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“What is a Monster?”
you ask Mother.
She wraps you in teeth, tendrils,
and silence.

“Am I a Monster?”
you ask Mother,
carrion curdling
in the gaps between fingertips and fingernails.
You are old enough now to lick them clean yourself.

She is quiet
as her head probes the corpse-cave,
questing, searching.
Her scalp is bald,
lined with wrinkles like runnels.
Blood and viscera
are not what clog her ears
like honey,
like sweetened hope.

On her pyre
your tears, heavy with age,
dissolve her makeup.
Knife-rips, bullet-bites
older than your memory
smile under your grief.
“What are these?”
you ask no-one.
“Who gave her these?”
you wonder
as flames buoy her away.

Sharang Biswas is a writer, artist, and award-winning game designer. His nonfiction writing has appeared in publications such as Dicebreaker and Eurogamer, while his fiction has been published by or is forthcoming in Fantasy Magazine, Lightspeed Magazine, Sub-Q Magazine, Baffling Magazine, and Neon Hemlock Press. He is the co-editor of Honey & Hot Wax: An Anthology of Erotic Art Games (Pelgrane Press) and Strange Lusts / Strange Loves: An Anthology of Erotic Interactive Fiction (Strange Horizons). You can find Sharang on Twitter as @SharangBiswas, or visit his website
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4 Dec 2023

“Ask me something only I would know.” You say this to your wife because you know you’re human. You can feel it in the familiar ache in your back, and the fear writhing in your guts. You feel it in the cold seeping into your bare feet from the kitchen floor. You know you’re real because you remember.
now, there is the shape...humanoid, but not / necessarily human
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