Short Fiction

Short Fiction from issues of Apex Magazine

A Sister’s Weight in Stone

by on May 5, 2015 in Short Fiction | 0 comments

(4400 Words) I. SAM SUI. The dragons stole Little Phoenix’s sister on the way to the British port of Singapore, snatching her from the deck of the Kwangtung Mariner as it struggled in the belly of a storm. § 1892 had been a bad year for seafarers. So many dragon-worms survived the spawning season that the seas across the warmer parts of the world seemed to churn with their gelatinous bodies, serrated teeth destroying everything in their path. Fishermen’s boats went out in the morning and came back empty driftwood torn with holes. Stilt houses fell whole into the sea with their occupants, foundations razored away to nothing. Coastal cities closed their ports to all but...

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Wildcat (from The Secret Diary of Donna Hooks)

by on May 5, 2015 in Short Fiction | 3 comments

(4800 Words) April 25, 1908 It has finally happened, after literally years of persistence: My father has given me a slice of wild land north of town, a rambling stretch of brushy thicket, one hundred acres of promise. Here I can be actively adventurous, though my folks for the longest time have been dead set against such total independence. I had a hard time overcoming their opposition, certainly. They would not abandon the notion that I might renounce the wicked ways of a divorcee and return to Clyde Fletcher’s side. But our marriage, I made them understand, is irrevocably broken. What I need now is to erase all visible memories of that shattered covenant by rescuing...

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Remembery Day

by on May 5, 2015 in Short Fiction | 2 comments

(2800 Words) I woke at dawn on the holiday, so my grandmother put me to work polishing Mama’s army boots. “Try not to let her see them,” Nana warned me. I already knew. I took the boots to the bathroom with an old sock and the polish kit. I had seen Nana clean them before, but this marked the first time I was allowed to do it myself. Saddle soap first, then moisturizer, then polish. I pictured Nana at the ironing board in our bedroom, pressing the proper creases into Mama’s old uniform. The door swung open, and I realized too late that I had forgotten to lock it. Mama didn’t often wake up this early on days she didn’t have to work. “Whose are those?” my mother asked,...

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Slow

by on Apr 7, 2015 in Short Fiction | 0 comments

(4800 Words) From her mouth exhales some warm magic that sweeps the marble dust away, and this is the first thing he sees, though he does not quite understand that he sees: her lips with their red stain worn away, paled in a utility light’s blaze. Below her chin a dust mask snares her throat. Another breath and she sets the chisel again, raises her mallet, and delicately, deliberately, she chips the scales from his eyes. * Sometimes there’s only a range of floorboards, slats of dust-dulled wood with starred prints from her shoes tracking diagonals across. Light reaches over, fading from left to right throughout the day, from nothing to a distorted symmetry of eight...

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Wind

by on Apr 7, 2015 in Short Fiction | 1 comment

(4300 Words) Once upon a time, there were two young girls, closer than sisters, who dreamed of greatness. When they played together (as they did every day), Gytha always pretended to be an artist, raising glorious sculptures of stone and glass, and Dagmar pretended to be a famous physician, making brilliant discoveries each day and then spending her nights in the slums, secretly healing those too poor to afford a physician’s fee. Magical ability comes from an imbalance of the elements within the human heart, however, and both Gytha and Dagmar had been blessed with balance rather than power. But Gytha read in a book about a perilous rite requiring two willing hearts that...

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Crow

by on Apr 7, 2015 in Short Fiction | 0 comments

(3200 Words) Carmen had come back from shore leave, come back from weaning her child, and she’d missed the feel of salt crusting on her lips, the dry wind sucking moisture from her eyes. Missed wood under her heels and being rocked instead of rocking. The shadow of her body against the sails was different than it was before: round like a sunfish and the memory of anchors. Her feet on the deck echoed deeper than they had done, just slightly, and she walked with her weight in front of her—not just the new milk-heaviness, but the ghost weight of belly and baby, the child held before her in its canvas sling, mouth pursed and working, and waking, at times, to see its mother...

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