It was startlingly red, the red of blood dripping down a gashed leg, as it sank lower, the horizon pulling it towards its unavoidable nightly demise. It scattered that same red and golden yellow and orange in the sky around it, a temperamental painter, as stars that had been waiting in the wings began to show their faces in the vast expanse of the rest of the sky. The sun was pulling all light down with it, letting the day crash and burn in anger at being kicked out in favor of that laughable moon, a hollow facsimile of itself. Continue reading →
Just another show, always the same. Different towns, different slack-jawed rubes crunching peanuts and candy apples and watching you from the seats, but always the same routine. The scenery was different but the night itself never was. He could jump a month into the future or past and it would be just like tonight.
Xavier sat on his unicycle and pedaled himself out to the center of the ring, five clubs and his lucky Zippo engraved with a tiger in his oversized hands. The ringmaster was announcing him, but the words just washed over him like the faceless hum of the crowd. He pasted on his most brilliant fake smile as he lit the clubs and then began his juggling routine, riding smoothly around the ring as the flaming clubs circled in front of him. All of it—the cheers and applause, the music, his legs pumping the pedals, the work of keeping the clubs in the air—was just a haze. Continue reading →
She tossed her bouquet of daisies into the water, watching the ripples radiating from it as it drifted away. She had already tossed another handful onto his casket, but she thought it was only right to only bring them to the place where life had left him. She wondered what he had been thinking as the water pushed into his lungs. She wondered what it was like to hurt so much you thought that was the right thing. The daisies gently bobbed. Then, just like that, she felt a cool, unseen but solid hand in hers. She was not afraid. Continue reading →
In her dream, she was in Cajun country. There was a river where crawfish were being pulled up, and there was a bar at the bottom. She dove down, holding her breath, seeing all the strange personalities in the crystal-clear water. She saw a man smoking, and that confused her most of all. She wanted to stay, shoot pool, order a drink, but after just a few moments she had to grasp for the surface, clinging to the dock and gasping for breath. She wanted to ask the people to tell her their stories. But the river swallowed her words. Continue reading →
He had come to visit his friend’s farm in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York just for a change of scenery, really. The hectic pace of New York City was starting to bear down on him too overwhelmingly, to the point that working on his latest novel just resulted in endless frustration. He felt like his brain was in some kind of vise, being slowly squeezed until he couldn’t think at all. The constant hum of activity outside his Brooklyn apartment, usually comfortable, almost soothing, now just seemed maddening. Continue reading →
She careened down the hill, feet over head, feet over head, pulled into a tight ball of grass stains and denim and purple poodle barrettes.
She giggled as she came to a gentle stop on the fluffy grass below. She cartwheeled across the meadow and finally tumbled to the ground under a maple tree.
I know all this, because I was watching her. I was sitting on my porch, watching her, and trying to remember.
It had been a good thirty years since I’d done any somersaulting. Or any skipping or hairbraiding or make-believe, for that matter. “Unless you count making believe that my life is actually worth living,” I said softly to myself with an ironic laugh. Continue reading →
The instant I found it, I knew. I could tell exactly what it was, why it was there waiting to be discovered by me half-buried in the dirt underneath a park bench.
It was a terribly angry blood-red, and it was pulsing. It was misshapen, and full of hairline cracks. I knew that if I split it open, it would release the pain that was in store for me for the rest of my life, all at once. But then—then it would all be over with, and I could be safe. That was what I hoped, anyway. Continue reading →
The crossroads. This spot in the park had always felt somehow holy to her. She had never been exactly sure why, but it was the kind of spot she could imagine fairies gathering, leading their enchanted changeling away from the mourning Titania. She left coins or little bits of food here sometimes, nestled amongst the plants gathered in the shade of the thin elm trees, knowing they would be useful to some chipmunk or squirrel. She had no doubt that their spirits were just as playful and powerful as fairies or anything else. Maybe it would bring her good luck. Continue reading →
From the moment Zeke stepped outside, he could tell it was a most peculiar day.
If you had asked him what indicated this to him, he would not have been able to tell you—it was not anything that could be defined. But the clouds seemed to be bearing down on him, a succubus heavy on his chest, trying to suck the breath out of his lungs even as he desperately gulped in mouthfuls of the crisp mountain air.
He felt claustrophobic in spite of being outside. He couldn’t get somewhere much less confining, actually—there wasn’t another house for a good five miles. Still, he felt as if he needed to escape, even if he couldn’t put his finger on what was making him feel so unsettled. He decided to go for a walk. Continue reading →