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Flash Fiction

Fiction

Last Night at the Sideshow

This story started life just over nine years ago—October 30, 2013, to be exact—as an assignment in an online workshop taught by Craig Clevenger.  We’d been focusing on escalation of events and status play between characters, so the jockeying that surrounds gendered expectations, especially involving sex, seemed like a good place to start.  Beyond that, I’ve always found carnivals unsettling because of their atmosphere of blatant disguise, so the theme and setting fit hand and glove for horror. 

Fiction

Ant Twin

When you learn a fact like the one that opens this piece—that all the ants on Earth add up to the same weight as all the people—you want that to mean something, to have some consequence. This story is the consequence that fact imposed on my mind, the body horror it implied. If it makes your skin crawl, I hope you’re reminded of your own Ant Twin out there somewhere: its skin, too, is crawling.

Fiction

Tiny Little Wounds

Compulsion can be a strange and disquieting thing. For a long while, I’d wanted to write a story about skin-picking and the sense of immense relief that can come from peeling back something which doesn’t belong—or at least feels like it doesn’t belong. I had the first few opening lines and not much else until my brain inevitably turned to ghosts and trauma (as it does), and then this story quickly started to take shape.

Fiction

A Girl of Nails and Teeth

One thing I find fascinating about parenthood is the fact that protecting your children too tightly from the monsters in the world can sometimes become, in itself, a monstrous act. I wanted to write a story with this kind of double vision, where viewed through one lens, the mother is protecting her daughter, but viewed through another lens, the mother is hurting her daughter, and it’s hard to say for certain which version is true.

Fiction

Skitterdead

My short stories often grow from a fixation on a certain animal. I loved the idea of a “ghost” being a hyper-specific emotional state, something petty and small enough to possess a bug. At the same time, I wanted the centipede to show the tantruming ghost something beautiful, an experience that a human body or mind couldn’t offer on its own.

Fiction

There Are No Monsters on Rancho Buenavista

In Folktales of Mexico, compiled by Américo Paredes (one of the founding fathers of Chicano studies in the U.S.), I read a story about a man who discovered that his wife was a monster. Any night the man was away, the wife stripped away her skin and flew through the air as a skeleton, terrorizing the people of the town and stealing infants to eat.

Fiction

In the Water

As a fan of true crime, I’ve thought a lot about how death is consumed, the dead often reduced to props in their own story. I wrote “In the Water” to explore that same loss from the perspective of the victim, returning some autonomy while maintaining the truth of death’s passive nature.

Fiction

√i

My inspiration for this story combined two separate things: the idea of how terrifying it would be to experience a tornado warning without knowing what you were running from (shout-out to writer Sarah Hollowell!), and a keen interest in the staccato and visceral prose of writer Brian Evenson. These combined to create the story at hand. Written in a single evening, I wanted to see if I could wield language like a hammer.

Fiction

Skins

I’ve always thought that the illicit hunting of baby seals was a cruel and horrifying thing. Putting myself in their position, being out on the ice, vulnerable to humans, their weapons, and their ill intents made me think of this scenario. The story: What would happen if humans were to experience a similar fate?

Fiction

Fenworth City Municipal Watersheds Field Survey

During the lonely summer of 2020, I went on a long bike ride and saw a pair of egrets in a marsh; at the time, it was a beautiful and comforting sight. That evening, I watched trail cam footage of California wildfires blazing through a forest. This story knitted itself together quickly.