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Marionette

Jackson traced a finger along the lower lip, making some final adjustments. High cheekbones, dark eyes, and pouty lips made it the perfect head for the standard model lithe body she would roll out this evening. She pushed her glasses up her nose and glanced at the clock. Scant time for testing, but getting her selfie ready should be enough. The head…

Cracked mirror

Engine

You wake up lying on the floor. You’re on your side. Blurred faces gather around you. “He has a hammer!” a woman yelled. There’s a sharp pain in your thigh. You lean back, shoulders stiff. You slide the tool from your body. A moment ago, you were in the hardware store. Before that, you were…

paintbrushes

“How Kind of You to Come”

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve forgotten her face. It’s become a disordered collage: the slope of a nose, the curve of a lip, a glow of brown eyes. Memory no longer assembles them into a face. So I paint everything else. Her front door. The in-between coat she wore in autumn. Her beagle.…

camera

Click Click

She found the battered camera behind the bushes, a small silver ingot of hidden treasure that glinted in the setting sun at the just the right angle to catch her eye. The metal was tarnished to a dull sheen, the round shutter button worn down to concave plastic white that fit her finger just so.…

spotlight

A Woman’s Blood

This happened once before. I was in 8th grade, attending a high school play, admiring Billy Gregg’s performance as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls. I wasn’t trying to get his attention. He was a senior, and I wasn’t even thinking about boyfriends, not for real. Billy was delivering the line, “There’s only one thing…

Raleigh NC

5. The Things We Miss

Continued from last week’s installment of Digging in the Dirt. Sheriff Daniel Coyle huffed up the long, gradual hill a few acres from where he’d parked his gray Ford Crown Victoria by the storage barn at the small, family-run pig farm. Moist winds blew the mixed scents of fertilizer and grass around the field. Once…

over here over here

“Over Here, Over Here”

“All your games are single player ones,” my sister complained a few months ago. The two of us were relaxing in beanbags in my room, staring at the woefully black TV screen on a lazy Saturday afternoon. “Isn’t there anything we can play together?” I scanned my shelf. “Maybe Child of Eden… wait, no, that’s…

moving box

My Girlfriend Bought a House

by Jay Mangano My girlfriend bought a house. I say “my girlfriend bought a house” and not “my girlfriend and I” or “we”, because my girlfriend merits being called a number of things that I do not. Like secure, responsible, or adult. So my girlfriend bought a house and welcomed me into it. We’re a…

spooky selfies

Flash Fiction week VIII: Spooky Selfies

Length: 500–1000 words When: Publication date is the final week in October. Topic: Spooky Selfies What does that mean? Stories should (a) involve selfies, and (b) be vaguely related to Halloween, or something spooky or scary. As usual, contact the editor to sign up, or leave a comment here and we’ll get back to you.…

life after life

Book Review: Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson

Snow.11 February 1910. Ye gods, thought the infant Ursula, in a preternatural burst of consciousness, as she was born for the ninety-ninth time. Again She startled herself into a lusty scream. Bravo! A divine voice spoke from somewhere unseen. Do you realize that this is the first birth you’ve survived all on your own? In…