Horror & Dark Fantasy

COSMIC POWERS

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Fiction

Fiction

Angel, Monster, Man

Tom wasn’t fiction. He was not a lie. He was a higher truth, something we invented to encapsulate a reality too horrific to communicate to anyone outside our plague-devastated circle. Maybe myth, but definitely not fiction. Myth helps us make sense of facts too messy to comprehend, and that’s what Tom Minniq was supposed to be. A fable to ponder, and then forget. We birthed Tom at one of Derrick’s Sunday coffee kvetches.

Fiction

Honey in the Wound

For the better part of my life, I have borne the circumstances of Avery Channing’s death in silence, at first because I wished to forget them, later because I doubted anyone would believe the truth, and later still because I feared I might suffer eternal damnation for my part in the whole terrible business. But time has worked a certain alchemy.

Fiction

The King of Ashland County

Uncle Reggie couldn’t afford to fly to Ireland to find a selkie wife, so instead he drove across the country to Carmel-by-the-Sea and came back with a selkie queer. I was fifteen then, and so ready to get out of Perrysville that California sounded like paradise.

Fiction

Reconstructing Amy

Sometimes life changes without letting anyone know. It’s said that a child becomes an adult when he or she recognises the fact of their inevitable death. And perhaps the process of death begins when the realisation that a partner is never, ever coming back first strikes home.

Fiction

The Judas Child

A kid in a baseball cap and a Ninja Turtles t-shirt is sitting on the park bench, swinging his legs. The boy stands off to the side until he’s sure there are no grown-ups nearby, and then he flops down on the bench, hiding his misshapen left hand while pretending to pick a scab from his knee with the other. Turtle leans forward, the hat’s brim turning his eyes to shadow. The boy guesses he’s eight, maybe, or close enough. Not too skinny either. The monster doesn’t like it when they’re skinny.

Fiction

The Emperor’s Old Bones

One day in 1941, not long after the fall of Shanghai, my amah (our live-in Chinese maid of all work, who often doubled as my nurse) left me sleeping alone in the abandoned hulk of what had once been my family’s home, went out, and never came back . . . a turn of events which didn’t actually surprise me all that much, since my parents had done something rather similar only a few brief weeks before.

Fiction

Demon in Aisle 6

I first saw the demon the Sunday after you died. It was 11:53 p.m. Just seven minutes until I would have grabbed my knapsack and biked home to Mom and bed and a life of sound sleep. That night the flurries were drifting down like nuclear ash.

Fiction

Soft

I was lying on the floor watching TV and exercising what was left of my legs when the newscaster’s jaw collapsed. He was right in the middle of the usual plea for anybody who thought they were immune to come to Rockefeller Center when—pflumpf!—the bottom of his face went soft.

Fiction

Lacrimosa

The woman is a mound of dirt and rags pushing a squeaky shopping cart; a lump that moves steadily, slowly forward as if dragged by an invisible tide. Her long, greasy hair hides her face but Ramon feels her staring at him. He looks ahead. The best thing to do with the homeless mob littering Vancouver is to ignore it. Give them a buck and the beggars cling to you like barnacles. “Have you seen my children?” the woman asks.

Fiction

Dispatches from a Hole in the World

I’m standing in the elevator. The elevator isn’t moving. Neither am I. It seems, for the moment, like simply staring at what’s in front of me is the simplest and therefore the best immediate project. Far simpler than the dissertation that’s supposed to start here. But I can’t avoid it forever. I’m not sure what I expected, but the place is small. It’s tucked into three floors of a generic office building a few blocks from the Library of Congress. From the outside it doesn’t look like much of anything; they probably wanted it like that.