The Broken Line, 49: Snake in the Garden

Kitty. Flashes of her riding bareback, thighs gripping the horse’s glossy flanks. Her hair whipping like snakes. Her tense forearm grasping a knife, stabbing sacks of meat. I see her glance up from her drafting table, green eyes sharp, sketching with slashing strokes. Her finger jabbing at demons in her scrapbook as she lectures me. Yanking the white rose beads from my neck. My mother. A song I can’t get out of my head. Read more »

A Review of Fever Dream: A Novel, by Samanta Schweblin

Review by Lauren Colie There’s something in the water… The vacation began as many do: with warmed and glistening skin, softly-scented sunscreen wafting in the breeze and a child’s energetic romp through the yard before lunchtime. Amanda and daughter Nina settled in for a week of relaxation in a rural rental, with Amanda’s husband set […] Read more »

HEL 266, fiction by Sara Rich

Susan held the straw for the core. “You know, in the Semitic languages – Arabic, Hebrew, and Akkadian specifically – the word for tree sap is dem. It’s also the word for blood.” Read more »

The Broken Line, 48: The Other John

Even as I resist, the pieces click into place. The man’s clothes in the closet. John’s reportedly blasé attitude toward Dorothy’s affair with my father. Dr. Rolfe’s reaction every time I said Uncle John. Wanda’s shock when I mentioned the dark haired musician. My lover. The one who’d dumped me on the porch for my … husband to deal with? Read more »

A Review of You’ll Know When You Get There, by Lynda E. Rucker

Aficionados of the tradition ghost story will find much to enchant them - in fact, one story, “Who Is This Who Is Coming?” is one of the best tributes to M.R. James I’ve read, at once comprehensively referential, sardonically funny, and ultimately chilling. But there is plenty more experimental and challenging work too. The question of who haunts what and how comes up again and again in the tales, with no single clear and prescriptive answer. Read more »

The Broken Line, 47: Sex Dreams and Secrets

We’re in the painting. Branson, John, and me. Both men stand naked and erect, staring down at me with flat expressions. They look impossibly tall, until I realize that I’m flat on my back, unable to move anything except my head. I look down at my naked body and see vines like manacles holding me spread eagle on the ground. One vine runs like an IV into my arm, dripping a milky white sap into my veins. Read more »

Cabinet of Wonders: Bad Juju & Good Intentions

Be careful what you wish for...but we all know that. Yet, we continue to test the waters. Dip a toe in this week for the black magic of a woman scorned, the gleeful wrath of a dark goddess and the triumphant revolt of a girl who shakes off the shackles of normal. Read more »

The Broken Line, 46: Splitting in Two

A constructed reality can be very elaborate, with its own internal logic. In your mother’s case, she became convinced that your father was a demon.” I process this information in light of my own hallucinations: the flower faces of my ancestors, the monster controlling the vines in the walls. The river of blood. Read more »

Rockport Boys, fiction by Megan Arkenberg

* Their family trees are full of beautiful men who were hanged as witches or lost at sea, and all their houses are haunted. (The Rockport Boys originally appeared in Aghast #1) IT’S HARD TO stay haunted in California, she says, taking a slow drag on her cigarette. That hungry something is in her eyes again, […] Read more »

A Review of Bone Swans, by C. S. E. Cooney

C.S.E. Cooney respins familiar fairytale yarns with a masterly hand, and has built up an impressive record during her writing career.... weaving complicated narratives and taking her time to portray a world, its customs and its inhabitants in detail. Read more »

The Passenger, fiction by Jane Flett

"By the time the train skips East Broadway and hurtles under the East River towards Brooklyn, uneasiness is beginning to catch beneath the exasperation, a low burbling panic like the sound of scuba tanks exhaling..." Read more »

A Review of The Famished Road, by Ben Okri

Ben Okri's Booker Prize-winning The Famished Road frequently has been compared to Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, a not dissimilar work. Closer scrutiny reveals the facile utility of this comparison, but readers of Márquez unfamiliar with Okri will find much to like—even love—in The Famished Road. Read more »

Animal Husbandry, fiction by Jeff Fleischer

* “Nothing about it’s right,” Herm Dublin said, smiling at his friends while still regarding the animal in his arms with a sense of horror. (“Animal Husbandry” first appeared in Printer’s Row Journal) AT AROUND TWO in the afternoon, on an otherwise unimportant Tuesday in June, Herm Dublin’s prize heifer gave birth. It happened the way […] Read more »

The Broken Line, Chapter 44: Face the Truth

(Missed the last chapter? Read 43: Molesting Vines) “WELL, THIS IS just peachy.” I blink in the light, unsure where I am. I was running through the woods along the edge of a river, water rushing over stones, air fragrant with water and pine. Now my whole body aches. Did I fall? My eyes adjust […] Read more »