“Making Us Monsters,” Uncanny
An unoriginal phrase, ‘Who the devil.’ Yet it chills me. Why are your letters coming now? Is our correspondence at the mercy of some cruel, capricious demon? I don’t subscribe to the superstitions of my father’s family, nor the piety of my mother’s, but the appearance of a letter in my coat pocket, nearly fifteen years too late? No earthly explanation does it justice.
There were rumors about Jonathan Bright. People said he had a source for genuine ambergris, for civet still scraped from the testicles of cats. He used real castoreum, they said, and hyraceum, and musk. Suspicious, animalic notes suggesting shit, cruelty, pain, and sex.
When I pick Louisa up from school, All Things Considered is on the radio, playing a round table discussion about the virus. One person believes that the disease ravaging the corn belt is a government experiment gone awry.
“Chopin’s Eyes,” Strange Horizons
Some mornings he rises and goes straight to the piano, and on these days, the power under his skin is like a great beast uncurling: one of Delacroix’s painted tigers, all long, loose muscles and shining pelt.
In the coffee shop on West Washington, the witches meet like chary cats. They do so only rarely, being sisters of a prickly sort, nitpicking and professional. They are punctilious about who pays.
“Apocalypse Walking,” Mythic Delirium
One hundred and seventy miles/From my front door to yours/And if the zombies came tomorrow/I would walk it.