Short stories, other fictions.
The Night Farmers’ Museum
Robesonia survivor, Pavel Ek Deux, who grew small quantities of night in his basement for family members, recalls the drastic conditions of the blockade: “We were just doing anything to survive. My wife and I took only very small pieces of night–shadow, really. We gave the rest to our children. We didn’t know how long the blockade would last, and who knew what growing up without night would do to them?”
That Time I Found a Phone Booth Where I Could Talk To My (Dead) Dad
It appeared on the far side of the creek, sprouting up like a mushroom overnight. The graffiti scribbled over the scratched windows and the dented blue door were straight out of the 1980s. Like something you’d see in the first Terminator movie, just before Arnold Schwarzenegger is beamed down naked onto the streets of Los Angeles in a crackle of sci-fi lightning.
There is no textbook for getting to the island, but I have made it my life’s study. The flattened boat rustles and comes to life, the paper rising up in three dimensions. The hull is rounded, with low sides, like an aspen leaf turned on its back. There’s a shallow seat, just enough room for me, and a rudder that sticks like a wasp’s tail out the back. “The day the island appeared, a landslide closed the road to Whitmuth,” I say into the intake. The boat quivers and springs forward on the sand, straining towards the sea.
The Wanderer King
“Everyone’s dead, Chool,” Pansy says. “We have to find the King.” She takes the crown from me and goes over to the dead man. His wool vest is buttoned up straight to the chin. The slice starts there, halfway round his ear and into his hair. He looks up at the mud roof with his one eye left. Pansy picks his head up off the floor, and rests it on her lap. She sets the cap on his head and holds it there, watching his ruined face.
Everything You Have Seen
I went outside to get away from Chung-hee. The snow in the courtyard was coming down in thick flakes, making that special kind of silence like the whole world has been wrapped in a cotton cloth and put away for the night. I thought at first that the guns had stopped. Then a flash lit the sky over our empty chicken coop. The boom traveled through the snowy ground, up my legs and spine and into my skull.
We Will Hold
We are soothing our throats with licorice tea in our mother’s courtyard when the Swarm bursts out of the land from the direction of the western sun. We feel them move across the countryside, smashing village after village, sweeping the plains clean like a broom of blades. The faceless men on nameless beasts explode into our village. They plunge between us, and we scatter. When it is over, their shouts echo to the east as they thunder away. They will return.
Keith Crust’s Lucky Number
Keith thought he was looking for a new guitar. The brass numbers, 2281, nailed above the door of Vic’s E-Z Pawn told him to go in. He trusted the numbers. If you added 2+2+8+1 you got 13, which was lucky, because that’s how old he was when he started. Keith pushed open the door.