Short Stories

“Howling”At night, the woman lies in the dark and listens to the howls echo across the valley. One cries out. The rest answer, ululating, hungry.

The walls of the house are strong, she reminds herself, the fence around the house is strong.

This is not something she used to worry about, long ago, when she was another person and the world was another world. That long ago seems like a story—Once upon a time there was a girl who went to classes and studied equations. She learned how to use spreadsheets. She calculated risk. Read the rest in Pink Panther Magazine, Volume 13, Number 2.

“Unbecoming”The ten-street town had no bus station, and so Lina dragged her purple-fading-to-gray suitcase toward the curb where the bus stop sign stood. Snow fell from the overcast sky onto the brick buildings and concrete sidewalks. It fell in her hair. People in knit hats with tassels and pompoms walked past without looking at her.

She pulled the suitcase slowly over the litter of ice chunks and grit. She held it steady so it wouldn’t tip. As she stopped under the bus stop sign, she carefully set it from two to four wheels, as if it was full even though it was almost empty. Lina didn’t know how she had lost all her things. Read the rest in Pink Panther Magazine, Volume 13, Number 2.

A short essay for adults on teaching and the drills we’re all far to used to, “This is the Drill” in Green Mountains Review.

“265 Days of Furie — Part I: Summer” was named a finalist for the 2015 Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing, which is sponsored by Hunger Mountain: The VCFA Journal for the Arts.

“20’s Ruin” —When 20 opened the door, she thought she must still be sleeping. What stood there was some strange bird: that’s what 19 would’ve said. He wasn’t a boy, but he wasn’t exactly a man either. Tall, like Miller’s son, but thin as a heron. His shirt was blue-wing bright. His eyes, wide and startled. His skin was smooth and free of rashes; he must not be from the mountain. In the May/June 2014 issue of Cicada Magazine. 2015 recipient of a letter of merit for fiction, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Magazine Merit Competition.

“Crow’s Face” — When the girl was recruited by a commander of the Blue Mountain clan to fly a black metal bird, to become the protector and spy for a squad of soldiers, she hadn’t known that for the first time in her eighteen years, she would feel ferocious and beautiful. . . A 2017 nominee for the Pushcart Prize.

“Hansel and Gretel” — In the light of the gibbous moon, beneath the thick boughs of ancient oaks, a girl pulled her brother from the gingerbread house, trailed by smoke that stank of burned sugar and flesh. She found the path of white pebbles, and she led her brother down its sloped curve. She kept to the middle of the path, away from the oaks, for their leaves whispered, wordless hisses. A warning, a foretelling…Read the rest in Solstice Literary Magazine.

 “Her Mother’s Skin” — The leggy girl, on evenings when the wind was warm and wild, drifted away from the house and her chores, from the little ones and her mother’s long silences. As the wind tangled sand and sea grass through the girl’s hair, she climbed the cliff faces and explored her secret hidey-holes. Which is why she found her mother’s skin…Purchase the rest in the Spring/Summer 2013 issue of Soundings Review.

“Into the Vast” — All of my fourteen years, we have lived in the dark because of the Dragons. The stone walls of our cave hide us from them, and also hide the light from us. I open my eyes, I close my eyes: darkness . . .  Winner of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ 2014 Magazine Merit Award for fiction.

Page illustration by Jess Polanshek.