by Megan Arkenberg
read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
First published in Niteblade Magazine #27 in March of 2014
Today is your fourteenth birthday, and your godfather is coming to visit. You know because your mother is wearing a dress, a frilly lime-colored affair that certain magazine editors would refer to as a “confection,” and attempting to bake a pie. The tiny counter overflows with paper sacks of flower and plastic sacks of sugar and plates stacked high with slices of golden delicious, all interspersed with photocopies of a neighbor’s cookbook. Your mother is not much of a baker, but then again, your godfather is not much of a diner—in fact, you have never seen him eat.
His pale gray car pulls into your driveway an hour after you wake up. In your ignorance of motor vehicles, you want to call it sleek, and it is, compared to the rusting scarlet pickup your mother relies on for her infrequent trips to town for groceries and postage. But in fact, your godfather’s car is almost absurdly ornamented, glimmering with silver around the wheels and the bluish windows. When your godfather parks in front of your low porch, he waits a moment for the clouds of pink dust to settle before he steps out, lean and trim as a cat in his long black coat, wielding, rather than leaning on, a long ivory cane.
Click here to continue reading.
Megan Arkenberg’s work has appeared in over fifty magazines and anthologies, including Lightspeed, Asimov’s, Shimmer, and Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year. She has edited the fantasy e-zine Mirror Dance since 2008 and was recently the nonfiction editor for Queers Destroy Horror!, a special issue of Nightmare Magazine. She currently lives in Northern California, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in English literature.