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10 Stories that Brightened the Darkness of 2016

Most humanoids seem to be in agreement: 2016 was a twisty, turn-y rollercoaster ride of a year. So, in order to cap it off in the most joyful fashion possible, we're counting down some of the loveliest, weirdest, and most innovative stories we published this year. Listed in no particular order, we hope these ten stories will bring a little bit of light into your life and into the New Year.

 

10. TRANSIT
BY: SAGIRAH SHAHID

Words we can't forget:

"Mostly because she could hear the chalky shrieks of her mother rattling in the back of her head, lamenting that her college dropout daughter has further embarrassed her Muslim family by having mindless sex with a 37-year-old convicted felon—yada, yada, yada. It’s always about her mother. Even when it’s not."

 

9. DRAWING CLASS
BY: LAUREN MOON

Words we can't forget:

"I’ve always liked my body, despite what the media and my mother have to say about it—I adore its peaks and its valleys, its strong shoulders and swelling belly— which is why I never understood the pills my mom would hand me in the morning or the clothes she would buy me two sizes too small as “inspiration.” “Your face is your greatest weapon,” she often tells me. Three years and seventeen pounds prior, it was my ass."

 

8. MIGRATION
BY: GARRETT BIGGS

Words we can't forget:

". . . by the time they were finished it appeared that they had gone to some sort of war: microscopic feathers exploded across the room, hollow bones were bent against the floor, nectar and blood and bird semen lined the walls and stained the doors."

 

7. BOSELAPHUS TRAGOCAMELUS
BY: KANYA KANCHANA

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Words we can't forget:

"He put his snout—which is nose and mouth together—on my arm and said okay. I hugged his skull tight in the crook of my elbow, pulled out his tooth—the one that was already shaking—pushed it into the hole where my premolar used to be . . ."

 

6. BEDAZZLED
BY: CHRISTINE SIMOKAITIS

Words we can't forget:

"I wake to what I think is the voice of God commanding, 'Go from dull to dazzling!' My prayers have been answered! All those bits of sparkle! At last—a way for me to shine, AND it’s as easy as using a stapler!"

 

5. GAS MONEY
BY: KIM TEEPLE

Words we can't forget:

"Jim kills his brother with his Swiss Army knife and helps me to the Camaro. We drive for a long time. After a while I tell Jim we should kneel and pray. We kneel down right next to the Camaro in a rest area and I ask Jesus to help us find some money for gas."

 

4. THE GRAVITY OF GIANTS
AMANDA CHIADO

Words we can't forget:

"'My dad speaks in flowers,' I’d told the priest at confession. His tongue is the snap dragon, and his words are petals. You, you reading, you see my pretty! It is attached to a root that is attached to the darkness, a dark that holds all things dead and decaying. My father spoke in flowers—poisonous Azalea tongues. Do you hear hell in that? Azalea."

 

3. DEATH OF A SMALL CIVILIZATION
BRITTANY BRONSON

Words we can't forget:

"At first Tony mused on miracles. Sang in the shower, 'God provides, God provides.' Then he insisted on technology, that opportunities would become available. 'They're making robots now!' he once said, and I pictured twin infant robots, what it might feel like to nurture them with my breast milk, only to empty it out later through their removable lower back hatches as a kind of mandatory maintenance procedure."

 

2. FIVE WIVES
BY: AMINA HARPER

Words we can't forget:

 "He buys me flowy pink dresses, pairs of Mary Janes the color of cotton candy, and perfumes that smell like cupcakes. He likes me to wear these things when I walk along the arch of his back and crush his toes beneath my heels. Mr. V also likes to talk about werewolves, even while I shove jawbreakers into his mouth."

 

1. OUT OF THE STRONG, SOMETHING SWEET
BY: LEESA CROSS-SMITH

Words we can't forget:

"How they'd hold their arms up against mine and say I'm almost as dark as you and I wouldn't say anything because everyone knows white people want to be black and no white person wants to be black. It's hard to understand because it's both. I just liked how hot my skin could get out there."

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