“Things to Bring, Things to Burn, Things Best Left Behind” by C.E. McGill
“Incense” by Megan Chee
“10 Steps to a Whole New You” by Tonya Liburd
“The Billionaire Shapeshifters’ Ex-Wives Club” by Marissa Lingen
Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf
This month’s issue offers short stories, flash fiction, poetry, and interviews. Moods range from horror to comedy.
“Things to Bring, Things to Burn, Things Best Left Behind” by C.E. McGill takes place in a world where people are sacrificed to a being within a mountain. The main character is a suicidal man who is selected for this fate. He learns the true nature of sacrifice from a mysterious young girl.
The author writes in a clear, simple style, which allows the reader to fully understand the story’s theme. It seems intended as a fable for making difficult choices. Some may find the allegory too obvious.
“Incense” by Megan Chee is a very brief account of a storyteller and a little girl who listens to his tales. She has no money to pay for his stories, so he demands another price. This tiny work has an effectively eerie mood, but ends just when it becomes most intriguing.
“10 Steps to a Whole New You” by Tonya Liburd features a vampire-like creature from Caribbean folklore. Taking on human form, she transforms a woman into one of her own kind. The victim reacts in an unexpected way, and contemplates her new existence.
The plot is a simple one, but made interesting by the author’s use of a vividly realized setting and the language of the region. As the title implies, this work takes the form of a list. Such a structure is popular these days, but it adds little or nothing to the story.
“The Billionaire Shapeshifters’ Ex-Wives Club” by Marissa Lingen is another very short tale. Women who left their husbands, each one of whom is a were-animal of some sort, discuss the disadvantages of such marriages. This lighthearted joke provides a modest amount of amusement.
Victoria Silverwolf thinks this publication has a very generic name.