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Fiction

Children of Air

And it is but a child of air That lingers in the garden there. —Robert Louis Stevenson Welcome to the park. There is a path from the sidewalk through the close-cropped grass, a white marble fountain with seven slender bronze swans that shoot water from their beaks, and a bench inside a small green marble […]

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An Open Coffin

General Estiano hired me to take care of the body, but he avoids speaking to me. The only times we did talk was by telephone, when he insisted that this job would require my full attention and care. “A family matter,” he said, “I’m sure you will understand.” What awaited me in the front room […]

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The Body is Concentrated Ground

When Hettie exploded, it was an experience. The first time she blew up I was unprepared. She had been withdrawn all morning and the evening before. As her face changed through its colors—rust, then red, then a blood-bruise color we called more-low in a play on domestic wine and the sad sacks who drink it—I […]

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Modern Science

“Trust the process, young man! Structure. Stricture. All things that bind concentrate the essence.” Doctor Bermuda steepled his hands, leaned forward over the desk. The patient man stared, with a mixture of horror and fascination, at the Doctor’s fingers—short and brutally squared-off as if someone had been at them with a pair of bolt-croppers, stained […]

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Here and There

Nola Poterri built her first bridge with alphabet blocks, and so discovered her life’s calling. She built bridge after bridge and sat back on her legs and studied the bridges. “It’s unusual,” her mother said. Her father merely watched. They didn’t know if this was a phase, or if they were reading into it, or […]

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After Life

This time, he thinks before he opens his eyes, this time he’s made it to Duat. For a moment too, he almost believes it. There is the scent of the goddess’ perfume melting slowly over her head. There is the desert grit that coats his face before it is carefully wiped away. And the priest’s […]

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The Red Forest

The church behind the house is deserted, neglected, and has been for some time. It’s made of wood that is bowed and splintered, silvered by the elements. Truth be told, thinks Dina, the one a little way down the road near Yolkov’s farm isn’t in much better repair nowadays, even though it’s newer. Mind you, […]

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Butterflies and Hurricanes

The calling cards arrived with the morning milk. Three quarters of an hour later, as told by the clock that discarded eight minutes every day and gained it back with interest when a certain word was spoken, two gentlemen took their seats in the clean brown parlour. One rotund and one spry, both soberly dressed […]

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The Little Beast

“Daddy,” says the little beast. “Come look at me in the mirror.” And he goes because he has to, because the alternative is worse. He stares for a long count of five, because any less and there’ll be tantrums and shattered glass and prising little flecks of it out of baby fingers. “Don’t you love […]

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The Crying Bride

Is your tape still running? Oh, they don’t use tape anymore? That’s clever. Very good. But really, you came all this way to interview me about the family and what happened to the land and now we’re talking about ghosts! Now, in the twenty-first century, the magic future century we were all promised? No. I […]

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