Tears of a Sock Monkey

Tears of a Sock Monkey

Chatter and giggles greeted Jess as she approached the bus stop. God, everyone here hated her. And the feeling was totally mutual. It was too late to fake some vague illness. Mom would see right through that. Especially since she had a math test first period. She ignore the just-too-loud conversations with their pointed words–weirdo; she’s coming this way; slut; nerd–and stood as off to the side as she could, a blank expression instead of the designer makeup contouring the girls’ faces. She shuffled, a mindless drone, to first math. She hadn’t studied for the test. She hadn’t needed to....

Speak No Lies

Speak No Lies

Looking down from the top of a newly budded oak tree, hidden in evening shadows and obliviousness, they snickered. Humans…always missing what was right in front of them. *** Mona was a million miles away, her thoughts branching from the obvious: she and Monty were collectively insane (together, like so many other times in their life as twins) to the fantabulous, that something magical was going on. Monty relished the unknownness of the mess; Mona did not. He actually woke up disappointed when something weird didn’t present itself; Mona rejoiced. Monty wanted to figure out what was going on and...

The Instinct

The Instinct

I peer into the rear-view mirror of the Model 3, carefully lifting and tucking rolls of golden hair off my neck. Both my hair and my neck look best that way, and tonight I need to look my best. The Uber driver, who the app introduced to me as “Randy,” slams on his brakes and the Model 3 lurches. I go into his headrest hairdo-first, clawing for purchase to preserve the shape I so painstakingly crafted. I bounce off cursing as my fingers get tangled in the crocheted cover, tearing a wide hole. “Are you fucking serious?” I shout at...

Little Miss Know-It-All

Little Miss Know-It-All

Today. The weirdness was today! More than a month had passed without incident. Zillah knew the shit was really about to fly, like all over the place. She didn’t know how she knew. She just did. Like, when she woke up (not got out of bed; awake and blearily standing were two distinct events), the world wobbled and stretched out in front of her, then snapped back into place, like in those old cartoons Mom showed her online. But, like, everything seemed extra sharp and hyper clear. And it happened while she was brushing her teeth. Like mid-spit and wham!...

Read-Write

Read-Write

Hent never held his breath. A witch’s curse kept his family from being swimmers or blowing out birthday candles or taking advantage of the wish-enhancing powers of tunnels, for fear of their held breath catching as per the terms of the curse. But here and now—in the Upper Bough of the supply tree, on Clean Out Your Computer Day—Hent held his breath ever so slightly while he flattened his wings against his back to slip past a trio of grandmothers walking at one quarter speed. He would have arrived earlier to avoid the crowds, but Elyse’s appointment with Healer Jessen...

When It Rains

When It Rains

It wasn’t enough that the past few months had been way weird. Like, Twilight Zone weird. Mona wanted nothing to do with any of it, most especially since pretty much no one else around her realized the weirdness. Pretty much because at least she had Monty. Sure, he was annoying AF, but he was her brother and they kinda had to watch each other’s backs. If she was alone in her knowledge, she’d have gone crazy by now. The biggest pain in the butt was not knowing when the weirdness was going to happen. It could be any day, randomly,...

Honey & Vinegar

Honey & Vinegar

“Isn’t your hair just so adorable in the mornings, my little rumple-head?” The room brightened as her Mom opened the shades. “Mnhuh?” “Your hair, Jess, your hair. Specifically the bedhead. It’s simply adorable. Always has been. Ever since you were a little baby. The way it sticks up in the back there. So sweet.” Mom clucked, then sighed at the clutter scattered about her bedroom. “Now, get your sleepy little rumple-head out of bed and come downstairs. You’ll be late.” Jess sat up on one elbow, running the other hand through her spiky hair and blinking in confusion. Sleepy little…?...

Son of Rock

Son of Rock

January 7, 2319: Old Rock Day “I don’t understand why you choose to torment me like this,” Fred’s mother said, and Fred hung up and threw the phone across the room. He ground his teeth together. He had placed the long-distance call to StarChip III to wish her happy Mother’s Day, thinking—wishing? Dreaming? Naïvely believing?—she might have a normal conversation with him, just this once. No such dumb luck. She’d been in a foul mood; there were more of those than there used to be, or maybe Fred noticed them as an adult. As usual, Marjorie Hall had had something...