Horror & Dark Fantasy

Trouble Department

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Flash Fiction

Fiction

Murder Tongue

The question “what’s your mother tongue” is forever being asked in India. In a country divided into linguistic territories, it’s a deeply significant question. The answer places you, signals your fundamental origins, wherever in India you now live. I started thinking about how much we take for granted being multilingual, yet tied to that basic mother tongue identity. 

Fiction

I Summon You

I’ve never written a short story this short before. I wrote this one for a Halloween event at a great independent bookstore in Asheville (shout out to Malaprops!). There were four or five readers scheduled, and we were each asked to read a very short Halloweenish piece. I set mine in the late Victorian era because I’ve been spending a lot of time there working on a historical novel (still in process) and the period is right now much in my mind. Plus, I’m fascinated by the spiritualist movement.

Fiction

Still Life with Vial of Blood

In 2006, I did an internship at the Museo Universitario Leopoldo Flores in Toluca, Mexico, my hometown. The museum itself was built on a hill, almost inserted in the rock that serves as canvas for some very interesting pieces of art. Our biggest mural—a behemoth of twenty-two thousand square meters—had to be seen from a window. It shaped my way of understanding art and artists.

Fiction

Now Will You Listen

Growing up in Nigeria, I heard a lot of superstitious stories—from the rumors that the highest floor of our primary school building was cursed, to the tales that the mythical Lady Koi Koi was stalking some parts of our secondary school during the Inter-House Sports week. This story is inspired by the complex feelings of both wanting to see the supernatural yet feeling cautious about the stories you were told.

Fiction

Sometimes Boys Don’t Know

There are a ton of passages from books and stories written by men that make me wonder if they had ever seen a woman in real life. Boobs that expand to show arousal and Barbie crotches if they’re virgins, wild stuff like that. I just took what they started to its monstrous extremes.

Fiction

See with Your Eyes, Not with Your Hands

When I was a kid, I had horrible allergies (still do, actually) but I also caught a couple of skin infections that I won’t detail. This happened right around the time we moved to a new city where suddenly my “Asianness” also became front and center. With all this hitting a kid roughly at the same time, it wasn’t hard to feel absolutely helpless and alien.

Fiction

Taking Control of Your Life in Five Easy Steps

“Taking Control of Your Life in Five Easy Steps” is inspired by and dedicated to all the people who have tried to sell me their quick and easy surefire fixes for my mental illness—PHL

Fiction

When the Snowshoe Hare Turns White

I grew up at the southern edge of Ontario’s “near north,” and as winters got warmer and shorter, we’d hear stories of people going through the ice. As a kid, I worried about losing family members that way. This story is a response to the loss of northern ecosystems to climate change and how that loss is reshaping families who live in and love the cold.

Fiction

That Which Crawls from Dark Soil

On a barren hiking trail this past summer, I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a young person just off the path, half-hiding, peering quizzically at me. The sun was blinding. I blinked and the person was no longer there. I followed the trail, and circling back to the same spot I saw, or imagined I saw, a blur of a face peeking from behind a tree. There, then gone. Did I see someone? Who? What were they doing? And why? I chalked it up to the heat. But the questions remained.

Fiction

And Lucy Fell

This is actually the second time I wrote this—I threw away the first, unsatisfactory version years ago. But this is one of those ideas that doesn’t give up easily, and the final lines haunted me until I wrote it again.