The Mushroom Girl

The “Old Woman” sent another letter. The envelope was again marked with esoteric runes that few outside the society would recognize. This woman is unknown to me and my colleagues. I find myself unreasonably disquieted by these letters, as if my subconscious is detecting a dangerous subtext I can’t put my finger on.

—————

Dear Mr. Mahoney,

After telling my granddaughter how I was discovered as an infant, in a hive of violent bees, she mulled the story for a day and asked the inevitable question.

Had she herself been found under remarkable circumstances?

My granddaughter’s name is Lil. She is a precocious seven-year-old with short black hair, black eyes, and a mouth I can only describe as candied. Her lips have the pink, thick fullness of fresh bubblegum. Her teeth are like Chiclets. She speaks with a slight lisp, as if she can’t help licking her own delicious words.

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The Equinox Society Report

Today is the equinox. Night and day are equal, like your shadow and your self.

equinox societyTo commemorate, we present a new monthly email—THE EQUINOX SOCIETY REPORT—collecting the stories and art featured here, along with exclusive content no one else receives. You’ll be the first to know when our podcast, GHOSTLOVE, is available later this year.

Also: a gift.

Subscribe and you’ll receive a special 12-page PDF of original writing, photos, grievous Latin quotations, secrets, warnings, and a printable LOST FRIEND sign.

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Hovering Body, Part 3

An update about the two ethereal bodies floating in my house, dear strangers.

(Read Part 1 and Part 2)

The first body’s face, looking upward, could be seen through the hole I’d cut in the hallway floor. The second body, looking downward, was mostly hidden directly overhead in the ceiling. Only its ghostly nose protruded.

I Sawzalled a new hole, cutting a wide oval and revealing the second face. It was a woman this time. Like the man below, she was bald and lacked both eyebrows and eyelashes, and even if they hadn’t shared their strange hairlessness, they resembled each other enough to be relatives.

Once the plaster dust settled and my eyes felt clear, I stood on my stepladder, craned back so I could look straight up, and examined the woman’s face.

Continue reading Hovering Body, Part 3

Hovering Body, Part 2

An update about the hovering body in my hallway, dear strangers.

(Read Part 1)

As I described in my earlier report, the body is nonphysical—I was able to reach my hand through his torso—and is pressed face-first against the ceiling, the way an ordinary body would lie facedown on a floor. Because he’s so close to the ceiling, I was initially unable to see his features.

My solution was to Sawzall a hole in the ceiling, cutting a circle around his head, so I could see him through the floor of the hallway above. This was messier and more challenging than expected, but after I cut a crude hole in the ceiling, I walked upstairs, coated in plaster dust, and finished the hole from the upper hallway.

Continue reading Hovering Body, Part 2

Hovering Body

A disembodied man is hovering in my brownstone’s second-floor hallway.

The hallway is narrow and long, with a grimy plaster ceiling and a hardwood floor covered by a lichenous carpet runner. Two wall sconces provide a modicum of light in the hall, but the man’s form floats in the gap between the sconces and is somewhat difficult to see.

I’m mostly certain he’s a man. He floats face-up against the ceiling, straight as a plank. From below I can see the back of his head, which is bald, but none of his distinguishing characteristics. He is nude, as many ghosts are—an essential, lingering self without ornament or clothes.

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Seven-Year-Old Fetus: The Interview

[Read previous report here]

Hey, it’s Claire. Here are the highlights of my interview with Melissa _________, the woman who’s been pregnant with a male fetus for twenty-six trimesters.

ME: Congratulations, I guess!

HER: Thank you. I feel very blessed.

ME: What’s your son’s name?

HER: Timothy.

ME: Most mothers I’ve known start to feel very “get this baby out of me” by the end of the third trimester. How’re you feeling after seven years of pregnancy?

HER: I worried a lot in the first year, but once I understood he was healthy and safe, I made peace with him staying inside. My hormones reached a wonderful balance. I have a permanent pregnancy glow. I’m not in any discomfort. I think a lot of mothers would love this experience. I’m always with my baby. He doesn’t get sick, he’s never alone. He’s growing up in a perfect environment.

ME: He’s not really growing up, though, is he?

Continue reading Seven-Year-Old Fetus: The Interview

Seven-Year-Old Fetus

Hey, it’s Claire. Here’s a weird one. By “weird” I mean creepy AF and just the kind of thing that makes me dread-love my job.

I met a woman named Melissa who’s been pregnant for seven years. Twenty-six trimesters to be exact. I heard about her from an anonymous tip on The Blackboard and drove out to meet her in an office park where she works payroll.

She’s unmarried and wouldn’t talk about the father except to say he was a full-time fantasy footballer and no love lost on either side. She’s 49% pretty and looks right at the tipping point of “don’t ask about her due date in case she isn’t actually pregnant”. Picture a mousy thirty-year-old woman with a shopping-mall haircut and the beer belly of a middle-age man.

Little backstory here. Her coworkers like her OK and she’s a payroll whiz, no professional complaints whatsoever, but everybody thinks she’s crackers. Not dangerous crackers but sad crackers. Because she announced her pregnancy to everybody twenty-five trimesters ago, and there was an office baby shower and everything, and then no baby. She grew a paunch and then nada.

Continue reading Seven-Year-Old Fetus