Apex Magazine Contest Submission #1

My Darling Eponine,

I knew the moment I first saw you, that you had been put on this Earth expressly for me. Kindling a fire I thought had long since been extinguished. How I loved you, and hated you, for averting those beautiful eyes from my gaze. Too soon though your father took you from me, and my world grew dimmer for your absence.


Beloved, I went into every shop inquiring after you. It took rather vigorous inquiry but Ms. Tibbs, at the patisserie, eventually conceded. Her death was not intended, but such are the consequences of trying to deny fate!


Sweetheart, I must make a small confession. Your sainted father did not catch his foot in the carpet before falling down the stairs. Alas, he too tried to deny our love. I could not allow him to stand in our way; he had to be sacrificed for the sake of our destiny. Likewise, I dispatched your mother. How could she possibly have gone on without your father? I am, you see, a merciful soul.


Dear heart, that is all behind us now, and I am resolute that this could have been the only path for us. We are unencumbered by convention or intervention, free, to be with only each other for all the rest of eternity. Watching the sun crest over your pale cheek I was overcome. You never woke as I closed my hands around your neck.


I wonder cherub, was that love’s spell or laudanum.




Show me you love me….


J: I don’t believe you. You write and write and write and for what? What does it really mean when you say you love me?

D: What else do you want? I tell you everyday that you’re my whole world.

J: Exactly, you’ve told me. Meaningless words. It’s…. insulting.

D: But I live 3000 miles away from you, what more than words can we have right now? I’ve never even seen you and, still, I’m here every night all night.

J: Well, if there’s someplace you’d rather be then I guess that’s proof enough.

D: That’s not what I meant…

J: I don’t go on webcam because I am not interested in being a plaything. I thought you wanted to connect on a deeper level, but if you’re just looking for something to get you off there’s thousands of tube sites. I thought you were different, but you’ve shown me you’re not. Never speak to me again.

J has left the chat

D: No! Don’t go, I love you let me prove it?

J is offline and cannot receive messages


Continue reading “Show me you love me….”

Vacation from Purgatory


“Give me scars” she said.

“I don’t care what kind but make them indelible. “

“Not ones that’ll fade in time… ya know?”


She says it with the carelessness of a cancer patient

Light as someone who has seen the date on their toe tag Continue reading “Vacation from Purgatory”


There are the things I cannot say. Thoughts that grow in those dark parts of my mind, the places I can’t talk about. It’s almost like they come from someone else. But, they taste so very very good. Sometimes, in that liminal space between control and freedom they slip out into the world of sound, eliciting shock and hurt, but also an electric pleasure.

It’s rage, certainly, but what happens when you silence that rage for too long…. You suppress it and suppress it and eventually it just stops knocking. Stops roiling at the never ending whining and bitching and criticizing, the thousand little injustices you face everyday. Instead blooming, deadly as any nightshade, into something completely distinct living within you. There’s power in that rage, tremendous power. Only you have to be at home in the darkness to be able to use it. Sometimes, in that hedge crossing between waking and dreaming, I see her. The child of my silenced rage. I wonder what she does while I sleep.


Nothing more than shadow, first. Tinged, perhaps, with the essence of color. Not enough though to rouse anymore than the most fleeting thought; that, shadow, was- something, someone, some…what? The uncertainty though, lingers; it builds and coalesces into the tangible knowledge of no longer solitude. Metastasizing in the multitudes beyond existence. Glimpse by glimpse unbalancing the delicate equilibrium between this reality, yours, and other waiting breaths beyond the vague horizon. Degree by degree, change. Subtle as the senescence of leaves from richest green to gold to dust. Fleeting shadow takes up residence in corners darkened beyond natural intention. Resisting even the most valiant coercions of exponentially waning light. Amassing and encroaching with deliberation a blackness beyond the simply absent illumination. Until all that remains, a glimmer in the closing night. Tinged, perhaps, with the essence of color. Not enough to stir the screaming silence. Softly, something- someone- no more.


Torture how you delight me.  Perpetual the salting of wounds.  Reassurance in the confirmation of prophesies fulfilled by themselves.  These issues, unfortunately, reside in their place of origin.  Myself.  Contemptible and arrogant how I will always seek to be to you the holy three.  Inviolate, irreproachable,  adored.  How I would damn my flesh had I the ability.  How I would damn the marrow in my bones as the words on my lips.  I do not want to be loved as woman but as idea, ideal.  I want to be revered in halls hallowed by the greatness I have not yet and may never achieve.  In my personhood I am small.  I am, perhaps, unremarkable.


I know nothing but this place 
This sphere extending only half as far as my eyes can see in all directions 
Populated by nothing save myself
No cogent memory of a before to reach for 
I have no idea how long I have been here 
Or why
No idea from whence I came or what the duration of my sentence will be
This, it seems, is all I have known and all I will
I have gone to the edges of this place and looked down 
It is the same as looking up
Looking straight ahead
There is nothing
A slight opacity to space 
Apparent firmness
Lacking beyond this place
No sound of wind or echo of motion 
No sound, even, of blood coursing through my veins
Only nothing
Silence, in it’s purest form, pain
A pressing absence
In my head
I thought once to scream, identical in solitude to a whisper
A scream to shatter reality 
Ending whatever it is, that this is
Issued from the instrument of screaming, quiet
Somewhere though, there is a memory of sound 
Delicate and incomplete an idea of a place that is not this
Of color, of pain, of life
Far recessed almost beyond oblivion 
Ephemeral momentary impressions of sensation 
That, at some point, I felt
I accept that this is dying 
Or, perhaps that it is death 
A place where no longer people go to forget that they were
Interminable eternity in suspension

Time Capsule

I remember it perfectly

The first time I caught a snowflake in my eyelashes

The way each crystal refracted infinitesimally small rays of sunlight into my wonder widened eyes

I remember the stark sharpness of its many points, struck me as odd, that something so precise could occur naturally

Of course, I didn’t think in those terms, but those were the feelings I didn’t have words for

I remember it perfectly Every detail in specificity

Or, perhaps I don’t

What is a memory but an impressions momentarily reconstituted reflection

An instant of subjective experience parsed for ease of storage

With every recalling the delineation between what I dreamed it to be and what it was fades

With enough time, enough retelling, my life story will be precisely as I dreamed it

Each horror, each happiness, elevated beyond the trivialities of daily existence

I will be the Homer of my own Odyssey

Both heroine and villainess, mentor and pupil in perpetuity I exist in media res

A construct of my own imaginings

So too are you, only the most honest dream of you I can muster in any moment

Like my first snowflake with every recalling you are elevated

In the casting of my dream life even the bit players are their own particular brand of personal perfection

No ones nose is crooked by accident

Each recollection a subconscious choice

A directors editing room final cut based on an imperfect emotional impression

My first snowflake was the most perfect snowflake because that is how I choose to remember it- perfectly


They never knew how this shadow had no profile

How it seemed to be one person facing himself in that last moment

Two backs

Two elbows

Two… well…. you knows

One white space in the black of atomic destruction

It was extremely unlikely that two men of exactly the same height would be face to face in that particular moment


Years of poison rain grew barren stems to the height of the ankles of that curious shadow

Obscuring the feet, and the key to the story

Had someone preserved all that remained of those two people rendered negative space they’d have seen the solitary difference in the shadow with two backs

They would have seen how I stood on my toes so that my eyes were almost in line with yours

How you picked me up onto your feet so that the entire universe was composed solely of each others irises

Neither of us needed to see the flash

The wave of dust accompanying the incomprehensible heat and speed of the cloud

All we wanted, all we needed on the brink of apocalypse

As the horsemen themselves warmed our form with their breath

Was one last moment in each others gaze

Fitting, it is that moment which endures

Which beyond the marvel of atomic warfare confounds science

The “Manhattan Project” a footnote in the posterity of our last kiss