what needed to be done to get by. Their […]

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The Whalebone Parrot

[Emily Riddell’s Journal] June 26th 18–– A.D. Today, on a teetering skiff, I reached Whalebone Island. Mister Franklin crosses the inlet twice a month to deliver mail and supplies. In three years, he has never seen Loretta’s face. She hides behind a veil. Why? Squeezed to near-transparency between the distant sky and sea, Whalebone Island […]

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