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…

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:…

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…

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.”…

No Such Thing as Enough

We built the settlement in the woods. Each structure ordered, set in a grid, crowded close for protection against the ugly things that skittered in the trees at night. Jacob saw the ugly things, just like the rest of us. They glistened and grimaced against the light thrown from the torches perched over each doorway…

The Dreaming

Dusty cardboard boxes loomed over me in the attic of my late grandparents’ house. With a sigh I grabbed the nearest one and opened it. I hoped for treasure and instead found moth-eaten, ancient-looking nightgowns. A growl rumbled in my throat. This was useless. How did my mom ever expect me to find anything up…