Merope

I had imagined pinks and vermillions, an impossible sunset contained within an industrial warehouse. I had heard the chitter of squirrels and felt spring breezes. But when I awoke to a thump, felt the vibrations through the floor of my Nomad cell, and saw the most beautiful open door I had ever seen, I knew …

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Tether

Cal noticed when I walked into the bakery. He wiped his hand on the black sky of his apron, and a shy smile had spread across his face before the doorbell finished chiming. The smears of flour at his hips made me think of sex. I decided to sit as far from where he was …

Three A.M. Cannot Find You

Your scream jolts me from bed. I crouch, ready to wrestle your terrors, but then the pall of absence returns. Only light dispels it. Luckily, my laptop is exactly one candle, and the green dot beside your name, syrupy relief.

Periphery

Red oak leaves circled the edge of the parking lot next to Ben’s head. He watched them swirl in mid-air like cardinals, zigzagging from hedge to fence to light post; all of them seemed to be searching for anything but him. A few leaves finally gave in and fell to the crowning his bleeding head. They didn’t …

Muse

Poets pine for my touch. Choreographers claim that I am a walk in the woods. Musicians mistake their soulmates for me. Fools. I am that green-aproned siren in the café down the street; I am that tendril of steam rising from the mug she holds.  

XP

“Repeat it,” Brian, the seventh-grade DM, says, holding a cigarette lighter directly under my fist. “I can’t play until I’m 14.” “So stop asking.” His grip releases and I shake the pinpricks from my fingertips. “Now hand it over.” I pull a folder crammed with notebook paper from my backpack. Brian yanks out a character …

Souvenir

“You sure you’re cool with us?” The cigarette in our neighbor’s mouth bobbed as he spoke. Heather was in the kitchen rustling pots. “Us?” I asked, setting my beer down on a coaster, a souvenir from happier days when I still bought Heather gifts. “You know, with me and Heather?”