I was monitoring Cherie Peng’s pulse, breathing, her sweaty palms, all of it, when the Sarissa interrupted me. “This proposal of yours,” the Sarissa said. She—the Sarissa insisted on the animate feminine instead of the inanimate sentient pronoun like most of us ships—sent me the document reference so I knew which proposal she was talking […]


I Seen the Devil

I don’t claim that this story is true, and I don’t care if you believe it. It happened in 1973, when I was ten years old. It’s impossible to verify. But I’m still going to tell it to you. On this particular hot summer night, I ran through the swamp behind the trailer park as […]


Wooden Feathers

The carving was going badly. Sarah examined the duck decoy before her and sighed. The bill was shaped entirely wrong. It was supposed to be a mallard, but she hadn’t taken enough off before she began shaping and now the bill was half again as long as it should be. I’ll flare the bill and […]

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And the Balance in Blood

Sister Scholastique rolled onto her back. She pulled her hard, sawdust–stuffed pillow over her head and reflected on the sure and certain hope for peace and for virtue rewarded in the next world. She had determined that there was little enough of either in this one. The monastery dogs had been barking for half an […]


Love Will Tear Us Apart

1. I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor Think of it like the best macaroni and cheese you’ve ever had. No neon yellow Velveeta and bread crumbs. I’m talking gourmet cheddar, the expensive stuff from Vermont that crackles as it melts into that crust on top. Imagine if right before you were about […]


The Sisters’ Line

My sister is posting me a train, piece by piece. She hides minute cogs in the adhesive between stamp and envelope; she traps switches in the envelope’s seal. Every letter is a game, a puzzle, a thing to be dissected. I spend hours unfolding and refolding the letters and the little origami cranes she slips […]