Cinderella, At the Ball

Light seeps in around the edges of the door. Not enough to see by, but enough to know it’s daytime and I should stop sleeping now. I pick at the hole near the baseboard of the closet. Insulation pokes out and makes my hands itch, but I ignore it. I focus on making the hole…

Selective Mutism for the Modern Girl

On Suki’s thirteenth birthday, she opened her mouth to thank her father for the cat-ear headband and instead heard herself saying “The doctor will tell you it’s a tumor.” The tumor turned out to be benign. Suki’s pronouncement turned into an anecdote, a funny story her parents told over drinks or dinner. Suki would even…

The Path Not Followed

It was raining hard. The wipers on my car thwapped back and forth, as fast as they could go, and still I couldn’t see much of anything out there. My hands, wrinkled and liver-spotted, gripped the wheel so hard my knuckles went white. Lights from the city flashed by in a blur. Not a soul…

Father Valentine

The priest watched the dust scatter along the temple steps, stirred up by the day’s first breeze. He wondered if his head would roll along the very same steps by day’s end. It was his favorite hour. At sunrise in Rome, time felt stretched out before the sun’s golden rays—full of life, possibility, and today:…

It wasn’t his time!

“I told you it wasn’t his time yet, mate!” “You don’t get to decide that. I do. I am the Reaper.” “And I am his goddamned Guardian, and I am telling you, you made a mistake. It wasn’t his fucking time.” “Maybe you should’ve been paying better attention.” “Jesus, what am I going to do…

Spells & Poems, Part Two

Continued from Spells & Poems, Part One. My queen could not leave the palace or be seen meeting her Spider, but I could come and go, so I went in her stead. For a year and a day, I carried messages for them. My meetings with him were hardly meetings but crossings—on a bridge, in…

The Hanging Tree

The night pressed down heavy on the men traipsing through the dark forest. The forest was still, expectant. Their swords jostled at their sides. Their boots crunched on the leaves covering the forest floor. An occasional curse hovered in the air when a root rose up to trip one of them. It was a night…

All Together Now

The first thing Nomi did was kill the spider. Mara was going to be pissed, but it wasn’t like she could do anything about it now. What was the deal with the spiders, anyway? Nomi was pretty sure it had less to do with magic and more to do with pretension, which after all was…

My Bare Spool

The wind beats against my face as I survey the land below me from a tree limb. I don’t know how I got up here, but what’s stranger still is that I’m not afraid. My fear of heights should be causing havoc within me right now. Shortness of breath, dizziness, a stomach full of knots….

Terminally Cold

“How are you feeling today?” the nurse asks. She sits back in her chair. You think about it for a minute. You want to say: “Like hell froze over” or “like death” or even “like someone walked over my grave”, because in your day these would have been funny. They would have gotten you a…

The Arsonist

Aria shifts trying to lessen the pressure on her left shoulder. It doesn’t work. With her arms stretched back and her wrists tied behind the chair, it doesn’t matter which way she tries to rearrange her body, everything hurts. Her left eye is swollen shut. Her bottom lip split. She attempts a deep breath. “Shit.”…

Spells & Poems, Part One

Before the Spider was a magician, he’d been a youthful poet with dreaming eyes. And before Queen Mayberry was the queen, she was the young poet’s lover. But when she was made to marry King Grigori against her wishes, the poet renounced his poetry and turned to magic, which blackened his eyes and tarred his…