Take Me Home

The first hour after the school day ended was my favorite. Both of my parents worked so I’d have the whole house to myself to watch cartoons, sneak snacks, and put off homework. I raced home on my bike along the same route every day. Schoolyard, up Greeden, over to Maplewood, down Magnolia, and then... Continue Reading →

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Spider Girl

When my daughter was young, she liked to make up silly rules for our household. On Wednesday evenings, we all wore a sock on our right foot, but nothing on our left; if someone sneezed, the only polite response was “Godzilla nights”; if you dropped something you were carrying, you had to leave it on... Continue Reading →

Bad Feeling

Nursing is hard work for too little pay. You never feel it more keenly than when you’re getting off a double shift in the middle of the night. All the smells cling to the inside of your nose, you’re convinced you didn’t scrub your hands well enough to really wash off that last hour, and... Continue Reading →

Forever Yours

It was a vacation of firsts. My first time on a plane, my first time out of the US (yes, Canada still counts!), my first time taking a ferry. My husband kept insisting it wasn’t a big deal, that we were just visiting his parents, but I might as well have found the wardrobe to... Continue Reading →

Knock Knock

Calum gave me the Alexa. He thought it was a sweet surprise. I thought of it as another “smart” device to listen in on conversations. I had barely gotten used to using an iPhone, already three generations old by the time I’d gotten it, to help keep our long distance relationship running smoothly. I had... Continue Reading →

Last Requests

Mrs. Grady was the first to go. Then Mr. O’Toole and Mrs. Shafford. One after another, starting just after my night shift began at 10. I only knew because Bill, one of the nurses, came in with an abundance of bedding and towels. Being in the laundry room, I was usually one of the last... Continue Reading →

Just Beneath Her Skin

I’d seen a lot of unusual cases in my time as a dermatologist. The human body produces no shortage of strange and baffling conditions. Skin is no exception. When Flora Springs first sat in my office chair, however, she nor her skin seemed strange or baffling at all. She was a young woman, still in... Continue Reading →

The Bright Light Game

The bright light game was simple. All you had to do was draw a salt circle around a little homemade doll, usually nothing more than some cheap fabric stitched together in a vaguely human shape and filled with dry rice and a few strands of your hair, and recite the words of invitation. Nearby spirits,... Continue Reading →

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