Selected Concoctions

SHORT FICTION

A strange man driving them around a strange country, no one expecting to see or hear from them for days? What could go wrong?

— “The Hidden People”

Most nights, Morgan lies awake thinking about cutting off her sister’s finger. The extra one on Angela’s left hand, the one she calls her angel finger.

— “The Angel Finger

Esme lasts two more days before finally admitting it. She’s not six anymore, she has a fucking cellphone, a computer, but no, sure, this knocking thing. She’ll give it a go. They’ll both be poltergeists tonight.

— “Horse Girl”

Juana woke up to find her hair had come alive on her pillow. It might’ve startled her if not for the elderly voice, so small and papery, “Don’t scream, girl, whatever you do. My ears can’t take it.” It almost sounded like her abuelita’s voice. Except, of course, not dead.

— “The Daddy Thing”

They chucked rocks into the black water, feigning the occasional chill. They whispered What was that? as if they’d heard something. Their thoughts slithered as they looked for ways to frighten each other, so many glinting silverfish wriggling around the dark folds of their brains.

— “The Hunted”

My first night alone in Raimy’s hipster dream home. It isn’t eerie at all. I’m not suddenly afraid of the dark just because it’s hanging around in someone else’s rooms. I’ve already made my inventory of everything that’s normal and typical and boring. I checked all the closets, no roaches or monsters to be seen. I put my dishes away in the washer instead of leaving them out in the sink. I checked every lock. I checked every faucet. Normal. It’s all normal.

— “Quietly Gigantic”

I’m alone in my apartment but I have the TV on so it sounds like a bunch of people are in here talking. This way people in the hall won’t walk by and think that I’m alone. I can hear the neighbors laughing through the wall. Is it me? Are they laughing at me?

— “The Joke”

The worms—it’s complicated. I don’t want to put that pressure on my lover, to become something he talks to his therapist about. But I feel them. The squirming, clammy draw of these things. The kind of feeling that makes you tear your fingernails. The kind that makes you send one too many text messages.

— “Late at Night, After He’s Fallen Asleep”

We took Emmaline on what promised to be a particularly stormy night. It wasn’t hard to do, especially since all the police and alarm company people were right there in the mob with us. Her mother, Rebecca, had to be restrained by five different people; the sheriff even had to lock her in a holding cell to keep her secured.

— “The Feast”