verbal

Stories

Derpy

Everyone made fun of the deaf kid.…

It was just a stupid joke.Everybody made fun of the deaf kid. He talked funny. And he did! We weren’t mean about it. He couldn’t hear us anyway, right? He was frikkin deaf. All we did was make fun of the way he talked. We said he sounded derpy.It’s n…

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Empty Nest

Staring down the same wall of darkness…

Birdie’s son left in the Spring.She rarely saw him in that last six months he’d lived there anyway. He'd worked full time at Domino’s, came home after midnight, went straight into his room in the basement. She heard the TV. She heard the trips to the…

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Magpie House

What is a crow that's not a crow?…

“I fucking hate magpies,” said Tony, passing the pack of cigarettes to his friends gathered around him in the dark of the basement. “They’re mean,” said Bobby, as he took a cigarette and passed it down the line. “I hate the way they swoop. They’re sc…

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Robotic

This wasn't her.…

To everyone in the room, she seemed like just a normal girl wearing Vans, bluejeans, and a red hoodie.Only she heard the whirring servos, the soft click of gears, the hum of electronics. Only she knew who she really was.“Come on,” said the boy with t…

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Monster

What makes a monster?…

My grandmother tried to kill me in my crib when I was two months old.She’s dead now.Did I kill her? I don’t know. It’s not a simple question, and there are no simple answers.All I remember is being covered in blood, her blood, as I lay in my crib.#I …

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Ghosts of Cheyenne Mountain

They left the greatest military installation in the world unguarded?…

“It’s all lies,” Seth told us, as he passed the joint to Cam. “The government will never tell you anything important.”Seth and Cam and Kyle huddled in the shadows of Cheyenne Mountain military base, partying, telling conspiracy theories as if they we…

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Funhouse

God, she was beautiful.…

Screams erupted from every ride in the carnival, even the not-particularly-scary ones like the Ferris Wheel and the Turtle Train, as Conor walked the midway. The smell of funnel cakes and corn dogs and cotton candy washed over him. Discarded hamburge…

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Ground Zero

In dream, my skin has been charred soot-black, not all over my body, but on my arms, my legs, my penis, my chest. In dream, I only notice the burns if my eye happens to fall upon that area of skin. There is no pain. No pain, but a deep, shuddering fr…

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Lost and Found

Certain places in the house held shadows within them.…

The basement didn’t show up on John’s radar until about a year after they had lived in the house, though other spots did, and much more quickly.His daughters took note of the upstairs hallway before they even moved in. Em said it felt weird. John fel…

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Forks

More unsettling were the ragged circle of butter knives stabbed angrily into the wood ceiling.…

“Where the hell are all the forks?” John grumbled from the kitchen, not for the first time.“Emily takes them,” said El from the dinner table.“No I don’t!” wailed Em.El turned to her Dad. “Emily takes them and she hides them,” she said.“This is betwee…

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Pupa and Chrysalis

She felt beautiful.…

Em asked her Dad to mount a full length mirror on the inside of her door when she was nine years old.The mirror whispered to her just after she turned ten. Or rather, something in the mirror whispered.She had just started fourth grade, and for the fi…

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Growing Old

They’d grow into old age together, all of them, the dead and the living.…

The girls had been getting along pretty well together in El’s room, El playing teacher, Em playing student (they always played the same roles without variance), but then Em had turned rebellious on her teacher and was threatening to not do her assign…

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Doorways

Something terrible lay slumped in the corner of the room.…

In retrospect John blamed the incident on his own suggestibility, and on the scrapbook.The previous owner, Henry Stode, considered himself to be a bit of an amateur historian, at least when it came to the house. He had inherited an overstuffed scrapb…

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Don't Look

His tear was red, and spattered as it landed.…

Dad was at work. Mom was at the grocery store. Her sister Em was at a friend’s house.El sat on her bed, playing with her kitten, Shadow. El had a feather on a string, and tossed it out like a fishing line for Shadow to chase.Something sounded from ou…

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Clockwork

Perhaps clocks weren’t misbehaving. Perhaps time was.…

Clocks had a way of misbehaving in the house.Clocks often misbehave, particularly mechanical ones. The clock in the car that is two or three minutes slower than the clock last spied before leaving the house. The clock on the oven timer that never qui…

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Mother of Glass, Mother of Tears

Mirrors are a kind of window.…

“You’re fat,” the little girl inside the mirror said to Em.It was long past midnight. Em’s parents and sister were in bed. Em was standing in front of the closed door of her room, where her Dad had hung the full length mirror. She regarded the reflec…

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Lodgers

Houses sometimes held onto what happened inside them.…

The house stood at the entrance to the block, dwarfing all the other houses.John and Alice learned a bit of the history of the house from the previous owner, who was a bit of an amateur historian. The original owner of the house, a Mr. Reginald Bowen…

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Supper Table

She just watches. She watches the house. She watches all of us.…

Supper was grilled chicken and rice, with green beans, one of El’s favorites. Her Mom noticed the subdued reaction when her plate was placed in front of her.“Is something wrong, honey?” asked Alice.Silence, at first. Eventually, El told the family th…

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Window

"Remember. The attic is off limits."…

The realtor described the place as a grand old dame of a house: a three-story high Victorian in a state of slight disrepair, built in 1897 but with so many random, period-inconsistent architectural details added on over the years (a deck over the fro…

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Pennies

Don't you want to know what blood tastes like?…

The woman in the mirror spoke to her.This was before she covered all the mirrors in the house. This was back when she was like eleven, maybe twelve, before all the crazy shit happened. Back when they first moved into the house.The woman had been in h…

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