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            After the witch cursed Erin because they both loved the same boy, a horn grew right out of her head, twisting, twisting, in a sharp, drilling sort of pain. Her skin paled as bronze cheeks cooled to pearl and her hair silvered and always caught the lightest breeze as if she were running, free and fleet-footed, instead of trapped in this longing that—if she gave in—would end everything. The boy had told Erin that he loved her as much as she did him, and he said he would love her whether she were a dragon or a banshee or the half-unicorn she’d become. But what should she do when no one except the innocents saw her now, not her parents, not even the witch who’d so cleverly inflicted such a choice? The choice to have what she wanted and tangle their first-time bodies like the intimacy of their words only to become invisible to him, possibly even to herself, or the choice to stay just out of reach, haunting each other…

            Then the witch walks by and Erin—heart galloping with what if, what if—lowers her sharp, gleaming head.


Kathryn McMahon is an American writer living abroad with her British wife and dog. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, Syntax and Salt, Cease, Cows, (b)OINK, The Baltimore Review, Split Lip, Jellyfish Review, and Necessary Fiction, as well as in the food and horror anthology, Sharp & Sugar Tooth: Women Up to No Good (Upper Rubber Boot, 2019). She is a nominee for the 2017 Best of the Net Anthology and a prose reader for The Adroit Journal. She is currently at work on a flash and short story collection, Life in the Reptile House. On Twitter, she is @katoscope. Find more of her writing at darkandsparklystories.com.