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Demons cavort in the darkness of trees. Slender, knuckle-cracking things, whispering a wasp language. You stop your ears with moss, but the what-ifs and why-nots are siren voices.

So you take scissors to your hair, swap florals for denim and Elvis for Iron Maiden, spike your language with consonants to ricochet. Between your breasts, a rattle-necklace of bones and teeth. You turn to perfect the shape of your mouth in the window’s reflection but see only the beauty of demons haloing your head, raveling your hair. Behind you, the genie-bottle they emerged from shrinks as quickly as its contents multiply.

Susan loves the freedom of writing to a strict word count, and is often surprised by what language can do under pressure. Her work has been published by Oxford Flash Fiction, Retreat West, and Reflex Fiction, and she has been long and short-listed for various awards, including Fish Flash Fiction and the Cambridge Flash Fiction Prize. She lives and writes near Oxford, UK.

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