The Maid

When I don my maid uniform – not the frumpy Downton Abbey style or even the Playboy cliché, but the blinding white starched dress shirt and the slim-fit black pencil skirt made from stretchy fabric for easy bending – I am whole. Once I’m dressed for my work day, I feel more confident, like I know just what to say and do. At least most of the time. And once I take off my uniform at the end of the day I feel naked, unprotected, undone.The truth is, I often have trouble with social situations. It’s as if everyone is … Continue reading The Maid

Winter Romances: Wrapped Up In You

He still wasn’t sure if Jace – if any of the Farrells – understood what family felt like for Will. Before they’d moved in next door and been effortlessly absorbed into their new neighbors’ lives, Will and his mom had had no one but each other for 10 fucking years. They’d struggled alone. They’d suffered alone. They’d survived his father alone.And then they’d met Patricia Farrell and her daughter Danielle, and all of Danielle’s children.And when they were hungry, Danielle had come round with extra food they’d happened to have cooked.And when Patricia saw Will walking himself home from school … Continue reading Winter Romances: Wrapped Up In You

My Heart is a Chainsaw

But what she always finds herself watching instead of the crowd that night is Sherriff Hardy, coming up out of the shallows with her in his arms, giving her all the body heat he has to give, his 61-year-old jowls quivering with each bellow he lets out about how “This girl is god-damn well not going to die”, not on his watch.In slashers, the local cops are always useless. It’s a hard and fast rule of the genre. Sheriff Hardy not sticking to that is just one more nail in the coffin of Jade’s dreams. By now that coffin’s pretty … Continue reading My Heart is a Chainsaw

Thanksgiving Read: The Prophets

Samuel let go. “Well, since we up, we might as well…” he gestured at the plantation broadly.Isaiah took Samuel’s hand again and kissed it.“Not in the light,” Samuel said with a frown.Isaiah shook his head. “There’s no bottom below bottom.”Samuel sighed, handed Isaiah the broom, and walked outside into the morning, onto which a humid sky was descending. “Don’t feel like doing this.”What?” Isaiah asked, following behind him.“This.” Samuel pointed outward at everything around them.“We gotta do it,” Isaiah replied.Samuel shook his head. “We ain’t gotta do shit.”“So you risk whoopin’, then? You forget we ain’t even gotta do this … Continue reading Thanksgiving Read: The Prophets

Top 10 Books by POC to Read If You Love American History

This week’s prompt from That Artsy Reader Girl is an open-ended one, and with Thanksgiving coming up, I thought I’d focus on American History. It’s pretty easy to find books on American history written by white authors with a European immigrant focus. Instead I’ve pulled together a list of books written by authors of color. Not all these books are historical fiction, but all of them offer an under-represented perspective on American history. I hope you find something that interests you here! 1. When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen This is a horror novel set in the modern day … Continue reading Top 10 Books by POC to Read If You Love American History

She Who Became the Sun

She dodged inside panting and threw herself down at an empty table beside the nearest novice. A bowl was laid before her. She lunged at it. It was the best food she had ever eaten. She thought she couldn’t get enough: chewy barley and sour mustard grains and radish stewed in sweet fermented bean paste. Every bite was a revelation. No sooner had she finished than the serving monk poured water into her bowl. Following the other novices, Chu gulped the water and wiped the bowl out with the hem of her robe. The monk came around again to take … Continue reading She Who Became the Sun

When the Reckoning Comes

They moved through the underbrush, scratch the sores that formed from the insects that bit their skin. Ever cautious of rattlesnakes hidden in the grass. Down to the river they went. Seeing the sprawling willow tree with its broken bow pointing to their deliverance, they followed the trail to the forest. Soon it would clear, showing a path into the water. They were told the water would save them. It would wash away their sins, cleanse their souls, and they waded into the water. Waiting for their brothers and sisters who would steal them away to their new home.Their lives … Continue reading When the Reckoning Comes

Allegedly

“So, Mary,” Ms. Carmen asked in a dead voice during my first week in the group home, fiddling with her rosary like a candy necklace. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”At first, this gave me hope. No one had asked me what I really wanted to do in years, but i knew the answer: I wanted to be a teacher. When I was little, I used to line my toys up in front of an imaginary chalkboard and give reading lessons. I’d even sit Alyssa on my lap and teach her the ABCs. Momma would say … Continue reading Allegedly

White Smoke

Piper is at the top of the staircase in her pink pajamas, glaring down at me, face hidden in the shadows. “Shit, Piper! What are you doing?!”She stands there for several beats in silence. Just staring motionless. I take a step toward her and a large shadow behind her seems to shift. My body stiffens. “Piper?”A long, impossible noise echoes out of her mouth, like crumbling metal. Ear-piercing and terrifying. Then she leaps, floating through the air, landing in a perch on my chest, slamming me into the front door. My head bangs against the wood and I briefly see … Continue reading White Smoke

Night of the Mannequins

Manny had to be giant by now. And, in his dim, slow-thinking way, he still had the four of us in mind. Four, because he didn’t have to think about Shanna anymore. For all I knew, he was even like Frankenstein’s monster, right? Maybe he hadn’t killed Shanna on purpose. Had just been trying to, I don’t know, hug her. Maybe he’d just been so happy to see her again after all these years, but we were so fragile compared to a monster like him. He doesn’t know his own strength. He just knows he’s lonely, and probably afraid. And … Continue reading Night of the Mannequins