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Fiction

A Discreet Music

And how can body, laid in that white rush, But feel the strange heart beating where it lies? —W. B. Yeats The dark bloodless taste of widowhood had coated Hiram’s mouth for three nights when he awoke alongside that cold gulf of bed. He knew at once some kind of change had visited as he […]

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The Lily Rose

Wolf Street Orphanage was a house exploding with girls. The skinny tall brownstone stood crooked on a street of other brownstones, its striped curtains concealing rooms full of long hair and exuberant voices. When Headmistress Lily Rose made her thrice-daily rounds to check on her girls’ progress with their reading of Upton Sinclair and their […]

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A Wisdom that is Woe, a Woe that is Madness

The tower rises from the edge of the cracked salt sea, a single tree wasting to sticks at its stony side. Surprise washes through Ismail at the tower’s sudden appearance; his well-handled map shows the tower over three mountains more, nestling within the heart of a black, bramble wood. He expects to slice his path […]

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Little Digs

Three generations are buried on Wheeler land, starting with Great-Grandaddy Winston, the only one to live up to the surname. A far-traveller, he was. Crossed seven county lines to reach Napanee, carting a new wife, her faith in the old gods, and a wagonload of beehives along with him. Winston named his first and only […]

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Child of Thorns

The cabin’s single room was small but three people in it made it smaller still and Jessie’s screaming made it worse, filling the room—what was left of it to fill—with a jagged howling that just about tore the world apart. “You gotta push harder, Jessie-Belle, come on, girl.” “It hurts—” “I know.” “It hurts like . . . […]

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Twilight Travels with the Grape-Paper Man

When he appeared, the grape-paper man, I was half in half out of the fig tree in my grandmother’s courtyard. He stopped short in the war-rutted driveway and announced, “Layal! What happened to the snotty rascal I remember? You grew into a little lady.” “Who the heck are you?” I asked. “Why do you even […]

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The Absent Shade

“Calm down now,” Umbra said as she wiped away Thomas’ tears. “Let’s play a game. It’s a secret though. You mustn’t tell anyone about it.” After that Thomas wanted to play every night, so Umbra would get up from her roll up mattress on the floor beside his bed and move the lamps around to […]

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As Cymbals Clash

Seated at the edge of the stage, Godfrey untied the knot in the handkerchief that Caroline had embroidered his initials into and filled with tokens of love. The audience watched. The audience waited. There were no tricks hidden within the square of white cotton, yet the audience perched at the edges of their seats as […]

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The Curtain

“Meet me by the pinnacle,” Martin said as he spat into his mask and rubbed the lenses. “And save me some beer.” Carlos tossed his empty bottle into the floor of the boat and yawned. “Better whistle. I might be asleep.” “Then you’d better wake up. I’m not swimming all the way back.” Martin fitted […]

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Too Many Ghosts

He’d paid more attention to the knife, and the face he’d brought forth from the wood, than to his left hand trembling as it gripped the cottonwood branch. The blade went into the side of his thumb smoothly, and if it had been wood he would have immediately realized he’d chosen his materials poorly, because […]

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