Matt Runkle

At the bottom of the page, she included details on how to reach her. Then regretted it. As she deleted them, she secretly punished herself, the way she always did when trying to form a habit. This was a world where one best not be forthcoming if not necessary.

She dropped the ballot in the box and paused. Her punishment had taken root: a bitter mix of mint and Merlot. She drew some saliva forward and spat, then moved on.

A notice soon appeared in her thoughts that reminded her to renew her identification. The place, apparently, to do this was at the nearest church.

Halfway up the aisle stood a table. As she approached it, she felt her mind swell, an organ chord grown to fill the entire church. Something about its vaults against her temples completed her, a long lost twin, the type that might consume to ensure its own survival. An unwilling mother, perhaps, would make a better metaphor.

Against her brow, a highly placed window that was circular and crammed with the usual fragments of colored glass. It was hard not to see such a thing as a third eye.

A voice: divine but grandmotherly. She carved her name into the table. Was that really her name though? It sounded so old fashioned. The kind of name that she herself would bestow, so in danger it was of being left behind. It was the sort of name—she was certain now—that would skip a generation, and thus, her.

This particular rite, she remembered, encouraged public confessions. The window grew in leadenness and soon took on the full terror of the midnight sky.