I met Gordy on my first day in junior crèche. I sat on my own in the cafeteria, aimlessly pushing food around, when a sturdily built boy with a shock of unruly hair sat opposite me, grinned, and introduced himself.
Seok Kim cursed the mountain as she walked. The mouse deer that ducked away from her stumbling gait wasn’t spared her wrath. As she loudly wished for a thousand fleas to infest its white-striped throat, someone stifled a laugh.
Summer is when we spend our days in the flooded rice fields, the fish tickling our ankles. Hours of planting stretching out like a bamboo stem in the wind. But there were never snakes before.
“Will you give your name this year?” Isheya’t asks. You shake your head, adjusting the woven straw pack on your shoulders and squinting out ahead into the red blaze of the sunrise. “Not planning on it. But ask me again in another hour.”
Agent Heartbreak and the Misery Muse meet cute on a lonely-hearts cruise.
First thing you ought to know is just because the Army says my brother is dead doesn’t mean he is. I’m counting on them being right about the gravesite and the body being intact-ish. Otherwise, Casey could be slowly suffocating in an entirely different cemetery. Maybe even buried back in Afghanistan. In which case my cousin Versal and I will be desecrating graves for nothing.
If I allowed color anywhere in my world it would have been in this sliver of a space—a galley kitchen in a tiny one-bedroom apartment full of beige carpet, white walls and white banker boxes. Perhaps it would have been safe to let the Honeycrisp apples tucked in the refrigerator crisper sit on the kitchen counter cradled in a sunlight yellow bowl.
“Pay particular attention to the coffee service,” I said, pausing to hold my breath as my dress zipped itself. That had been a very tricky spell to get right. “We have the seating plan for the dinner, but who knows where they’ll sit in the drawing room. Keep an eye out for the coat-fetching spell as well. I reinforced it yesterday but I can’t be sure how it will stand up to this many guests.”
Warm breath tickled his nose, a rumbling carpet pressed against his mouth, and Martin tasted stale fur and icicles.
It wasn’t simple misfortune that the thirteenth daughter in the line came to be called Gretel.