Title: The Box
Word Count: 551
There is a box left upon her doorstep. It’s not the normal delivery kind- all thick cardboard with scribbles and messages and a this end up decorating the bottom half- it is instead a politely sized box with a lid the color white and a hank of lavender ribbon tied around its middle.
Title: Knock Twice
Word Count: 830 words
The very first place she tries is the mirror covering the often forgotten medicine cabinet.
Well, that’s a bit of a lie. The very first place she tries is the back of the armoire, having heard Very Good Things about doorways and worlds and backs of wardrobes. She had crawled through layers of disuse, brushed against coats of furs and leathers and soft cardigans that made her stop to run a sleeve against her cheek. Continue reading
Title: How Pretty
Word Count: 760 words
She is made of silk, tulle, and gossamer. Her eyes are two jeweled buttons, her mouth one long up sweep stitch in a color the Creator calls Rosebud. She is a happy little doll who sits patiently as the Creator applies the finishing touches – lace ribbons for her hair, knitted shoes for her feet, and finally a heart.
how pretty, how pretty
Title: Hush Now
Word Count: 367 words
Notes: Trigger warning, this piece contains allusions to sexual assault.
He says hush, he says you’re beautiful, don’t cry. He pets her hair, her cheek, rests his hand against her collarbone, fingers caressing the pulse beatbeatbeating in her neck. As if this will make her okay again, as if she wants his touch.
Title: You Want a Better Story
Word Count: 1,388
Notes: This piece does touch on the concept of God, and as such I have been told by a couple of people that it made them uncomfortable. So there’s that.
John finds God on a Wednesday at Starbucks. She’s there when he pulls in, standing at the door and smiling vaguely in his direction. “Right on time,” she says. Which he thinks is strange, since he only just decided coffee sounded like a good idea before turning into the parking lot. Continue reading
Title: Where No One Can be Found (1228 words)
Word Count: 1,228
Notes: Trigger warning, this piece contains allusions to suicide and self harm.
He is two eyes and a wide smile in the fuzzy semblance of a man. She is reminded of the exact nature of his condition when she goes to touch his shoulder and her hand passes through him. He offers an apologetic shrug like, what can you do, and they both move more carefully after.
He says “I almost didn’t think you would come.”
She laughs. “I almost didn’t, thought I was going crazy when I heard your voice.” They move through the forest, one whisper quiet (dead silent, haha. And she tries to punch him for that, forgets again that this isn’t how things should be) and the other alive and rustling underbrush and snapping twigs and wait, can we stop, I need to catch my breath.
Soon, all too soon, the dirty grey of pre-dawn slides into the sky and they find themselves at the bridge. She leans over the railing and looks down, down, down. The river is a thin thread far below.
“Hey,” he says. “Come with me.” She thinks about it – he smiles hopefully at her – and she says “I don’t know if I can.” He sighs, jumps, fades out of existence mid-leap and she is left alone for the moment.
Title: The Truth
Word Count: 652
“Hey,” he says, brows furrowing just above the bridge of his nose. “Are you o–”
“Fine,” she says. Her smile is too wide (the edges shaky and brittle), shows too many teeth for polite society. “I’m fine.”
She can predict the patterns of this conversation. Here comes the full-shoulder-sigh, the quick intake of breath as he launches into his next line.
“Right,” he says. “Of course, I guess I was just worried and–”
“Don’t be.” She doesn’t mean to keep cutting him off… she’s just not ready to hear another weak excuse. Weak words make strong pain. Maybe Confucius said that, or maybe nobody did and it was her own heart trying to cast a balm over the ache of rejection.