Size / / /

Click here for the podcast, or listen to it below:


     A lifter of veils. A concocter of remedies. A girl that used to look like me.
     My mother has no secrets, keeps none—not of flesh, not of blood, not of hands around her neck.

     The birth date on his papers does not match the day he was born. My father is fifty-five and four ghost days. He comes and goes like the tide. His greatest fear, that we don't love him enough.

     Gone. A womb, a wound, a tomb.

     I was born with no sisters. I made my own out of wax and rope and knife. She looks like a fox.
     My sister's ghost walks in my shoes every night, pacing around the room, leaving candledrip behind.

     The ghosts of my grandfathers are Russian tobacco merchants with pianist mothers called Alexandra. They speak Turkish and Russian and Pontic Greek. The ghosts are wrestlers, haunting the borderlands between knowing who you are and not.
     Grandfathers' ghosts have little balloons in their hearts. At night, they grasp my arm and try to speak, but can't.

     Neither man nor woman, and both. Ask me not what is a man, but when. Ask not what is a woman, but when, and how, and for whom.

     The first waterfall I saw was haunted by foxes. Their ghosts briefly abandoned the furriers' stalls lining the edges of the cliff from which the water fell, and joined me behind the curtain of water.
     There is this story about a great revolutionary in Greece who bid his comrades farewell with these words: "We will meet again at the furrier's stall."
     The revolutionary was referencing an old folk tale about a fox who, having raised her young so that they could take care of themselves, finally sent them away.
     "When shall we meet again?" the little ones asked their mother fox.
     "At the furrier's stall," the mother fox said.
     I stood behind the waterfall, watching the vulpine ghosts fade in and out of view. I thought I heard Father crying then—a dry sobbing, like a cough—saying over and over,
     "They don't love me. They don't love me."

     Words in your mouth don't mean what I thought they meant. I have compiled this dictionary of what little truth I could decipher:
     Good (adj.) morning (n.): I love you.
     Uncle, the (n.): Your menses.
     He (pron.): The man whose name I shall not speak.
     Wolf, the (n.): He.
     Then (adv.): When you were thirteen and old, so old already.

     Ghost rail tracks line my arms. On them, He comes and goes like the midnight train.

     I dance to the tune of three ghost organs that divide me into equal parts. One in the head, one in the chest, one between the legs.

     This is me, buried under swaths of flesh. Down here, I dance invisibly. Father taught me all the steps.
     Underneath my skin, I come and go.

     At midnight, the TV is blaring mystical truth, dubbed dreams about self-healing women and flying slugs. I find your ghost messages hidden in ads and infomercials, tucked away in the empty space between pixels. Behind broadcast mouths and eyes and wavy hair, I hear you say:
     "The wolves dance in purple moonlight. Will you haunt me? Will you? Will you haunt me will you haunt me now will you?"
     "Don't believe what the foxes say. Mother foxes are all liars. You may find me, but we will never meet again."
     "Good morning. Listen to the music."

Natalia Theodoridou is a media and cultural studies scholar, the winner of the 2018 World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction, and a Clarion West graduate (class of 2018). Natalia's stories have appeared in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Uncanny, Nightmare, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and elsewhere. Rent-a-Vice, Natalia’s first interactive novel for Choice of Games, was a finalist for the inaugural Nebula Award for Game Writing. For more, visit Natalia's website or follow @natalia_theodor on Twitter.
Current Issue
7 Oct 2019

Aboard the ghost ship Nine Lives there are the living, the dead, and a great many cats.
By: Charles Payseur
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Charles Payseur's “The Sloppy Mathematics of Half-Ghosts.”
the myriad flavours of ancient childhoods burst on our tongues in virtual experience
By: Davian Aw
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Davian Aw's “Those Who Tell the Stories.”
Issue 30 Sep 2019
Podcast: High Hopes 
By: Kali de los Santos
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Podcast: Progression 
By: Heitor Zen
Podcast read by: Julia Quandt
Podcast: Spider 
By: Sérgio Motta
Podcast read by: Sérgio Motta
Podcast: Replacement 
By: Isa Prospero
Podcast read by: Solaine Chioro
Monday: 3% 
Issue 23 Sep 2019
By: August Huerta
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 16 Sep 2019
By: Marie Brennan
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Hester J. Rook
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Hester J. Rook
Issue 9 Sep 2019
By: Shiv Ramdas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Sarah Shirley
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
31 Aug 2019
Brazil Special Issue call for fiction submissions!
Issue 26 Aug 2019
By: Cynthia So
Podcast read by: Cynthia So
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 19 Aug 2019
By: S. R. Mandel
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 12 Aug 2019
By: Niyah Morris
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Dante Luiz
Art by: Em Allen
By: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Rasha Abdulhadi
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 5 Aug 2019
By: Aisha Phoenix
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Alexandra Seidel
Podcast read by: Alexandra Seidel
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
31 Jul 2019
We're all so very excited to put your funds and good faith to use, providing a platform for voices⁠ new and international, creative and resisting.
Load More
%d bloggers like this: