Spirit Theft

Tacánecy tenses as she waits to begin her next count.  The lightning is closer now, and she readies herself for a silent and measured five.  She prays her sleeping husband will not hear the sound she is about to make. Despite herself, she jumps when a piercing flash...

Shasta’s Monsters

“Floor ‘Z,’ please.” The school elevator was packed, but no one spoke. I noticed several kids glancing at me in the reflection from the brass doors. RING! “Excuse me,” I said, squeezing out into the hall. I was the only one. The doors closed and the elevator resumed...

The Life of Umberto Cavallo and Other Matters

Berto’s earliest memory was not of a vision but a smell. It came from under the door of the room that he was forbidden to enter. He’d been playing a game with sticks and pebbles on the floor – war, against the Austrians – while his mother simultaneously nursed the...

Wooden Nickels

“That boat’s awfully far out.” We were on the beach, playing one of our games (getting your fir cones into the opposing team’s basket). One of the other boys had stopped and stretched out a scrawny arm to indicate a spot somewhere near the horizon. Shielding our eyes...

Someone Like Me

I was eight when Perry Cole moved into Blacksburg. She was special ed. She was tall with string for hair, and no one even saw her. All the special ed kids were invisible, except when they weren’t and we’d snicker and watch our boys toss paper at them, make kissing...