Numa wheezed — what used to be a howl. She dug furiously, hardwired by instinct and training. She shouldn’t exert herself too much, but she wouldn’t stop. Not even one paw in the grave would slow her down.
She tossed broad swaths of copper Martian soil into the air, slower than she used to. By the time I got to her, she was already ripping the O-tuber from the ground. Yellow roots snapped off the violet bulb and dangled in her mouth, slobber ejected by panting.
“Good girl,” I said.
Numa dropped her prey and took the treat from my…
“Night, night. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Daddy always said that. As if they would. Bed bugs were her friends! At least, she supposed they were bed bugs, she didn’t really know what bed bugs looked like. She had asked Daddy once, and he just laughed, which just went to show what grown-ups knew. She called them bed bugs anyway. They lived in the corner, by the wardrobe.
Really she ought to call them ‘bedroom bugs,’ but it didn’t sound right. Anyway, since the baby one had started sitting on the bed, bed bugs was nearly right. The others…
“Can’t you get a real job, like seducing hapless billionaires?” said her father over speakerphone.
“This is a real job.” Kaylee continued to flick through her feed, acrylic nails clacking against the screen.
“Kay. You come from a long line of respected succubi — ‘advertising’ is below you. By the time I was twenty, I was already seducing your mother.”
“Okay, boomer.” She lined up her next post, a shot of her gazing into direct sunlight, pouting. “#blessed”, she typed. “#cute.”
A thump sounded in the hallway of something landing on the carpet beneath the letterbox.
“Gotta go, Dad.” She…
Everyone said the wedding was beautiful.
Peter had been relieved when Elena agreed to be married at his family’s winery in Sonoma. It was tradition to hold weddings at the estate.
“I’m not sure,” she’d said at first. “Sometimes I wonder if your family likes me.”
“Nonsense! They love you.”
“Be honest. Do they have a problem because I’m El Salvadoran?”
“My family isn’t like that. You’ll see.” His family might be a lot of things, but they weren’t racist.
The wedding was proof enough of that. His parents spared no expense. His sisters welcomed Elena with open arms, relieved…
“Wait, you really don’t see her?” I asked Maddie.
“No. I’m telling you, there’s no one there.” Maddie sounded a bit annoyed, but she was always hangry on our way home from school.
This wasn’t the first time I saw something my older sister couldn’t, though she usually went along with my make-believe. When we were little, our bedroom was filled with fairies and dragons and sparkly unicorns, which I described in painstaking detail so she’d see them in her mind’s eye. Maddie was a wonderful artist, and brought my imagination to the real world through her pencils and watercolors.
Witch Tentia propped her broomstick beside the cottage and rapped knobby knuckles against the door. A week had passed since Hag Heddy attended a magic meeting, a sure sign something was wrong.
Swallowed Glue Brew, Tentia guessed when Heddy didn’t answer the door. Hag Heddy was fond of potion experimentation, but she was less of a master draughter and more of an amateur mixer. Many of her tonics ended up on the verge of demonic.
Whatever the cause of the hag’s disappearance, Tentia needed to get inside the cottage and unmuddle the mess. Heddy’s magic might be less hocus and…
Grace assumed the summoning circle was meant for a demon. Her friends procured the spellbook, written in a language they couldn’t read. They arranged the candles in a pentagram, had cut their palms, letting their blood drip into flames that smelled of Christmas pine and sweet vanilla. Carly’s mom had a thing for Yankee Candle. The attic space filled with the aroma, not the brimstone and char Grace assumed should follow.
Grace sat at one of the pentagram’s tips, her four friends filling the others. She wasn’t particularly excited about the prospect of Baphomet erupting from the floor, but she…
“So you’re telling me my wife didn’t stop by yesterday?”
“Yes, why is that so hard to believe?” I was lying again, but I was ordinarily good at it. Why did he seem so incredulous and angry today?
“Because,” Gary explained, “I already checked the security footage from the parking lot and saw her car was here for an hour.”
Alright, that explained a lot. Even before I’d started sleeping with his wife, Annie, I hadn’t gotten along well with Gary. It probably had to do with why I began sleeping with her, actually. I certainly wished I had considered…
Rule One in life: never trust a seedy guy in a seedy bar. Especially when the product he sells can be turned on and off but gives you a lap dance and walks home with you. The accompanying cloak came in handy, though.
My girlfriend, Chelsea, and I had argued again when she returned home from work. Typical First Relationship Crisis/Meltdown: commitment, compatibility, kids, settling down. It wouldn’t be the last I’d hear of it either.
I waited until Chelsea fell asleep before I went down to the basement. Amongst all the dilapidated boxes, obsolete electrical appliances, old bikes, and…
Norman’s sitting on his couch in the dark, watching the Man U game through his smart eyes, when Marion clops past his apartment; he knows the sound of her favorite boots. As she enters her place next door, Norman manipulates the control nubs under his temples and hacks into Marion’s smart eyes.
The game switches to her apartment, the mirror of his. She bolts the door, hangs her jacket and bag in the coat closet, and goes into the kitchen. It’s Tuesday, so spaghetti. She fills a pot with not enough water and no salt, then sets it to boil.
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