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Fiction

The Marvellous Talking Machine

It is across a distance of many years that I remember the events of 1846, and yet it might have been yesterday that I first heard the voice that haunts my dreams. It is not the words that have troubled me so, ever since I was a boy; it is the way they were spoken—and […]

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Logic Puzzles

The daughter hates this new country with its methodical streets and packed supermarkets, hates the way every inch of space has been scrubbed clean of character, hates her teacher who speaks to her slowly and loudly as if she is deaf instead of merely unfamiliar with a language that follows no logic. America is devoid […]

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Fragile Masks

“Woolf.” The word caused Paige to flinch in the passenger seat. She scanned the leaf-carpeted banks of the road, looking for signs of movement. “It was Virginia Woolf who took her life that way, not Brontë,” Jon explained, “my mistake. Wait, did you think I saw an actual . . . ” “You gave me a start,” she said […]

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The Beckoning Green

1961 I am six years old when, one summer afternoon as the sun beats down and rolls sweat down my neck, my sister yells, “Catch, Judith!” She launches her porcelain doll at my head. I am one second older when it slips through my fingers and shatters on the concrete driveway at my feet. I […]

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The Demon L

I was thirteen and a half the first time I killed a man. It was an accident and I was dreadfully sorry about it at the time. L, I was called. It was spelled with more letters than that, but L is what it sounded like. I’d lived a childhood pretty as a picture, even […]

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Every Exquisite Thing

1. Dublin June He had been surprised at how rapidly he had forgotten her as a physical being. There were dozens, hundreds, of photos, of course, to remind him what she looked like, but unless they were in front of him, he found he could not recall her face. He would try, and fail, and […]

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On Full Moon Nights

Three in the morning. A quarter heavy with sleep, heaving its groggy way into the sunrise. Little Tatu lying on her bed, eyes open, heart racing. Then she hears it—the hum soft and low, like a slight breeze in the air. And then there she is, the dead girl, alive. She only comes to her […]

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All My Relations

Fish are bloody and fleshy and briny. The belly meat is fatty, the guts are sharp and acrid. But they barely sate my hunger. Only the flesh of your skin-sack kin does that. It’s been so long. I look at the stringer of fish: some weke nono, an uku, a scattering of kole. The weke’s […]

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The Price of Knives

We see, sister to sister, salt to salt. We live as gut and gill and long hair fanning weed-like in the water. We are linked hands and tails, our eyelids thin and delicate when we close them in the deep, veins like a forgotten map—have you ever sliced something so bao that the light from […]

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