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Short Fiction

“Silver Necklace, Golden Ring”

“He takes them for his servants, and never after are they seen again.” That was how the tale used to end, told by grannies at the fire, by performers at the fair. This story traveled a very odd path. It started out with me wanting to write a story based on the Russian folktale about […]

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“At the Heart of Each Pearl Lies a Grain of Sand”

During the reign of the famed Caliph Harun al-Rashid, the world was a different and more wondrous place. My folklore-based tales are usually inspired by me finding an odd, unexplained crack in the narrative. In this case, it’s a story from the Thousand and One Nights that gives backstory for two of the three sisters […]

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“Oh, My Cursed Daughter”

Oh, my darling daughter. You cannot trust him; you cannot trust them. You cannot ever trust them. It’s rare for me to completely rewrite a story. Revise, yes — sometimes fairly substantially — but only a handful of times have I taken an entirely new run at a concept. Most of the time when it […]

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“The Me of Perfect Sight”

The hall of the Abzu-temple was impossibly vast, and impossibly full. On shelves to either side, on tables down the center, stood the holy me: the decrees of Anu, the supreme god of the land between the rivers, which made all things of the world come into being. As you may have noticed, this is […]

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“Two for the Path”

The proverbial “message in a bottle” is supposed to wash up on a seashore. The one I receive comes by river instead — by river and by ally — and both of those are strokes of luck. I don’t recall what made this idea wander into my head, but I know it happened ages ago, […]

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“Then Bide You There”

That afternoon there had been a fair, with jugglers and dancing and the storyteller plying her trade. When night fell the fair did not end, but the storyteller was tired, and the blacksmith insisted on walking her home. This might be the closest I’ve come to writing hatefic. It’s inspired by the folksong “The Two […]

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“Guidelines for Using the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library”

1. Unlike when visiting Fairyland, you need not worry about the perils of eating or drinking while inside the library. It’s always an extra delight when you manage to sell a piece you feared might be unsellable. This piece of flash fiction, in listicle format, is basically my love letter to the main library at […]

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“Never to Behold Again”

Beauty is a consumable thing. I owe thanks to the author Isabel Yap for this flash story. Her collection Never Have I Ever introduced me to the tradition of binukot — and while this flash piece isn’t actually about that tradition as practiced in the real world, reading up on it gave me the idea […]

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“This Living Hand”

The tree was right where the old poet said it would be. This was one of the first pieces of Onyx Court short fiction I had a concept for, but it took me over a decade to write. The reason for that was research: I needed to know more about the English Romantic poets, but […]

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