“Praise be to the Master, all knowledge comes from him” – 159 words

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“And what, students, is this?” Pulling back the corpse’s parchment skin, the Master pointed to the vertebra. “The ajbu adh-dhanab,” the students whispered. “The resurrection bone.” With deft motions, the Master severed the cartilage and withered roots of nerves. He twisted the ajbu adh-dhanab from its setting and placed it like a pink almond upon […]

“Creation Myth” – 300 Words

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CREATION MYTH Maybe it’s time I told you why you and your sister don’t look your mommy and I. You see, my darling, you two are from a far-off country across the ocean. Princesses? Not quite. You two are far more special. Do you know how some mommies get big before they have babies? Well, […]

“Kamtchotchke Roulette” – 300 Words

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A matryoshka nesting doll the size of a baby squats on the plastic tablecloth in center of Darya and Zoya’s kitchen table. The outside, at least, always has the same rough features – heavy brow, hooked nose, sarafan of coarse hair. Its painted eyes follow Darya’s hands as she picks up the sheep’s knucklebone, roughly […]

“Return Address” – 300 Words

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Dale woke as engines outside his trailer shook him like a rock in a tin can. Even wrapped beneath the blankets, the throbbing air and brilliant lights – brighter than a midnight sun – bludgeoned him. They were back. Eventually, finally, the aural and visual cacophony dissipated. It was up and away and then gone. […]

“Tsukumogami” – 155 words

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Beneath the Acolyte’s hands, the fenceposts squirm in happy recognition. Old granite, worn smooth by the brush of countless fives of fingertips that count them as a rosary down the path from the temple to the cemetery, they nuzzle against his palm. The Acolyte gazes upon the tombstones in the forest. Under his caress, the […]

“A Very Odd Story” – 150 words

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Hiking was Jeff’s idea. I wanted something cosmopolitan, but he kept complaining and it is -was?- his honeymoon, too. I guess. “It’s like that experiment with the monkeys typing Shakespeare-” What? Yes, I know it wasn’t a real experiment. I’m not stupid. I’m telling you what he said when he saw it. “There are hundreds […]

“Restoration” – 259 words

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The father and son stand in front of the rusted car, everything partially-buried in years of growth. Weeds reach up to their knees, their hips, the tires. Above them, primer-white splotches of clouds swirl through a denim-blue summer sky. “What’s the point?” The son kicks at a rusty wheelwell. Out of habit he looks for […]