The Shadow of Victoria Lockhart

Victoria Lockhart, like many of those in both the cast and crew of her feature film debut, had heard about their director. His genius. And his…moods. That’s what they were called back then. Moods. And only directors were allowed to have. She’d been so excited on her first day. Even after she saw him throw a chair at one of the writers. Even after she’d seen him take a swing at the cinematographer. Even after she’d heard him say things to his assistant in front of everyone that made the woman crumple at his feet in tears. Victoria told herself that she would never trigger his ire. She would make him adore her, respect her, and treat her as gently as he treated that favorite suede jacket of his.

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Stranded in Shadow

“Just spotted our new neighbor getting in,” Felicia said in a low voice, as she passed me on the sofa and set our groceries on the kitchen counter.

I paused the show I was watching. “Did you get a good look this time? Is he…?”

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Citizen Forsaken

When the disaster happened, or the event, or whatever it was—I still don’t know to this day—I hadn’t yet noticed how much yellow there is in the lower city.

There’s not a lot of yellow where I come from—except for light and that’s different—but here, in the lower city, it seems to be everywhere.

Maybe I’m from here now. After a year, maybe I’m from Los Angeles.

I’ll say that to myself, sometimes aloud as I stare at the silent, solid bathroom mirror.

As I try to stare into the mirror.

Home used to be that close. I stepped through a mirror and I was in Los Angeles. And I was supposed to step through a mirror and be right back home again.

But now there’s nothing to see but my own reflection.

And home may as well be a galaxy away.

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One Wicked Warlock

There is a tall tower to the north. It is made of stone that looks a common gray from afar. But I have been close enough to see the stone shift hues, to glitter with the gilded veins of an otherworldly ore, to fade into a pale so utmost as to be nigh invisible.

A warlock once lived there, it is said. Now the tower is abandoned.

But that does not mean is it safe.

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The Infernal Bargain House

A gray shape darted past me to my right. I turned to the ragged bushes entangled with dried weeds. One of the stems shuddered and I heard a rustling. But the overgrowth was too thick for me to see what was moving around in there. Back home—my previous home—I would have guessed it was a lizard. But here, in my new home, it could have been a rabbit. A wild rabbit.

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