Tag Archives: The Rules of Magic Blankets

“The Rules of Magic Blankets” – Fiction by E.H. Brogan

illustration by E.H. Brogan

Childlike logic grapples with nighttime terror in “The Rules of Magic Blankets,”  E.H. Brogan‘s playfully spooky flash fiction from our Winter 2019 issue.

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THE RULES OF MAGIC BLANKETS ARE AS THIS:

IF i am a child, and IF i am tucked in, and IF i cannot sleep;

IF the leaves and arthritic finger-branches of the deciduous tree outside my window insist on shifting, sometimes furtive, sometimes maniac and distressed;

and IF no matter the size of the moon or its lost face there’s ambient light eternal thrown by streetlamps and adult windows lit up after dusk, so that the second-story shadows cast in my room of the animal-alive old oak can never die or be obliterated, so i can never flee them except into sleep, which my terror keeps me from;

and IF i am sure that in the stammer and slide of thrown-off dark on darker void i’ve seen – i do not know for words but i have seen, and my just-minted eyes are sharp and while i cannot name them that i saw, — cannot explain them, cannot be said in any adult sense to understand them in intellect or language or your grown-up fashion — in flashes: sinister tails on ground snake hidden, the sheen of matted fur, reptile armor formed of scales, light refracted in two condensed red eyes peering out a well, the hint of mushroom breath rotting but with caution in between and around bladed fangs;

IF, THEN it can be said: i know there bide monsters in the murky depths around me, yes, my very bedroom, and somewheres, for once a monster finds a favored haunt it advertises, it leaves a scent to telegraph the sweet spot among all of them. so yes IF there exist monsters in my very room THEN magic must so too.

so IF there’s monsters who drag nails as long-grown as my fingertip to bottom palm along the ground while they stalk, and i trust my eyes and this IF, it’s only IF to speak to you — then i can use magic on my side, too. monsters and magic or nothing.

so IF i can smell their long-past meals of little sleepless girls and boys in fragments ossified under yellow claws and scores of morsels slicked among their greasy beards and wedged between their teeth then i declare my blanket’s unreal too.

it’s already special, woven wide so holes were left through it in the thick-spun cotton weave. i call it my cold blanket because when summer’s hot, the windows open and the cicadas all a hundred degrees or four more in their hum i cannot dream of sleep without some blanket despite sweat so in covering me this one is my solution. this blanket which is here but also halfway not in spaces blooms in its existence out along two planes: this one where my parents see me, kiss my cheek and smooth the linens down as well as that other one where in the closet a shadow grunts between his breaths and the oak tree branches become witch hands which scrape at the windowglass.

so IF there are monsters and magic THEN i cast this spell: my cold blanket cobwebs over me til i become invisible to monsters while they prowl. slithers and ghouls find nothing. so long as any part of me’s slipped under this my beige-spun sentry, unshrinkingly vigilant, i’m like its holes unseen. all i took and made this happen with was my sweat and fear and my belief, unswerving, whipped and cooked from child-sense.

what i see, i see. i cannot root out all the monsters but can manage to keep me safe. so IF there’s magic and there’s monsters i don’t even mind – i turn on my side and sigh and like a jaw snaps shut, another night’s conquested. i sleep with the confidence of death.

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E.H. BROGAN creates in Newark, DE. She writes poetry and prose, sometimes. She sketches, draws, paints, colors, collages, creates artisan paper/paper products, knits, and bookbinds in between John Irving novels (currently; the Irving expedition kicked off in 2018, to continue until completion). She has had art or writing published in places like Flapperhouse, Five2One Magazine and Sideshow, Red Paint Hill, and the Portland Review. Her blog is not updated frequently but a list of all publications with links can be found at emilyhopebrogan.blogspot.com. She also tweets @wheresmsbrogan and IGs her casual art at comics_by_e.h.brogan

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