The art of deer stalking
For the proper adherence to ritual we had shaved our hair ultra-close, and smeared on a square of silver zinc that morning. We shone in the pale light, our glittering scalps catching the last rays of sun. Back then, he didn’t permit us to cover our heads with scarves or hats in case it was discovered that we had secretly been growing our hair. Having long hair was a sign of disobedience, a way for us to integrate more easily if we managed to escape.
the sky became the perfect colour and back again
‘The Sky Became the Perfect Colour and Back Again’ was published in the ‘Liminal Spaces’ series of Burning House Press.
Grace, he said, flickering her name. Grace, a staticky word chopped into the bottom of the sea. Soft, beery slither ran down her face from where he spat. The water came in waves and washed gold summer through her bones. He was above her again, his hair deep silk on her face. His voice was in and out below the waves. His tongue loose, wet, electric with hurt. A burned hum shuttered from his lips.
A ballgown cuts a swerve in the air, whip-sharp and encrusted. One rail is unscathed. He removes armfuls of clothing. He layers the structure with silk blouses, cotton summerdresses, anything light and sheer. The entrance is garlanded in lace panties, in black hose, in glossy hold ups. Soft through the fabric, the televisions hum white.
'Ceremony' was commissioned and published by the Louisville University literary journal Miracle Monocle .
When the peach gleam of sunrise peeled the night back, Melissa left. She kept on her boots and gloves and thick socks all the time, even while she rested beneath the kitchen table overnight. Melissa had a good system for finding twigs. She could smell the freshness even through the diesel sky. When she came back, she would watch Anna grind them down into flour, adding a handful of cinnamon or other flavoursome barks. Late in the afternoon, when the flour had soaked and sprouted, Anna mixed it into pattycakes and baked them over the stove, making sure not to reduce them to ash.
I crawl until I come to a clearing in the forest. There are one hundred women in high heeled shoes. I lick the shoes clean of mulch as I squelch forward on my front. I am naked as a glowworm. They take the foliage to my body until I am fully open. They find the stars inside me.
THE DEATH BELL
'The Death Bell’ was anthologised in The New Gothic (Stone Skin Press, 2014)
This is good. Sarah said, genuinely impressed by the blood pudding; she loved the way that the black fat had cracked under the grill and oozed just a little. The delicate shards of bonemeal that gave it grit.
You’re such a carnivore Sarah, Ryan teased, flirted maybe. She let him, it wasn’t bad this menu. He wasn’t such a sap after all.
Save some room for dessert, the waitress, who was constantly at their table, said. It’s a little bit special. She poured miniscule amounts of wine into their green tumblers, water into the blue ones. Sarah giggled. It was all so childish and pleasurable, she just let herself relax.
It really is special, the dessert. They put gold in it.
PAINFUL HARD ECTOPLASM
'Painful Hard Ectoplasm' was published in Murmurations: An Anthology of Uncanny Stories about Birds in 2011. This story follows the protagonist, Hart, as he attempts to induce supernatural phenomena, sets fires, and watches Hitchock's The Birds.
Nancy had a little tear running down her face but she said nothing and lay down in the straw as the chickens pecked all around her. Hart took one of the pictures out of his pocket and looked at the woman in the white dress. He thought it looked quite easy to get Nancy’s legs to the same kind of angles and bent down slowly to her. Hart closed his dirty fingers around Nancy’s ankle, just above the frill lace on her socks. Slowly he pulled the sock off and Nancy giggled. He pulled the other one off and tickled her feet. At last she seemed to be relaxing. Her hot little feet felt good in Hart’s hand and he held them for just a little while. Then Nancy kicked, scattering straw and dislodging Hart’s hands.
'Miss America' was published in Succour's Fantasies issue in 2009.
Most of the others were more straightforward in their desires. If she’d put that black silk dress on a hundred times she wouldn’t be surprised. Heavily made up and her hair twisted into yellow barettes she instantly became the black dahlia, a true American sweetheart. It was somehow more sinister than even the beauty pageant get-up. Dead, passive and beautiful, she looked like a doll.
Advertising through discreet channels, Lorna soon had the kind of clients she was used to and set up shop again in her little London flat this time claiming to have the very trunk that Violette Kaye had been discovered in, chopped into pieces. for