Teaching a Sociopath to Cry

Think about how you’re made of water. Think about the moon and tides and about gravity’s long attraction. Think about that water you’re made of being sung to the surface. Think about it being pulled to the lower portion of your eyes in a tide of emotion.

Don’t think about your eyes getting wet and shiny. You’re not a puppy dog on a sympathy card. You’re not a cartoon rabbit. You’re not a statuette bookend. You’re not your older sister.

You’re a person. You’re a human.

As far as anybody knows.

The Salt Line (Excerpt)

Chapter One

The burn was the first rite of passage. The brochures had warned them about this much.

It was Day 1 of the three-week training camp, 6:00 a.m. sharp, and Edie sat with Jesse on the gymnasium floor among a circle of sleep-slurred bodies, all of them clad in the regulation black athletic suit, their names piped across their hearts in silver-threaded cursive.

Aletheia (Excerpt)

Chapter 1

When old man Zabriskie got sick and privately offered his manor house, including its very own island, to the first man who would shoot him in the head, it was Frankie Harpur who stepped up to the plate. Frankie Harpur—shell-shocked war veteran one minute, Lord of the Manor the next.

When the Lady Speaks

(Originally published in What Fates Impose.)


The first thing you need to know is this: She lies. They're pretty lies, tasting of raspberries and kaleidoscopes and promise, and she smiles when she spins her tales as if that makes it more acceptable. Others will tell you you're a fool for paying, for listening, for daring to believe a fortune teller, but you know in your heart of hearts that they're the fools because lies are often just another variation of the truth.

The truth is, her lies have nothing to do with you.


Ink and Fur

The tip of the quill scratches its way across the parchment, a sound that sets my teeth on edge.

One might think I’d be used to it by now. The black marks it leaves in its wake make no sense to me—indeed the entire book makes no sense—then again, I am a mere copyist and mine’s not to question why. Although I do.


Much to my father’s despair.

Second Chances

(Originally published in After the People Lights Have Gone  Off.)


The lab director called Maddy in right before lunch.

“It’s too soon,” he told her. “You need time to grieve.”

“Maddy blinked and studied a statuette on the second shelf behind him. It was a bowling trophy. She had never suspected Dr. Corinth of bowling. This meeting was a revelation.


(Originally published in PANK.)

There's a certain kind of man who goes for damaged girls. He does the double take when he spots me from across the room. He spies the filtered grey that clouds my gaze and he doesn't look away. A man like that is a travel magazine in a hospital waiting room. You could go anywhere, see anything, but you'd never want to waste the money. Still, he stares. He smiles lightly. My chest tingles and I want to breathe in deep.

The things I'd do if I could, but I know better.

I always run.


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