Short Fiction

Short Fiction from issues of Apex Magazine

Silver Buttons All Down His Back

by on Apr 7, 2015 in Short Fiction | 2 comments

(4500 Words) His fingers fit through the diamond slots in the chain link fence like nothing has changed, as though he never went to college or moved away from home. Except now, instead of a high school in the distance behind the runners in their white T-shirts and matching blue-and-grey track shorts, it’s a rocket. It’s just past dawn; the sleek lines of the rocket stand against a sky silvering from deep blue to almost-white where it touches the horizon. The moon is a slim crescent, grinning. In his recurring dreams, there is a moon that looks just like that. It is the moon, the one from his dream, more than anything that takes him back. The year he started seventh...

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Beatification of the Second Fall

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

(4400 Words) For Devin I am four when the door at the top of the stairs is opened to me for the first time. Mother has invited friends over—men who smell of tobacco smoke, women who reek the scent of too many flowers stuffed into a glass jar. They clutch handbags and hats, and fill up the front parlor with a mix of cigarette smoke and fear. I am too young to understand when I walk into the blue-papered room. Their eyes are sunken, desperate, dead. I don’t realize what it means when a man traces the bottom of his lip with the tip of his tongue, or a woman whose name I do not remember clutches at her stomach. They stare at me. Mother enters carrying a Mason jar. She scans...

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Sing Me Your Scars

by on Mar 3, 2015 in Short Fiction | 1 comment

5000 Words This is not my body. Yes, there are the expected parts—arms, legs, hips, breasts—each in its proper place and of the proper shape. Is he a monster, a madman, a misguided fool? I don’t know. I don’t want to know. But this is not my body. § The rot begins, as always, around the stitches. This time, the spots of greyish-green appear on the left wrist, and there is an accompanying ache, but not in the expected way. It feels as though there is a great disconnect between mind and flesh, a gap that yearns to close but cannot. I say nothing, but there is no need; Lillian’s weeping says it with more truth than words. The hands are hers. “Please don’t show him yet....

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Where I’m Bound

by on Mar 3, 2015 in Short Fiction | 3 comments

4200 Words I waited in line behind twelve other clowns at the fae portal from the Underland into the clown car. We did two shows a day, collecting emotions. This performance, we were also on the hunt for a new child, which only happened sometimes. Underland day was bright, with blue sky and a few snowy clouds, no surprise; it was the favorite daytime weather of the high fae, who set the climate here. Sometimes I longed for a nice, clean, Earthly rainstorm, not the slam-banging, thunder-lightning-and-drenching storms the high fae were so fond of because drama almost let them feel something. The air tasted of stepped-on grass, fresh pine, the sour-sweet scent of magic,...

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A Beautiful Memory

by on Mar 3, 2015 in Short Fiction | 3 comments

4000 Words On Thursday, a windsor-knotted businessman paid Anna three times her normal asking price for a quartet of thought-birds. She normally sold two at a time because their growth was so slow. But he insisted. A bird of each flavor: contentment, melancholy, joy, fury. “A few of the guys at work have taken up competitive birdsong,” he told her as he wrote the check. He had sharp breath, with the whisper of a three-martini lunch. “But they’re just using finches or sparrows. This one guy’s got a bunch of pigeons. Seriously.” “I see,” Anna said, and stroked the melancholy bird’s head with one finger. It let out a sad little trill. “So what do these things eat, anyway?”...

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Charaid Dreams

by on Mar 3, 2015 in Short Fiction | 0 comments

3500 Words It’s not the cold what kills you. Not the naarg-wolves neither, Maw says, though they’re plenty scary. No, it’s the Dreams what’ll get you in the end. Dreams what wake in winter and sleep in summer. If only summer weren’t so short. Like the song of a chitkil it is, a burst of glory that leaves you colder, darker than before. But the cold and dark has a song all its own. I got no fancy words for it, but when the moon of long shadows rises over the top of the black ice forest, I get all chokey, like something’s trying to force its way out of my throat. Maw says I waste too much time staring slack-jawed at the purple horizon. “Close that mouth and get to work,...

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