beyond the pale,
mysteries of the night and the mind,
slipping between the spaces.
Here for the Reading, 2017:
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When Bolaji’s husband died, people cast her aside as if she were dead, like she didn’t exist anymore without her man, that dead woman.
But lots were drawn and it was her turn at the night job, and with it, all the things unseen in the dark, the loneliness of the task, the tales of Masquerades and demons, marauders and spearrangs that had a little too much fun spinning up people’s insides. There were people that took their turn and came back different, never came back, died in strange ways.
Who taught them to fear the night? Who taught them this darkness was evil, sinister, a hand trying to bind them? Why did the fear persist? She stood, shoulders high and back tense, eyes alert. And when everyone was shut in for the night, when it was pitch black, she set out.
Most of the Windy City’s secret places are gone now. But every once in a great while at summer twilight, when soft lamps have filled the tree-lined streets with a faint silver glow, you may happen to find Brady’s Sandwich Shack.
Your smartphone will lose its signal. Attempting to document the retro interior on Instagram causes the app to crash. Twitter and Foursquare will be unable to triangulate your location, and reviews on Yelp mysteriously refuse to upload.
Don’t panic. Relax. Enjoy the blues. Savor the smell and order some food. If you’re with someone, enjoy each other’s company…
…you never know who may drop in.
It was too wild, all jagged rocks and sun-bleached driftwood. But it suited me, this beach and this night, a night one could believe in monsters….
Just as the last of the sun disappeared I saw him. He emerged from the grey waves dripping wet and perfect. His hair was black as sin and his pale skin shone like the moon. His body was slender and his face all strange angles, but he was heartbreakingly beautiful. My Irish grandma had told me the old stories and I could see the danger — but his fathomless black eyes fastened on me, ensnared me.
The Undine is a pain-artist In the perpetual dusk that haunts the caverns, she strains the shadows for prey, seeking her next masterpiece.
The stranger who sweeps from the shadows, his smile pale and puckered as a scar, his breath spiced with smoked marrow and charred bones, offers her a spoilt city to paint in pain, on one small condition,
He was singing another song to the rusted chain dangling from the ceiling when a black hole opened in his chest. It sucked his heart out from behind his ribcage and he knew with a ghost’s certainty, with the instinctual sympathy between the dead and those close to death, that his brother was dying. He had not seen Michael, hadn’t been able to see another human being, since the day he died bloody in the street, listening to the screeching of wheels on concrete.
Happy New Year Everyone. We hope 2017 will be a good year for us all.
Here for the Reading, 2016
To read all the stories for 2016, you can subscribe here: Subscribe 2016
January 4, 2016: Eldritch: “The Wendigo”, by Algernon Blackwood, illustrated by Cathal Hanlon and Alexandre Mahboubi. The classic, chilling tale.