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Short Stories


Decorating with Luke

Hello. Thanks for coming. I know I was a bit mysterious on the phone. This is my house. I live here because a house should be an expression of the individual, and nothing in my life has defined me as an individual more than my hatred for Luke. Yes, the same Luke. You were married to Luke for a while, weren’t you? Yes, I know you endured a couple of years of that. I know how he sucked you in and made you his, and then, once he had you under his roof, revealed for the first time who he really was.


The Skinned

July 18th—City Animal Control workers are yet again on the lookout for a pack of feral dogs blamed for the mauling death of fourteen-year-old Tawan Charles of Graves St., Roxbury. The incident occurred at 11:30 p.m. on the quiet, dead end street. There were no witnesses to the attack. Residents say they heard nothing unusual last night. Even though a thirty-eight recovered from the body and spent casings found in the area raise questions for investigators that the attack might be gang-related.


The Blue Room

When Amada first sees the hotel, she feels her luck has changed at last. One moment she is trudging beneath the palm trees and café umbrellas of Miami’s Ocean Drive and the next it is upon her: an imposing three-story building in the old art deco style, its white façade gleaming in the late-afternoon sun. Amada stops in the middle of the busy sidewalk, shifting from one sore foot to the other, and stares up at the hotel.


And the Carnival Leaves Town

The first piece of evidence appears on Walter Eckert’s desk in a locked office to which he has the only key. It is wrapped in brown paper, neatly labeled with his name, no return address. He unwraps it with wary hands. Cheap plywood, as if from a construction site wall, pasted with a handbill-sized poster. It could be advertising any event around town—a rock band no one has ever heard of, an avant garde art exhibition no one will ever see—but it appears to advertise nothing at all.


A Moonlit Savagery

My eyes snap open at night. I float out of the tunnel under the concrete wall and settle on the roof of the abandoned hostel. The starry chaos of Yaowarat stretches before me like rows of crowded teeth. It’s tourist season, and my belly aches with hunger at the sight of all the farangs: slurping shark fin soup in restaurants, being measured for crocodile skin suits in tailor shops, ducking into tuk-tuks with their sunburnt arms around a local girl or two.



Emmons found the body by the riverbank. He spotted it by the color of the coat, a dark green against the white and gray of the snow and ice. There was warmth buried somewhere deep below the skin. He lifted the body, untangled its foot from the barbs of a rusted fence, and carried it over his shoulder, trudging back through his old bootprints. Inside, he set the body upright against the tree that had grown inside his home. The tree was dead now. Emmons tried to make the body speak again but it would not.


See You on a Dark Night

W— went to the vampire club a couple of nights after E—’s death. It was on M— Street, in an oddly-shaped bar. When W— gazed at it from the outside, when he stared through the dirty windows and advertisements, the old stools and tables looked like the rotten teeth in a giant’s mouth. The bar was struggling. W— hadn’t seen more than two or three people in it for months. In an attempt to bring people in, the owner had begun to organise events.


There and Back Again

My mother used to love the corpse reviver. She called it the perfect cocktail. “The thing that sends you away, brings you back,” she’d say as she laid out the ingredients on the dining room table before she went out for the evening. “There is only one door,” she clarified once, when I looked at her in confusion. “You can go out and you can come in, but you always have to pass through the same door to get there.”


Flashlight Man

The legend of Flashlight Man began in the upper Midwestern United States, grounded in rural areas. A variation on mirror summoning, it went like this: you lie on your back in bed, your face turned toward the nearest wall, then shut your eyes and whisper, “Flashlight Man, Flashlight Man, comes with a click, see me if you can.” Repeat three times. Then you fall asleep. The tricky part in verifying who encounters Flashlight Man is that it happens during dream cycles, so you’re on your honor to accurately report how long you last.



She looked like she wandered away from a Mennonite farm, like she belonged to those women who gave bags of hand-me-downs to my mom. Her gingham dress hung to her ankles. It was a sly blue color, like a robin’s egg in which a baby vulture slept. No prayer covering weighed down her hair, which swirled around her face in jagged wisps. Unlike those well-meaning Mennonite ladies, she held no bag filled with castoffs for needy black kids.