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  Table of contents Issue Twenty KILLER



’m going to kill her.”


“I’m going to kill her.”

He looked like a picture. It was hard to place what the illustration was. It seemed to show the potential heroism of the moment only to frame that final dot of irony. He was small for his age, thin and waif-like, one of those spring shoots whose early leaf is a green hint of the colors that will follow. He looked like a boy, but his lip was not always smooth, and he felt he was a man. His hair was thin, but rich in color, black as the dark wet sheen of his eyes.

When she heard him say he was going to kill her, she laughed.

Her laugh made him a child again. His shoulders sagged.

She went to him and raised him up.

“Oh no,” she said. “You shouldn’t.”

“Why?” he asked, “because it’s not right?”

He was petulant. She smiled and held his sleeve.

“Because I don’t want you to die,” she said.

“I won’t die.” His eyes said, Do you think I will die?

She brushed his jacket.

“Lots of people die,” she said.

They heard the door open. The walls vibrated, you could hear it, whenever the door opened. When it closed. The young man, the boy, started and shook, and so did she. The space between them was tense. An instant—an instant and they were in each other’s arms, locked, trembling, and he was crying or trying to cry and she was kissing him and saying alright, alright, it’s alright.

His warmth was dependence. His hands were fear and hope, clinging on cold fingertips. His breath was rage, too hot, too moist, and his tears were and were not, despair. She could feel his heart and believed that was childhood there, like faith, recognized in that close impatient throb.

His cheek was not perfectly soft.


She held him.

“—Go. Go.”

His voice was almost unrecognizable.

She shook her head.

He tried to pull her to the window.

“Please. Please go.”

Hide and seek. It was a game. She had found him. Had he let her find him? And now like a trick, an illusion, he was willing her to disappear.

She wasn’t afraid to die.

She was climbing the stairs.

She took his hand.

Their palms met, pressed, fingers almost painfully twined.

Don’t let—.


“I’m not going.”

They were quite small for their age.




A. A. Azariah-Kribbs is a part-time cryptozoologist with her associates Fuffle and Wallie the Imp. She has been published in several venues, including Carus Publishing’s Cicada, The Bards and Sages Quarterly, Fēlan, The Donut Factory, Chantwood, Lunaris Review, and The Bethlehem Writers’ Roundtable. Her fiction is pending publication in Boston Accent Lit, The Vignette Review, and Ghostlight. Her blog, “Wallie’s Wentletrap,” features original art and fiction and follows the adventures of Wallie the Imp.

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