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Fiction

The Swans

“Be careful, little man, I don’t want you falling in.” The canal was shallow at the bank where they stood but still deep enough to worry about, Helen thought. And four or five feet deep in the middle; plenty reason enough to insist Charlie wore his lifejacket at all times on deck. Standing here on […]

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Vain Knife

Stab here with index before you tuck into foul feast. x Hour at which the blind see, when night unfurls her wing and goes out, silent as shaft of moonlight. Hour of the witches’ feeding; on primal pain, on corrupt love, on toothless cherub child. Circle the table crone, with your face uncovered. Lay the […]

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Empire Down

In his dreams she walked down inland highways, sticking her thumb out at cargo trucks shuttling bananas and sugarcane, untying her hair. It was always dusk, and she never cared where she was going. Just as long as I’m going. Restless spirit, you know. Vagabond. Michael heard clattering and opened his eyes. An old native […]

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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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The Crow Palace

Birds are tricksters. Being small necessitates all kinds of wiles to survive but Corvidae, in all their glory as the raven, rook, jay, magpie, jackdaw, and crow have greater ambitions than that. They have a plan. I used to go into the garden with Dad and Pippa every morning, rain or shine, even on school […]

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The Hurrah (aka Corpse Scene)

In the only photograph that I have of my mother, she is covered in blood. Her frizzy brown hair is flattened black with gore, her rosy cheeks now suffused with a redder hue. The only things spared from the Carrie-at-prom-night dousing are her brown eyes and white teeth; the former wide in terror, pupils expanding […]

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Beehive Heart

Paulina was born coated in a film of creamed honey and a swarm of bees. When they flew out of her mother’s womb whirring like little clockwork toys; one stung the midwife’s upper lip but she didn’t complain. The last time she had seen a totem birth, she’d said to Paulina’s mother, was in 1972. […]

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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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The Heart is a Mirror for Sinners

The crypt of St Bride’s is cold, colder than the air outside, and I welcome it, find it invigorating, for I did not sleep well, nor have I done since my return. Florie, long gone, chose last night to haunt my dreams. Her face and figure—not as I saw them that final occasion—were perfect and […]

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Our Mortal Undressing

I. Discovery I suppose I’m chasing the wildflowers. I first found them while digging for worms. It’s not very often an earthworm dies of old age, but this one called to me, bloated and weary, with its body caked in pollen and a belly full of decay. The soil was soft and moist to my […]

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