Crow & Cross Keys is a new, online literary journal that plucks fiction and poetry from skeletal trees and gives it a place to take root.
Send us your skeleton keys, your tar-black feathers, send us your calcified forests and ramshackle castles. Take us somewhere beautiful and dark and strange.
i stand in the same graveyard every morning and gargle saltwater / which bleeds
from my body overnight / i know i do not belong here / but eyes stare,
pleading, into mine from the ground / i feel my bones
and those / of my children, / embraced by dirt and worms and miles
of nothing /
The girl named Minus can start hands with her fire. She strikes matches against her skin to light them. As they burn, the flames don’t sputter. They’re overconfident for their size, conical little jets of fire like what comes out of the end of a blowtorch.
He wakes, pushes himself up to rest on his forearms, his pale shoulders jutting like scallop shells. He blinks against the blur– blue water, to no avail. Everything moves in flux, rippling in slow time. Whispers dance around him, muted echoes ebb and flow. He blinks again, tries to focus, but the world remains a curved and fluted half-dream.
Trying to classify inherently unknown entities whose very existence and nature remains unproven is a fool’s errand: How many types of ghosts are there? As many as you want there to be.
—Benjamin Bradford, The Curious Question of Ghost Taxonomy
She tells people that she doesn’t believe in witches, but / she doesn’t laugh as hard as the others at the old / woman who yells at kids walking by her herb garden.
They called her the Witch’s Daughter, but in truth, she was just a little girl.
From the tales in town, I’d expected to see a monster. Some terrible misshapen thing, too horrifying to behold, too scary to even begin to describe. From the stories, I expected bulging eyes, sharp white teeth, claws, an inhuman snarling voice, a hunched back and webbed toes.
So when I came to the place where they kept her, I peeked through the window to the little black room where she was held. There were no bulging eyes and sharp teeth. She was just a normal looking little girl.
Heartbreak is a spider resting in your chest. I read an unhealthy amount of romance novels, and I know what heartbreak is supposed to feel like – a crack in your ribcage, a sharp, stabbing pain that splits your soul in two. I expect it should feel as though something inside you is broken, but I can’t feel any breakage.