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The Bear Wife – Catherine George

The bear wife took the cub to mommy and me yoga. She didn’t look much like a bear without her fur, but somehow the other mothers seemed to sense it; when she came in carrying the cub they shifted away, drifting on their yoga mats closer to the windows, to each other. She was left alone in the middle like a stone dropped into a lake, each woman a wave rippling outward. In tree pose she was a lightning-struck pine at the center of a clearing.

It must be something primal, she thought, lifting the cub up in a sun salutation. A smell, maybe, or a musk that hadn’t gone away when the fur came off (worried now, she sniffed at her armpit as she twisted into warrior pose, but she smelled nothing but the plastic roses of her deodorant). Anyway, she didn’t blame them for staying away. The bear was still in there, just below the skin; if any of them threatened the cub she’d tear the heart from their chest.

As the mothers eased into downward dog — a ring of A-frame cabins, each sheltering a baby — the weathered blonde yoga teacher approached her mat and placed a gentle hand on the bear wife’s back, correcting her posture. “Like this,” she said. “Keep your back flat.” The hand pulled away, a bird taking flight, then settled again, on the hunch of her neck. “Focus on pulling the shoulder blades together behind you.”

The bear wife didn’t bother to tell her the hunch would never go away. No amount of focusing on her shoulder blades would remove the grizzly in her.

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The Bear Wife – Catherine George
The bear wife took the cub to mommy and me yoga. She didn’t look much like a bear without her fur, but somehow the other mothers seemed to sense it; when she came in carrying the cub they shifted away, drifting on their yoga mats closer to the windows, to each other. She was left alone in the middle like a stone dropped into a lake, each woman a wave rippling outward. In tree pose she …
Read it "The Bear Wife – Catherine George"
The Soul Farmer’s Daughters – Kyle Kirrin
Thirteen souls flit about in mason jars on the mantle above my workbench. They’re bright—luminescent, even—but they’re not potent enough for the Duke. I glance at the ghostly light flickering within Vella’s abdomen, then pull another stool up next to mine. “Come, sit. I’ve got a surprise for you.” She joins me. “But isn’t—” “He’s still a little ways out. We’ve got time.” Seventeen minutes to be exact, I think, but never say. “Close your …
Read it "The Soul Farmer’s Daughters – Kyle Kirrin"
The Lightkeeper’s Wife – Amelia Dee Mueller
The first time Elsie Frasier tried to murder her husband, the other women of Auskerry called it a pretty meager attempt. Some insisted it might even have been an accident. He had fallen down the last flight of stairs in the couple’s lighthouse and only fractured the smaller bone in his arm. The next time, when he fell from his ladder while painting the kitchen cupboards, was nearly two years later, much too long when …
Read it "The Lightkeeper’s Wife – Amelia Dee Mueller"
Snapped Dry, Scraped Clean – Setsu Uzumé
Once the corpse is ready to return to the desert, it falls to me to gather her memories. The house where they fester has good bones, but its guts are in turmoil. A stain that looks like bile has seeped through the floor. That means many hours taking up the boards and hauling them to the firehouse. Hours of exposure. Any strong back can haul for the death carts, but carters can’t do their work …
Read it "Snapped Dry, Scraped Clean – Setsu Uzumé"

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