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Fiction

Mr. Doornail

“Mr. Doornail has eaten my heart!” the old man cried in the village one morning, noticing belatedly the horror that had been done him. Shortly thereafter, he took off his spotless white fedora, threw it into the air, and sidestepped casually into the path of an automobile. Mind, no one had wanted the old man […]

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The Weirdo

I liked the weirdo. He made me laugh. Sure, sometimes he freaked me out with the stories he told, but most of the time he was fine. He made us, Rudy and I, crack up. My friend teased him. “And where would these monsters be, old man?” It was the beginning of summer. Cicadas filled […]

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Neither Time Nor Tears

This is my grandmother’s house; mine since last Tuesday when the will was read, an impoverished student sitting on a million dollar piece of property. The air still carries the scent of her, the faintest hint of lavender and Pears shampoo—but there have always been odours in this house that seem to have no source: […]

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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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Red String

“You again? You don’t understand ‘no,’ is it? Why you keep coming here?” Mrs. Ong growls, fists propped on generous hips, lipsticked mouth a crimson wound. “Also, what you want me to do with those?” “Put them in a vase?” The man is narrow as a joss stick, with thinning hair and a grave stare. […]

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These Bones Aside

The entire village ushers Bina to The Thousand Skin Tent, the men with their lanterns and grave faces, the women with doughy infants suckling bare, sloping breasts. Children dart between their legs, their eyes glittering and wide. They are silent. Yagra told her there would be silence. At the top of The Great Hill, The […]

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The Embalmer

Henry didn’t think of himself as an embalmer, not really, embalming was a sort of hobby for him, nothing serious, nothing more than a pastime. If someone asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up he would not have said an embalmer. He would have said an astronaut on most days because […]

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Lucky Girl

“What’s she up to now?” Adina asked her fiancé Mike. “Four? Six?” He winced. “Eleven.” Mike’s sister Natalie had attempted suicide on eleven separate occasions, each time using a different method. Cutting her wrists, knocking back three family-size bottles of Tylenol, hanging herself with a hospital bed sheet, jumping into the Columbia River with a […]

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Mary, Mary

Mary was tending the sweet peas in her front garden when the new neighbours arrived. Or rather, she was supposed to be tending the sweet peas. She was supposed to be pinching out the tips to encourage branching because bushier plants gave more flowers, especially if she picked them regularly. She had a particular fondness […]

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Skins Smooth as Plantain, Hearts Soft as Mango

The beast in the folds of Harry’s gut had no heart and it did not need one for his was strong enough to keep them both alive. It had neither heart nor mind nor eyes to see; it was only lips and teeth and fingers like needles that slipped inside his tongue and his bowels […]

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