The year feels like a bit of a blur in many ways; it’s hard to believe it’s almost over. Regardless, in 2023, I did manage to publish five short stories, eligible in the short story/short fiction category for all the usual awards. Take a look if you’re so inclined, and thank you if you do!
Back then, the Dark House was at once vastly different and undeniably the same. It was smaller, scarcely more than a single-room shack. At the same time, the seams were visible, the place where the addition would be grafted on to grow the house into the one Benson had obsessively photographed. The outline of the later house was already there to my eye, visible long before it had ever been conceived. The house in 1939 was the skull, and the extension Benson had built was the skin around it.
Published at Tor.com in March 2023
Hunger and sorrow, that’s what the shoes are, and they wake echoes of revulsion and desire as Nessa looks at them. Red as crushed berries and good wine, pomegranate hearts and winter-ripe plums. The shoes are the key to everything. If she puts them on, she will dance without pain. She will push herself farther than she ever could otherwise, all the way to an audience with the prince, to a spot in the Royal Company, to fortune and fame.
Published in Twice Cursed in April 2023
The boy on the bed looks like someone carried him high into the air and dropped him a very long way down. Sunlight and shadow dissect him, a magician’s trick separating him into boxes. See his limbs (bent the wrong way) over here; see his neck (never mind the angle) over there; look at his eyes (wide open in surprise) over there. Blink once to let us know you’re okay.
Published in The Other Side of Never in May 2023
The hairs along his arm prickle. He sweeps his hand back and forth. No teeth close, no hand grabs his own to pull him into the dark. His fingers meet a shape, a book. He pulls it free and rolls onto his back. A lurid yellow cover so faded by the touch of countless finger that it takes Desmond a moment to register the image of a skull surrounded with sharp rays of light. Or maybe it’s a crown. Craquelure – a fancy word for the cheap paper fracturing with age. He likes the way it sounds, sloshing the word from one side to side in his brain.
Published in What Draws Us Near in May 2023
You die in the stupidest way possible, slipping off a ladder while scooping leaves out of the gutter, the wet, mulchy scent of them the last thing you ever smell. You land just wrong, and as you do, you imagine your mother—smoke trailing from the cigarette wedged between the first and second fingers of her left hand, no words, just the look of perpetual disappointment she had for you ever since you turned ten years old, like everything about you and every choice you made from that point on would always and forever be wrong.
Published in The Deadlands in July 2023
It had been a joke when he suggested it – the Technosopher’s Ball, a chance for them to gather inside the Realm of the Stars before it opened to the public and celebrate a job well done. Hank had been picturing a few beers, some snacks, nothing fancy. Giving it such a lofty title struck him as funny, but somehow the rest of the team had taken the idea and run with it. From there, things had snowballed – they should at least have wine along with the beer and dress up a bit and why not make it a masquerade even? After all, they’d designed an entire universe for OmniPark’s guests to enjoy; when would they ever get a chance like this again?
Published in Back 2 Omni Park in December 2023