Chokeberry

Sarah Navin

 

1

Maxine Mendez got the Miracle Fish from the quarter machine outside the supermarket and it could tell the future. As the purchaser she was the only one allowed to ask it questions – she would hold the fish-shaped strip of clear red plastic in her palm and say something like, “Is the cafeteria going to serve fried okra today?”

She would articulate her question clearly and with no contractions, and if the answer was yes, the fish would raise its flat head as if sniffing the air. If no, its tail would curl up. Both at the same time meant “maybe.” It wasn’t Maxine’s decision to make herself the sole inquisitor. She let Coty ask something to test it (“Will my complexion clear up when I’m older?”) and the Miracle Fish lay there motionless as in a meat case.

“It might just be because my hands are cold,” Coty said, “bad circulation, y’know.”

“It’ll mean whatever Max wants it to mean,” Lionel grumbled from his spread of chemistry homework on the other side of Maxine’s bedroom.

Maxine shrugged and took the matted-wet tip of her ponytail out of her mouth. “It means what it says, and what it says is the truth.”

“Yeah? Then ask the Miracle Fish whether or not you had a crush on Coty when you first met her.”

Coty, returning the fish to Maxine, smiled a little at the floor.

“We don’t need the Miracle Fish to know that,” Maxine purred, her hands snaking around Coty’s waist. Stiff plastic and metal bracelets jingled on her wrists as she squeezed her. Laughing, Coty squirmed away and called Maxine a creep.

Lionel shook his head and erased two lines of work from notebook paper. “Then let me ask it a question. Something I already know the answer to. Fact-checking.”

“I don’t think that’s how it works,” Coty said, her cheeks still smeared a hot red both from shyness and dermatological woes.

Lionel took his glasses off and mourned his homework. “Did either of y’all figure out how to balance these last two equations?”

2

As the sun set in Chokeberry, an army of household shadows – the bed, the dresser, the twelve-inch TV on an overturned Rubbermaid tank – made a steady crawl towards the far wall where Maxine had tacked up pieces of loose leaf paper. One was a page full of doodles that Coty had done during class one day, the name “Max” scratched more than once throughout. Another was a neat-lettered draft of one of Lionel’s short stories. The rest were Maxine’s own, her most prized sketches (mostly many-petaled flowers that spiraled out towards the corners of the page).

Coty knelt in front of the window and buried her chin in her crossed arms on the sill. Her blonde mop, barely to her chin, was haloed with light and stray hairs. Looking west, she asked, “What time are we leaving?”

“One-ish, I guess,” Maxine replied. “Lionel, d’you know when they’re fumigating?”

“Around that time, yeah. So we could go a little while after.”

“We’ll see who gets a nosebleed first,” Maxine said with a grin.

“No one’s getting a nosebleed. Just dizzy.”

“And maybe hallucinations,” Coty added, unmoving from the sill.

Coty could easily decode Lionel’s distracted grunt: you don’t hallucinate from insecticide, but yeah, sure, okay.

“Which one of us is gonna black out and have to be carried back?” Maxine asked.

“Maybe all three of us,” Lionel said, his face splitting into a smile, “like, we’ll just drop and they’ll find us in a pile tomorrow morning.”

Maxine giggled. Coty smiled into the pale flesh of her forearm.

3

The governing powers in Chokeberry had imposed a midnight curfew every other Friday so that people in masks with bulky machines could cloud the empty streets with insecticide. Chokeberry was surrounded by rich bacterial swampland that incubated tens of thousands of mosquito eggs at a time, which meant the air in town was always thick, with humidity and with the fat insects that floated lazily through it at all hours. This was only the most recent in efforts to alleviate the problem.

Mr. and Mrs. Mendez went to bed at 11:00 and the kids were out the door by 1:15. Maxine’s neighborhood – rows of houses built low to the ground and painted white, tan, eggshell, beige, tan again – was a ten-minute walk from Main Street and the town square where amateur boutiques went to die.

The sky was suspiciously starless and the moon seemed impossible, hanging as if from a ceiling-mounted mobile. As the kids walked, Lionel looked up at it and saw the blue-black as something flat and close and collapsible.

“Jesus, what is that?” Coty asked as they neared the town square. She was squinting into the swamp at a hazy white pillar somewhere among the cypresses.

“A statue,” Lionel said, “one of the donated ones.”

“I thought they only donated fountains?”

“Not the families over in Willowton,” Maxine corrected her, conjuring images of the gated plantation village a short drive north. “That’s how it started, stirring the water to stop nesting, but then they got superstitious ‘cause they’re old and rich and batshit.”

“They can afford to be weird about it. They’re building a cathedral in there, just about,” Lionel said.

“With all the fucked up statues,” Maxine said, “broken stone ones and defunct plastic ones. God, I hope I never get senile enough to think that a discount statue is gonna kill the mosquitoes by hanging out in the marsh.”

“They can’t really think that they’re helping,” Coty said, the standing figure slipping out of her vision as they made their way along the swamp into town.

“Well, some of them are installed for other reasons,” Lionel clarified. “I mean, think about the Ramsey baby.”

“Oh shit, I think I heard about that! The Swamp Princess. She was stillborn or something, right?” Coty said.

“Yeah,” Lionel said, “so Mrs. Ramsey had this expensive sculpture made of her and stuck it right in the middle of the swamp. Like, deep enough that you’d only run into it if you were an alligator. Or a fisherman, but even then you’d have to be very fucking lost.”

Maxine hummed incredulously. “That’s just a legend. I mean, I can’t see anybody actually doing that kind of thing. We know she lost a baby though, and that’s really sad on its own.”

As the kids traveled, the air grew hazier, bitterer to breathe. The change was a gradual one but once they reached the town square, it was clear that the fumigators had been through. A ripe chemical mist was suspended at eye-level, turning team apparel stores and cupcake shops into blurry ghost ships in the fog.

Maxine coughed. “You feel anything?”

Lionel replied, “A headache.”

“And instant regret,” Coty added, smiling.

Just then, something came rumbling around the corner and Coty, Lionel, and Maxine dove into the alleyway between two shops, hissing curse words. They huddled in the alcove of a side entrance, leaning around the brick edge to watch the street.

A truck crawled by, black with white company lettering that no one bothered to read. The man driving had short cropped hair and a gas mask on, and in the truck bed there was another person in full fumigation gear. They sat, legs bent with their arms on their knees, next to a bulky tank with an accordion tube extending from it. Then the truck and both its occupants disappeared down the road.

“Oh my god,” Maxine whispered, “that was creepy.”

“There’s something about gas masks,” Coty said.

After some deliberation, the kids decided to check out the twenty-four hour laundromat,
Betty’s, just in case it was open despite the curfew.

“Is Betty’s Laundry going to be open?” Maxine asked the Miracle Fish. Yes, the fish nodded.

4

Betty’s was buzzing, empty, and open. Laundry machines that used to be white were bolted onto tile that had always been that exact same shade of beige. Fluorescent lights mellowed the unmanned laundromat with a green tinge, humming overhead like a god that couldn’t be bothered. The kids holed up on the floor behind the backmost row of machines. They spent the next few hours there in the contained glow, just talking, filling in the cozy spaces where their trivial knowledge of one another was lacking, prodding occasionally at the chasms where the correct answers were far less trivial.

A machine full of bottled beverages trembled in the corner. In an intermission of silence Coty stood, fished some coins out of her pocket, and bought a glass bottle of chocolate milk.

“Should we head back?” Coty asked.

Stiffened by sitting for so long, her friends rose to their feet and stretched before all three of them left Betty’s through its glass front door. The insecticide made its way back into their lungs and the soft tissue of their eyes as they walked. By the time they reached the intersection, all three of them were fantasizing about the clean air in Maxine’s house, and their respective sleepover spots in her room.

Coty’s thoughts, nursed by the looming swamp and routine strangeness of the night sky, soon returned to the Swamp Princess. She tried to picture a newborn carved from stone but, like a record, her imagination would skip and come back to the image of a young woman instead. She stood naked and knee-deep in swamp water, mossy hair draped over the stiff swells of her breasts. She wore a crown of woven twigs and sick-smelling bullhead lilies. Moonlight crystallized on her wet skin. She looked a lot like –

“Max,” Lionel said, “ask the Miracle Fish whether I’m seeing shit or there’s actually someone coming.”

Coty and Maxine looked up. “That’s definitely a person,” Maxine whispered. “Should we hide? Is it a cop?”

“Worst thing they could do is escort us home,” Coty said, still shaking off thoughts of the Princess, “and we’re headed that way anyways.”

But as the stranger neared, Lionel began to make out the folds of a long cotton skirt through the mist. The woman’s bare feet patted quietly along the asphalt. She came into focus.

“What the hell?” Coty whispered, tightening her grip on her chocolate milk. “She kind of looks like my mom.”

Maxine twisted her face up in disagreement and said, “Wait, what? She looks like mine. Look at the hair.”

“You guys have got to be shitting me.” Lionel hissed. “You’re telling me she looks like either of your mothers? There’s no way you’re seeing that. She can’t look like anyone’s except maybe mine, and even that’s–”

“Lionel,” Coty said, haltingly, “are you looking at a black woman right now?”

“And y’all aren’t?”

The woman was well within earshot now and the kids froze in the intersection. The stranger stopped. She spoke.

“It’s past curfew, little troublemakers.”

Coty was shaken by how much the woman resembled her mother. She wondered whether this might be some aunt, hidden from her all her life and finally come to meet her niece in the square at three in the morning. But when she turned her head and caught the woman in her periphery, the feeling was gone, and so was the theory.

“Fifteen’s not that little,” Maxine said, her inflection not unfriendly.

The woman smiled. “Little troublemakers.”

A moment passed. Coty and Lionel glanced at one another.

“And…” Lionel managed, “besides, curfew’s not just for kids.”

A breeze rippled by and the woman’s skirt clung to her leg. “What are your names?”

“I’m Candy,” Maxine said, before anyone else could. “And that’s Georgia and Lloyd.”

The woman shifted her gaze between the three of them for a long while. Then she asked,

“And your middle names?”

“I think we should go,” Coty said, taking Maxine’s hand and leaning away from the woman. She couldn’t figure out what had reminded her so much of her mom before.

“How about this,” the stranger said, sounding nearly out of breath. “I’ll give you a magic talisman if you tell me. Do you know what a talisman is? It’ll protect you, so no harm will come. How about that?”

“That’s crazy,” Lionel said, “thanks and all, but that’s… crazy, and probably a lie. We really have to go.”

“I can show it to you,” said the woman.

Maxine watched her mouth move as she spoke and realized that it seemed to be crowded with teeth. Not sharp ones, not unusual ones, just too many for one person. “Alright,” she said, thumbing the Miracle Fish in her pocket.

The stranger reached into her blouse and produced something that sparkled in her hand. She held it out to the kids. It was an X, two metallic rods about six inches long neatly fixed together with gold twine. From one angle the rods shone a silvery black, but as the light from the streetlamp caught them, they glimmered with an oil-slick rainbow sheen.

The talisman looked professional and powerful and, if nothing else, beautiful and probably expensive. 

Lionel’s stomach lurched as he looked at the woman’s extended hand, but it took him a second to completely understand why – her thumb was on the wrong side. The hand didn’t match the arm.

“Here,” she offered, “you can even have it first. Then when it’s safe with you, and you with it, you can tell me.”

Maxine reached for it. Lionel watched her wince at the position of the woman’s hand, but she took the talisman anyways. Coty began to smell something sharp and revoltingly sweet and recalled that inhuman entities are supposed to smell like something rotting. Only by chance did she look down to see the rest of her chocolate milk curdled in its bottle. It had the soured texture of goat cheese. Gingerly she placed it on the asphalt next to her.

Maxine turned the talisman over in her hands, feeling a warm and constant energy emanating from it, as if it was silently giving off a frequency that made her flesh fall asleep. A static sensation crept up her arms.

“Thanks,” she said.

“Now, your middle names?”

Coty avoided the stranger’s unfocused eyes and saw her hands, now at her sides, facing the wrong way on her wrists.

“Rose, and Rose, and Henry,” she said hurriedly. “We really gotta go now ma’am, have a good night.”

But the stranger moved to block her path, forcing her neck forward like a bird of prey. “I give you magic, and kindness,” she started, her breath hitching, “and you trick me and lie to me and disrespect me? You fucking disrespect me, Coty-girl?”

“What?” Coty stammered.

“Back the hell off, lady,” Lionel said, narrowing his eyes at her from behind fogged glasses. He moved once more to pass her, but suddenly she let out a hard and ragged breath and he stepped back. She glared at him. 

In her mind, Maxine asked the Miracle Fish is she human? and felt its forked tail curl forcefully around her finger.

The woman’s backwards hands writhed and twitched at her sides. Her gaze seemed to reach all three of the kids and extend past them at the same time. A sound came from her abdomen as if from the deep sea, a mournful, muted groan. Her jaw hadn’t closed.

“You disrespect me,” she repeated, the words warping in her mouth, “you disrespect me.”

Coty squeezed Maxine’s hand, which grasped the talisman, and Maxine slowly took Lionel’s. At Coty’s sudden motion they took off running past the woman, Lionel shouldering her aside.

5

They hadn’t heard the stranger in pursuit, but as the kids neared the wrong end of the town square, no one felt comfortable coming to a complete stop. Maxine, breathing hard, glanced down at the talisman to find a plastic office pen tied to a chicken bone with paper straw wrappers. She cast it away in disgust and her friends watched it go skittering across the pavement. They clustered close together.

Up ahead was a solitary, frightfully wide stretch of road, flanked by more businesses long since closed for the night. Fumes still hung in the air, clinging to moonlight while Lionel, Coty, and Maxine clung to one another. The absolute openness gaped at them. The kids looked at each other with an animal telepathy, asking should we? and answering again and again, no, no, we can’t. There’s nowhere to hide.

A distant scuffling became audible and grew in volume. Coty turned her head and considered the swamp just a frantic dash away, dark and soaked like the mouth of a fish ready to carry her young to safety. Coty took her friends by the wrists. She ran.

Three pairs of sneakered feet abandoned the asphalt. There was room for one footfall on the concrete sidewalk before they met the dead grass between the road and Chokeberry Swamp. They covered that too and soon they went sloshing into the shallows, ankle-deep in backwater. They paused to peer back out towards the intersection. Cody pressed her sweat-slicked palms to the back of a tree and leaned around it to stare into the fog. She knew that somewhere past the opacity there had been a town square, a string of traffic lights, a continuation of the sidewalk that now she could only make out a few dozen yards of. But she also knew that there had been a woman, some creature, in that intersection, and the truth of that memory seemed to consume the others until she was willing to believe that maybe there was no town square at all. Maybe there weren’t any stoplights, no crosswalks, only that thing standing there in the dark with its belly growling and its hands on backwards. Sickened, all three of them imagined it.

And then – as if summoned by a collective, wordless incantation – there she was. The woman was plodding out from the mist on all fours, her fingers pointing to her toes. She lumbered along, swinging her head from side to side as if scanning from one side of the street to the other, then back again.

Maxine’s breath was hitching. It threatened to produce an audible cry. Lionel covered her mouth with one hand, pressing the other to the back of her neck. In a gesture that meant nothing but made the two of them feel a little better nonetheless, Maxine closed her eyes, held Lionel’s wrist, and kissed his palm. The searchlight of the creature’s gaze landed on the marsh and stilled.

That was all they needed. The kids turned and forged deeper into Chokeberry Swamp, kicking the standing water up into a rancid storm. Statues, in increasing frequency, zipped by them. An angel was hunched with the back of one hand over her eyes and the other arm extended, defensive, if not for the nub of gnarled plaster where she should’ve had a hand. Lionel’s footfalls sprayed the hem of her gown with water and soon he and his friends were gone from her, gone from the tree line and the lamplight. In an evolutionary parlor trick, their eyes adjusted to the dark as they fled.

Coty could feel the marsh closing in on them, and it was not an unpleasant feeling. With every step it seemed more insulating, each new mosquito bite a nerve bundle bursting, ready to blast her young body apart like a supernova.

Maxine’s inner monologue took on a tone that she didn’t recognize, speaking in a voice that would never buy a twenty-five pack of glitter barrettes at the drugstore, or sneak out on a Friday night: I’m home. We’ve come home. English blurred with her Spanish mother tongue and she tasted something bitter, something nasal she hadn’t felt since she hit her head on the wall of her neighbor’s pool. Her body was lurching forward in urgency and she wanted to drop into a quadrupedal sprint, claw her way up the rotten bark of a tree, and disassemble herself into the canopy.

Lionel was dizzy, just dizzy and winded, and the bath-warmth of the swamp water around his calves invited him to go under, come on under and bury yourself in the muck. Sleep through all this. Wake to a healed world.

A stitch in Maxine’s side brought them to a staggering stop. The kids engaged in the ancient art of “catching one’s breath as quietly as possible so as to avoid being captured and eaten alive.” They fell into an almost-silence, grouped tightly against a wide platform. On top of it, four children were holding hands and dancing in a ring, heads thrown back, the hard caverns of their mouths full of hornet nests.

Maxine’s arms and hands tangled with Lionel’s and his with Coty’s, a network of mismatched pulses only sometimes keeping in beat with the onlooking crickets and toads. And then, God help us, Dios nos ayude, it was there. It was close. It was standing. Among deformed statues that gave back the lunar glow, it was a shadow poisoning a single shaft of light. The hopeful corners of their minds turned it into plaster, breath held, momentarily safe. But then it lifted one foot to advance and that notion was shot point-blank, exploding and launching Coty, Maxine, and Lionel back into motion.

A headless statue on their left. A legless one on a stump to their right. Another angel, her arms and wings spread wide and obscene, had a veil of moss over her eyes. Lionel’s calves ached. The water resisted their feet. The creature kept in pursuit for a few more frenzied minutes before its splashing ceased, leaving only the kids and the question of whether they’d been running for their lives.

They slowed to a walk. Lionel leaned against a cypress, lifted his foot out of the water, and peeled away what looked like a strip of black rubber. “Fuckin’ leech,” he said, and for a few seconds, their concentration on such a survivable sort of revulsion calmed them down.

“I was pretty sure we were gonna get, like, eaten.” Coty admitted.

Lionel replied “I still am,” but his tone was a light one. In the past when he had imagined encountering strange beasts and escaping danger, he’d taken it for granted that a certain threshold of fear could dehumanize anyone. He’d pictured grown men wide-eyed and unresponsive, paralyzed, frightened into a lifetime of muteness. He’d imagined the collapse of the consciousness inside a terrified body. And though his heartbeat was still direly unsuited to his stillness, he was pleasantly surprised to find that he felt largely unchanged. Scared and sore and tired, but still Lionel.

The shakiest suggestion of dawn was starting to turn Chokeberry Swamp into a still-life done entirely in shades of blue. Maxine remembered someone telling her that Picasso’s “blue period” had been a result of his poverty – he couldn’t afford any other colors. Someone else had told her, “No, that’s not it at all. He was terribly depressed.” She remembered her art appreciation classroom. She thought of her school, distant and small, as if from the window of an airplane.

Maxine remembered the next part of the explanation: “His best friend had just blown his own brains out.” She looked at Lionel, then at Coty. Lionel was staring into the water as if he might intercept another leech before it could find his taut skin. Coty was trembling, turning to look at every sound, like small prey. Are they going to die? Maxine wondered, a dreadful knot rising up to her uvula. She didn’t know if she meant now, or in thirty years, or ever. Are my best friends going to die and leave me in this crooked blue version of our lives?

“What is that?” Coty whispered. Her eyes were trained on a mass that sat about fifty yards ahead of them. “Is that a car? Did someone leave a car in here?”

“It’s bigger than a car,” Lionel said, wiping the lenses of his glasses with the hem of his shirt before putting them back on and squinting at the structure. “It might be a sculpture platform.”

The statues had grown fewer and farther between as they traveled. There was nothing in sight besides the solemn, wide-trunked cypress trees, and whatever monolithic thing lay ahead. Only one of those provided a sense of direction. They walked toward it. As they neared the hulking form that rose from the backwater, they began to make out distinct shapes: a soft-edged rectangular middle, what seemed to be an uneven globe attached on the left, a more textured carving to the right. It glistened with dew and algae. 

“Oh my god.” Maxine breathed, “That’s it. That’s her.”

“Who?” Lionel asked.

“Mrs. Ramsey’s baby. The Swamp Princess.”

Their pace quickened. “It’s real?” Coty asked.

It was real and it was massive, maybe the size of a minivan. The detail was almost unearthly, the wisps of first hairs carved from stone, fatty folds and dimples in the baby’s skin looking soft and squishable. The section on the right that they’d been seeing was her diaper, painstakingly pockmarked like fabric and chiseled into delicate folds. Coty ran her hand along the scum-slicked stone and rounded the sculpture to its front. Lionel and Maxine followed.

The Swamp Princess lay on her side, one pudgy arm curled up near her chin, the other draped over her swollen newborn belly. Her legs were tucked up against her with her toes – about the size of cantaloupes at their rounded tips – curled. She was asleep. Water had collected and stagnated in the shallow dint of her navel. Her philtrum created a peaceful, childish cupid’s bow on her upper lip. Her fists, somehow both little and gargantuan, held tightly to nothing. In the dimness she seemed ancient. It was as if she had laid down one afternoon and the earth had dipped beneath her to take on water, the cypresses sprouting up, an ecosystem assembling itself around a dreaming baby.

“I can’t believe she really had this made,” Lionel said. “Why put it this deep in the swamp? Why hide it all the way out here? Mrs. Ramsey can’t even come see it when she wants to.”

“Maybe that’s the point,” Maxine replied, prodding at the moss that had grown over the baby’s eyelids. “She wants her to be somewhere close, but not close enough that she can come obsess over her. I mean, if you had a sculpture of your dead baby made, you wouldn’t want it in the middle of town. You’d want it someplace that would take a – like, some sort of exodus for you to get to. So you couldn’t just see it every day. Maybe that makes it more special or more real or something.”

Something splashed a few meters away. The kids crowded against the Swamp Princess and pressed their backs to her belly. They took short, still-chested rabbit breaths for a moment. More splashing.

A stretch of time passed that could have been five or fifty minutes. The sounds were spread out and uneven, but frequent enough that no one spoke. The bones in Coty’s feet burned. Eventually she slid down the surface of the sculpture into a crouch. The swamp water met her waist and came just below her knees. Maxine and Lionel did the same.

Linear time wasn’t welcome in the swamp. The light seemed to have stilled in blue monochrome. Maxine reached into the water at her hip and, with some difficulty, produced the shreds of the Miracle Fish from the pocket of her shorts. She held them in one glistening hand and asked in something close to a whisper, “Is this thing going to kill us?”

Another, briefer moment passed. She glanced at Coty, then back at the fish, which was starting to writhe in her palm. Lionel, Coty, and Maxine looked on as the two halves of the Miracle Fish curled and cast themselves into the water. Separately, like tiny red eels, they swam away into the murk.

Lionel glanced back up at Maxine to see the skin of her face taut and drained. Her gaze remained on the spot where she had watched her fortune teller abandon her. Maxine’s eyes had glazed over, exhaustion pulling pink veins to the surface, and for a moment Lionel worried she might pass out.

“What does it mean?” He mouthed.

“Whatever,” She mouthed back.

Coty’s hand was already on Maxine’s forearm, but suddenly she was gripping it hard. Maxine followed her gaze and saw something long and dark drifting around the Swamp Princess’s head, turning the corner towards them. It moved silently beneath the water, and through the stirred muck it was almost opaque. Maxine, ridiculously, hoped it was an alligator.

It came to a stop in front of the kids. Coty considered running but didn’t trust her ankles to do anything but buckle, crack, and collapse. Lionel held on to her free arm. Like a drowned body the thing rose from the water, hunched and back-first. Sopping fabric clung to its spine. No one moved, nor breathed, nor thought of anything but dark water and their own heartbeats. On some level Maxine recognized the floral pattern on the thing’s skirt, grayed with water. Tears snaked from her eyes to her chin.

The sun was rising and the stone of the Swamp Princess was wet and cool and the water stung the kids’ wrinkled flesh, grating their clothes against their sore skin. The Swamp Princess was massive and dead and she could not protect them from the creature, dressed like a woman, that rose fully to its feet in the heart of Chokeberry Swamp, right in front of them. The halves of the Miracle Fish circled its calves, frantically nipping at it with no mouths. Putrid water steadily trickled from the hem of its skirt.

Maxine, trembling, slowly turned her head and tilted it into the curve of Coty’s neck. She rested her face there and parted her lips against damp skin to take a breath. Her chest heaved and the miserable, desperate warmth of the sob she exhaled poured down Coty’s shoulder. It was the only tactile sensation she could still make out.

The creature, looking nothing like anyone’s mother, tilted its head back and opened its milky eyes to the tree canopy. Tendrils of wet hair stuck to the whites. It opened its mouth as if to scream and backwater rushed forth past too many teeth, pouring like a swamp swallowed, like water breaking from a brackish womb at last. 


Sarah Navin is a young writer living on the South Carolina coast. She mainly writes magical
realist fiction, but she’s interested in anything that makes the reader inexplicably uneasy. Her
previous work can be found in literary magazines like
Haunted Waters Press, The Dying Goose,
and
Gone Lawn, among others.

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