Tag Archives: Alison McBain

“The Story of Essa” – Fiction by Alison McBain

Enchanted Beach - Boris Mago, 1938
Enchanted Beach – Boris Mago, 1938

Alison McBain‘s “The Story of Essa” is a stirring, dream-like tale of transformation from our Summer 2015 issue, which you can order online via Amazon and Createspace. Copies are also available at fine independent brick-and-mortar stores like Bluestockings and St. Mark’s Bookshop.

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BEFORE HE BROUGHT THE KEY, Essa had been chained to the basement door her whole life–locked within the confines of her own ten fingers and the ability to work small magicks when on call. Before she sunk her feet into the sand, before the rough-hued grains cascaded over her toes, she had never known how to move with any sort of rhythm.

The seagulls sang, and the wind came down to partner her, and she danced and she danced and she danced.


Words had never been required. She saw herself as a newborn, the thin loops of the basement chains cascading around chubby wrists and baby cankles, and the admonishment of angels telling her to hush. When he came before her, he didn’t ask questions–he gave her fully-formed sentences, directives for training and the execution of purpose. He taught her how to summon her will and focus it to the desires of the mind; he taught her how to name, silently, all the colors held inside.

But her words were not noticed when she tried them out. Her mouth fell idle in the absence of encouragement. Her tongue dwindled down until it became a tube and split at the end. Sometimes, she cast her tongue out like a net to scent the air, little lizard-girl pining for the day. Continue reading “The Story of Essa” – Fiction by Alison McBain

“Transmutation” – Fiction by Alison McBain

Giant Redwood Trees of California – Albert Bierstadt, 1874

From the dissonance between nature and suburbia comes “Transmutation,” Alison McBain‘s contribution to our Winter 2015 issue.

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MY MOTHER GREW UP ON THE MYTH OF FARMS. “We’re from good, peasant stock,” my grandmother told her when she was young. The legend of the strong salt-of-the-earth, a fabrication of too many times reading the Bible. Even so, she was raised in a suburb, surrounded by the soft baaing of cars and the gentle crowing of car horns. Her family killed and ate the fresh meat of the long city blocks, grew up with the metallic sheen of industry dripping down from their dreadlocked hair, the hippy unwashed stink of progress and renewal.

That left my brother and me stranded between words and reality. When my mom got married, she had earth-stars in her eyes. She turned her sights to the mountains, to the rabid screech of raccoons fighting over garbage. She packed up the family and we drove out along a narrow dirt road that wound around redwood tree trunks so large that it took half a day to come out the other side.

I didn’t care about distance, especially when the bluebirds sang maniacally in the trees. The only birds I knew were pigeons, safely coated with gasoline dust, hopping around on twisted club feet. These shrieking birds flashing about with their iridescent flags of wings were too much of an alien takeover of the planet of my life, insidious as little green men with ray guns. I foretold Hitchcock and shut myself up in the princess’s tower.

My brother knocked on the door, took me by the hand and led me outside. He picked up a caterpillar and gave it to me–it turned into a monarch butterfly and sipped gently at my skin with its proboscis. “You see, Angie,” he said.

I nodded. I could see what he meant.

Continue reading “Transmutation” – Fiction by Alison McBain


Coming soon in soft, pulpy paperback.
Stay tuned…FY1F&BCs


Outside the Flapperhouse – 12.30.2014

As 2014 has been careening through its homestretch, our Flappers have been even more prolific than usual, getting their work published across the internet like there won’t be a 2015.

Jeff Laughlin shared some things he’s learned this year in “The Year I Didn’t Belong” over at Triad City Beat.

Mari Ness’ “Offgrid” popped up at Three-Lobed Burning Eye.

Dusty Wallace’s “Flight of the Lonely” went up at Acidic Fiction.

Samantha Eliot Stier’s “Plugs” was inserted into The Writing Disorder.

Juliet Cook & j/j hastain collaborated on “Clots Push Over the Edge” for the latest issue of Stirring.

Alison McBain’s playfully absurd “Nothing For Sale” was featured at Saturday Night Reader.

Ed Ahern left his “Aftertaste” at New Pop Lit.

Anna Lea Jancewicz’s poem “Black Robin” nested at Spry Lit.

Cassandra de Alba’s poem “Tyra Banks in the Arctic Circle” strutted the runway at Glitter Mob.

Mila Jaroniec joined drDOCTOR for their year-end podcast.

Emily O’Neill’s poem “Proof” was included in the latest edition of Sundog Lit.

Natalia Theodoridou’s “The Ravens’ Sister” perched itself at The Kenyon Review Online.

J.E. Reich wrote about embracing the changing Jewish family for The Jewish Daily Forward.

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s “Sleepers” went up at Fantastic Stories of the Imagination.

Julie C. Day’s “Faerie Medicine,” which initially appeared in FLAPPERHOUSE #2, was reprinted by Luna Station Quarterly.