Identity is a funny thing. It’s not even a single thing. It can be broad as identifying as human on another world, or specific as a young girl becoming a protector. It’s something we cling to, or maybe don’t realize we have the option of claiming. It’s finding our place in our world, or discovering we don’t understand this world at all. It’s becoming more, or less. We’ve managed to put together eight stories and eight poems that all, in their own ways, touch on identity and our need to be seen, even if it’s just ourselves doing the seeing. Of course, by publishing these stories, we’ve made them a part of our identity here at Devilfish Review, and we are so happy to have them be seen by you.
Welcome to Vega IV! by Simon Kewin – Now that the war between Earth and Vega is over, more and more Terrans are choosing to visit Vega IV to savour its distinctive culture. Keep the following guidelines in mind as you explore this fascinating planet: 1. Don’t eat the food
Sandwich by Tegan Moore – “That’s not a sandwich,” Elise said as her sister swung the refrigerator door open. “It’s a monster.” “I know, right?” said Carissa. “It’s, like, huge.”
The Approaching Chimes by Deborah Steinberg – The Fur People arrived soon after the first rains of spring, filling the placid Airoot Valley that was my home with the sound of chimes, bringing stories of far-off places we would never see. I always felt more alive when the Fur People visited.
Appalachian Selkie by Margaret Kingsbury – The suitcase wasn’t actually a suitcase but a beat-up old sewing machine case. Scuffed, covered in dust, the plastic handle broken so Jenny had to be careful how she carried it or else be cut by the plastic, the case bumped against her side as she carried it down the gravel road that circled the mountain.
Diminishing Returns by P.R. O’Leary – A sharp pinch, two inches of dull pain followed by searing ecstasy. A splash of icy water on the brain that trickles down the spine and flows to the end of each limb. Body hair rising as if electric. Vision filled with white light.
Blacktooth Daddy by Jason R. Poole – Today was Blacktooth’s very last day on earth and he was patiently awaiting the arrival of a distinguished visitor. He did not mind one bit. Blacktooth was, after all, a master of his art and patience is first among masterful qualities.
Points of Congruence by Laura Thurston – “Computer, inventory count,” the Master Chief said. Subroutine: Inventory. Output to monitor: Seventy-four cryo-tubes containing organic wares.
Black Friday by Rebecca Schwarz – Dad’s been away at what he calls his work for weeks. Mom doesn’t like him to call it that, but whenever she complains, he says in his most pompous professor voice that the term is “neither archaic nor ridiculous.” Call it what you want, he’s gone to the museum before I wake up for school in the morning, and he comes home after dark too exhausted to even sit and enjoy screens with us.
Creating Morning by Seth Jani – You’re not real in the early light. The body fades. The mind expends Its withered cages. You float longingly towards the sky Or are hewn like bulwark to the grass.
What Happens to Fairies Who Look at Us by Sara Amis – “He said, ‘She has a lovely face–‘” –Tennyson My mirror broke, so I looked out the window. That’s when I saw. Elf-lance they called him. Elf-arrow.
My Robot by Dominica Phetteplace – a robot to dig tunnels a robot to search tunnelsa robot to carry drugs a robot to spy my robot will leave water jugs a different robot will smash them there are robots to pick crops but none yet to watch children
Reminisces of a Kraken Caretaker by Beth Cato – back as a college kid he sometimes hated his summer job down at the big aquarium at the start of every show some joker had to yell out, “Release the kraken!” like they were the first to think it
Picking Up the Vanishing Hitchhiker by Karen Weyant – Whether you see her near Willow Ridge Run or on Old Route 65, where Mill Creek floods the road every spring, she always looks like a spirit: skin pale as a single breath that fogs a cold window, eyes gray, lips pinched pink by a chill. She sits in your backseat, her thin white dress clinging so tight, you see the sharp wings of her shoulder blades, her collar bones poking through the high neck.
Madwoman by Kristin Fullerton – The neighborhood kids swear they’ve seen a woman gnawing the bones of this house. Ring the bell! The childish taunt, I can hear. Ear pressed to floor, boards like a skin drum.
When Darkness Found Her by Marge Simon – In the uncertain mist behind the hospice, a woman peers at me through the beautiful flowers. They bow before her, in a maze of blue and red.
Cyrano by Kyle Norwood – Memo: to the Chief Historian, from Central Coordination and Control: On an old storage unit, recently reintegrated with our systems, we discovered the attached, which sheds new light on our prehistory.