Brief Stories

category archive

The bulk of my writing, consisting of stories between 500 and 2,000 words in length.

scour the flesh with cleansing heat

"Mommy!" You cry as she's just about to walk out the door, "I want to go worship with you!"

Her scarred flesh wrinkles into a smile as she laboriously reaches down to ruffle your hair.

"Not until you're older, dear heart."

"But why? I'm a big girl now!"

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The Morning's Pains

Pain attends her even in her dreams, a writhing tapestry thrown all across her dreamscape—buried in scraps of imagery, hidden in the shattered rooms of her failing dreams, and nestled all about her not-body. Stranger than in her waking hours, both more and less urgent—

But when dreams end the pain remains.

She groans as she wakes, feeling the knots curling through her back and the bundles of unoiled needles flexing in her joints; her elbows burn and her knees scream and hungry-mouthed snakes curl in her thighs and all through her belly—

As she stumbles to her feet she wishes once again that the pain would remain in her bed, like it did for so many years. If only the hint of motion was enough to scare it off, to ward it away—but all motion does is coax out the painful needles of her slowly waking extremities.

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The Devil's Calling Card

Hell rises in the distance, vast and insectile; tiers of sculpted pustules marching up towards judgment's implacable many-faceted eye. Its walls have already begun to open, vast diaphanous wings unfurling from their eternal prisons. The ground shivers beneath its shifting weight—

You walk a bit faster, heedless of the weeping blisters burning on your feet. There's not much time left, not now, none left to waste! It's time, it's finally time—!

All that remains is to reach the city.

You're going home.

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Eight Polaroids

When investigators finally broke into Fran's apartment, they found little of note. A fridge empty save for a bowl of wrinkled grapes, a collection of unused hair care products, and a bed that hadn't been made or cleaned in months.

They also found a collection of eight polaroids.

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The Doll's Gifts

There's a doll in the alley behind your apartment building. It's an old thing, limbs and mask shaped in a style that's almost old enough to be retro; in another few years it will probably be fashionable again.

It's been there for years and years, just as long as you have.

Mostly it spends its days curled up next to the dumpster.

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"Are you sure this is okay, Miss?"

"Of course it is. Get that lock open."

Doll's fingers, long and fine as needles, dip inside the keyhole once again. She fancies that she can hear the house shudder as she massages its pins, and it's hardly a moment before the door clicks open. Behind her she feels her witch's smile: a vast gash cut into the night's fabric, teeth dripping with the moon's pale blood. Its empty eyes gaze hungrily past her from the sleepy suburban street's every shadow, and Doll thanks her lucky stars that no one's awake to see it.

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Contamination begins gently. A pinprick hole in the hazmat suit's thick composite where she stumbles and falls against a forest of needles growing from one of the site's walls.

Most break.

One finds the perfect angle.

She doesn't feel its touch on her sweaty skin.

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Her Missing Part

She always felt like part of her was missing. An ache in her heart, an absence in the air around her—skin wrapped too tight around her bones, blood beating in time with a rhythm unlike her body.

She always felt like something was wrong. Always, until she met them.

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From Beneath Her Skin

The call's coming from beneath her skin. It's not yet ready to be dead, not ready to be buried and forgotten, grave bell ringing with wild abandon. Louder with each heartbeat, louder with each breath, an electric shriek filling the too-still air—!

She was walking through a park when it began, big and open and public, and now she's cowering in a public restroom: single-occupancy, filthy, soggy paper ringing a piss-streaked toilet. Something's waiting inside the rim, something that stinks like death and gurgles like an empty stomach longing to be filled.

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"This one isn't everyone"

"I'm sorry you had to see me like that. I never wanted you to know that side of me. I wanted," a drop of blood slides down her perfect teeth, "I wanted to keep you safe."

This isn't when the doll found her in the woods, covered in stolen blood. This is some time after.

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