Your hands beat the door, which is extraordinarily hard, like sapphire crystal. The knobs of your knuckles pulse and resound with pain with each knock. You notice that they, too, bulge and sprout hard carapaces and you feel – or imagine you feel – the beating of wings from within your fingers.


You realize you’ve stopped pounding the door and have been staring at your hands when a lady begins to clear her throat, the reverberation of which somersaults into a cough.


It’s the lady from your kitchen and even though she’s now standing she’s still small, no taller than four crockpots stacked together. You know this for reasonably certain because she’s holding a crockpot and it covers, easily, a quarter or her body.


“You,” she says, “have the book?” She nods at the book, which is sprawled on the floor, spine flayed like a steak.


It’s a question. Or is it? Your hands throb like a subway station at rush hour, backed by the soundtrack of a calypso band busking by one set of benches and you can’t think of much else. A quick check of your hips show you’re dancing to the beat of the calypso band.


Without waiting for a reply, if it is a question, she steps toward you, hoists the crockpot up at you and grin cracking across her face, revealing grey-ish yellow teeth and one pink one with what looks like a diamond smack dab in the middle of it. The steam from the crockpot fogs over your eyes and you think you see the handle of a ladle leaning in a nonchalant manner against the side of the pot.


this installment was written by matthew hanlon