Fiction

The Sound of Salt and Sea

The funeral was at dawn, the cold wind off the ocean rippling coat hems and tugging at scarves. The words were said, the blessing given, the family offered one final chance to make their farewells. When they had finished, the pallbearers picked up the edges of the thin pallet the old woman was laid on, […]

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Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands, Oh, where have you been? They have slain the Earl of Moray, And they laid him on the green. —Child Ballad 181, “The Bonny Earl of Moray.” Things have consequences. Kids figure that out around the time they’re old enough to realize that when they touch a hot stove, they […]

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Big Thrull and the Askin’ Man

Everybody knows about Thrull. Thrull like legend among us folk—biggest, greenest, meanest, nastiest, and dirtiest of all—with one big difference: legends false, Thrull true. We tell the story of Thrull and the reindeer feast, and the story of Thrull and the Mountain Witches, and the story of how Thrull wrestled Winter and wed Summer on […]

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The Artificial Bees

Randall lowered one foot on to the surface of green fibers. The organic matter yielded under her weight but seemed to support her. She dared to put a second foot on to the strange, graminoid material—just as Archive came back with a response. “A lawn,” it told her. “Proceed with operation.” Randall prowled across the […]

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The Wolf and the Tower Unwoven

Scrawny and boyish in his ill–fitting humanity, the wolf paced naked through my forest. Even my old eyes could see the way grasping brambles had torn his unprotected skin. An unwoven thing he was, a creature of the tower’s making. My responsibility. Or, at least, my fault. I set a platter of cold meat on […]

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The Shadow Collector

For Cindy Pon In the garden where girls grew from flowers, their days washed in the distant trills of the queen’s wooden flute, a gardener toiled. His name was Rajesh, and in his spare time, he collected shadows. Shadows of nectar–loving hummingbirds, shadows of laughing fathers, shadows of hawks who preyed on squirrels. Rajesh had […]

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Just Another Future Song

As they pulled him out of the oxygen tent, he asked for the latest party. “Oh, Mr. Jones,” one of the nurses said, amused. “We wouldn’t forget that.” The nurses, women in gray smocks with pale faces, moved in and out of view, murmuring in conspiratorial voices. Something important had happened. Something that he should […]

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Love Is Never Still

The Sculptor Through every moment of carving, I want her as one wants a woman. I want this lithe creature whose limbs I’ve freed from their ivory enclosures, whose rounds and slopes are discovering their shapes beneath my chisel. She is delicately colored like the palest of women, and when I run my fingers across […]

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The Sincerity Game

Jameson did not settle well; when keeping his company, neither did anyone else. His fingertips tapped, his foot bounced, his lips were perpetually chewed or dampened with a quick dart of tongue. He kept his hair buzzed short, taming some flyaway curling problem. He exuded a cloud of nervous energy like biting flies. I learned […]

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