He saw the books on the kitchen table and knew that, in his absence, he had been subject to study; his name was imprinted on the covers and spines. She had left them in a pile, whether to soothe him with the recognition he had achieved, or by accident. The apartment was unchanged, instantly familiar […]


After the illness broke, her father had agreed to bring her to the mountains. But that had been Christmas and they had waited for over a month until winter strengthened enough to bring snow, even on the heights of the Blue Ridge. Molly’s frustration had turned to anticipation and then to boredom, a determination without […]


“I want you to read this. Read this, please. Will you?” The papers slid, rustling, across a countertop, dry already, after being wiped clean for closing, which happened, even in high season, earlier than any patron ever expected, as it was now five o’clock in the afternoon, and the sun was dim and disappeared over […]

Ceremony (epilogue)

The Cathedral is empty now. The ceremonies are not complete. The book is safe. I am safe. She is safe. “You understand,” she says. “No,” I say. There is more to do, and I am safe.

Ceremony (Chapter 6)

  The Cathedral gleamed unctuous in light from candles, corpulent, amassed like tropical flowers in heat, and pelting me with occasional droplets of wax that the candelabra could not contain, as I walked beneath them to the altar. The incense was thick like fog, and the air stretched dry like a sauna, so that I […]

Ceremony (Chapter 5)

Nothing in her greeting the morning following suggested that she knew what I had dreamt, and I did not dare to broach the subject. But later in the day, when she went out for errands and left me to begin preparations for dinner, I went into her room and opened first the chest at the […]

Ceremony (Chapter 4)

For the first few years living at home, I learned to sustain the constant demand for ceremonies that appeared to me each night in my dreams. The Cathedral has never left my sleep since I took possession of the blue stone, which I assume to be a talisman of some sort. But it might be […]