Of Hair and Beanstalks – William Condon

25 December, being the Birth-day of Isaac Newton, Physicist: Madam, Your stepdaughter has arrived and been installed in the tower chamber, per your instructions. This has already led to the predicted difficulties, as my dinosaurian bulk cannot fit within the narrow tower. When she refused to descend for supper this evening, I was reduced to flying outside her window and poking my face in. I found her combing her long hair, which raises my second …

Graveyard – Arlen Feldman

The crew had already started calling it the graveyard. If it was a graveyard, it would be hard to choose a bleaker site for it, on a planet pretty much made up of bleak sites. I walked as close as I dared to the edge of the cliff, and looked down over a thousand meters of sharp gray crags spreading out all around under a dark, thunderous sky. I felt the wind tugging at me, …

Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, and I Love You – L’Erin Ogle

The cave sits in a hillside, with its mouth yawed wide open. It is the kind of cave suited for raising the dead. Shadows move across dark spaces as the witch drags the shattered spines of small trees across the entrance. She stacks them high, leaving a small space to wedge herself through. Soon a fire is lit, its dull glow chasing away the lingering shadows. The fire flickers, and smoke curls in ribbons towards …

When the Last Friend is Gone – Tris Matthews

Butler found Pebbles dead in the morning. Each day, the moment Butler became active at 6 a.m. sharp, the little old dog’s stumpy legs would carry her over to seat herself royally in front of the enormous and rusty Cadillac-themed refrigerator to watch. Butler would ruffle the flops and folds of skin on the top of her head before serving up her breakfast and then turning to other chores. Today, Pebbles didn’t come. Butler washed …

A House on the Volga – Filip Wiltgren

The kalanchoes are blooming, a dusting of tiny pink flowers on dark jade leaves. “Please, grandmama, hurry up,” says Darius, voice tiny, his heart carried on the radio from the ship. He is a good boy, caring for his grandmother. His heart was in his house, but he is grown, a young man, and the house is no more. It is good that he leave. The kalanchoe spins in my hands, as I cover it …

The Little G-d of Łódź – Evan Marcroft

On September 6, 1939, a Rabbi and Kabbalist named Yitzchok Falk sets fire to the Great Synagogue of Łódź. “The Germans will burn it anyway,” he tells his apprentice they drag a body out of the trunk of his car. “Let it burn without victims, and for a good reason.” The boy, Max, who holds the feet, only nods. They carry the body in and lay it out in the prayer hall. It is a …