Here is an archive of all my short stories on the site.

The Seder

April 19, 2022 by M. Fabian Stiles

“Look at this! Do you remember this?” Klara pulled a white enamel pot from the deepest recesses of the kitchen cupboard. “It’s the pot Grandma always used when she made matzo soup for the Seder dinner. As I recall, she only used it for Passover and not for anything else.” “You keep it, Klara. I […]

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February 26, 2022 by M. Fabian Stiles

“This way to the coat check window,” the angel Tiferiel said as she guided the newly arrived souls toward their final destination.  “You won’t be needing your winter coats anymore. Ezeriel will issue you a gossamer robe – one size fits all.”             Amazingly, it did.             “Perhaps you can give this to someone else–someone […]

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January 29, 2021 by M. Fabian Stiles

She awoke in a bed that was not her own in a room that was not the room she remembered. It was hard to get up; she didn’t understand why her legs ached and her arms felt stiff. They hadn’t always felt that way. Only yesterday she had awoken in her own small bed tucked […]

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August 9, 2020 by M. Fabian Stiles

Embryonic darkness lulls the skeletal sleeper into a floating dream. There is no sound, no sight, no flavor…only the fragrance of raw earth…no sensation except a smothering warmth broken by veins of cool, snaking water tangled in the groping roots of ancient trees. Their tentative touch shivers rusty bones, tantalizing them with whispers of sunlight […]

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Urban Legends of Babi Yaga: The Fifth Sighting

July 10, 2020 by M. Fabian Stiles

As Chelsea parked her best friend Jill’s car, she heard the front tire squeal as it dug into the curb. Cursing under her breath, she pushed the shift into neutral and managed to grind the gears. “Jill loves her car. She’ll hate me,” Chelsea groaned. It was bad enough she had filched the keys out […]

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Urban Legends Of Babi Yaga: The Fourth Sighting

June 11, 2019 by M. Fabian Stiles

A soft wind unclenched the winter’s chill and stirred withered leaves hanging from skeletal branches, imbuing them with a tingle of life. Defying the ice that constricted its embankment, a swift-flowing river ran a gauntlet past trees knotting deep roots into the frozen ground. Taking care to avoid patches of ice and snow, Ardith kept […]

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Urban Legends Of Babi Yaga – The 3rd Sighting

January 21, 2019 by M. Fabian Stiles

The terrifying dream haunted Willow at night and stalked her by day. As time worn on, she fought against an incessant weariness that pressed against her eyelids, fearing the nightmare would return the minute she succumbed to sleep. She had begun dreaming after the accident; always the same dream. Trapped in an underground chamber, she […]

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Urban Legnds Of Babi Yaga

June 16, 2018 by M. Fabian Stiles

AN INTRODUCTION Babi Yaga is a witch who figures in most Russian Fairy Tales. A malevolent old crone with one long fang overhanging her lower lip, she whirls through the air in a magic mortar and pestle, cutting great crop circles into wheat fields whenever she descends. Although Babi Yagi dresses in moon colors–red, white […]

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Job’s Daughter

March 15, 2018 by M. Fabian Stiles

I’m falling, falling through the smoke rings of dreams into darkest night. My screams are muffled, my sight is muted by mist. A faint, malingering odor of mildew ebbs and flows through this black, vertical tunnel. Cold moistens the air with tangibility, permeates my grasping hands, my flaying feet. I taste the cold, so bitter […]

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Noahs Wife

August 1, 2017 by M. Fabian Stiles

Her husband was mad; building a ship as big as a house in the front yard. He was quite mad and worst of all, the neighbors knew it. How could they not? What started out as a secret between her husband and God mushroomed into the giant skeleton of a ship’s hull sprawling over her […]

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May 31, 2017 by M. Fabian Stiles

“Kim, help Denise into the front seat,” Laurie directed as she opened the passenger’s door of her SUV then flung her silk turquoise scarf over her shoulder. “I’m not an invalid,” Denise insisted but Laurie was already hurrying toward a tall, dark woman walking toward the driver’s side. “Maureen, you drive around to the front […]

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The Descent Of Inanna, A Modern Take On The Summarian Myth

January 27, 2017 by M. Fabian Stiles

“Without death, there is no life.” Repeating this like a mantra, I steady my nerves as I creep into the cavern leading to the underworld. Without warning, the sandy earth gives way beneath my feet, plunging me into a pit. In the demi-darkness the outline of a stone staircase beckons, tunneling down to the first […]

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December 7, 2016 by M. Fabian Stiles

They-who-guard-the-door stood watch as Stella checked the lock once, then twice. She never trusted herself to set the deadbolt and she didn’t trust her husband Seth not to leave his house keys dangling below the doorknob after he came home from work. Some nights Stella checked the door a third time, not knowing that the […]

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Thanksgiving Essay

November 1, 2016 by M. Fabian Stiles

Bristling pellets of ice, filigree flakes of snow smoke the sky, fogging the road that winds toward a country restaurant where we’ll meet up with friends. We drive slowly, peering through the mist. Jim’s eyes stray across a spectral field to the shadow of a house. “That was my grandparents’ home sixty years ago.” I […]

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Past Lives (Essay)

September 23, 2016 by M. Fabian Stiles

I carry a burden of souls, a patchwork quilt of transmigration. They are cocooned in this body, this drop of amber crystallized in time, a cluster of embryos crying to be reborn, resolving fear, envy, lust, anger, grief. So many emotions to unravel in this single lifetime and to reknit as a single, cohesive shroud […]

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The Wolf Boy

August 10, 2016 by M. Fabian Stiles

Eight year old Kate toyed with her favorite cat-eye marble as she watched Papa throwing balls at the Summer Carnival, trying to win her a hula doll. All of a sudden the marble popped out of her hand and rolled under a Side Show tent. Papa was busy winding up his pitching arm, so Kate […]

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June 8, 2016 by M. Fabian Stiles

Jock girls in sweats and tee shirts advertising last year’s wrestling competition laughing with eyes, mouths shmacking gum swap private jokes with fist bumps, comfortable in their own skin. Dancers crowd around mirrors in fifth position adding a touch of blush, glittering eyeshadow, hands wave like gilded fans; appreciative eyes devouring sparkle. Chocolate girl cranes […]

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May 6, 2016 by M. Fabian Stiles

They stand in a photograph frozen in time: the three Graces or three Graeae. At times, when I was growing up, I thought they turned into Gorgons—but not all at the same time because their loyalties were fluid. Aunt Lilly and Aunt Vallie would gang up on Mom, then Aunt Vallie would support Mom against […]

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April 11, 2016 by M. Fabian Stiles

Earline shot a frosty glare at a weary St. Peter as she stood by the pearly gates. “I should be right at the top of your list.” She pitched her voice into the high-octave whine that always attracted attention at the Walmart Customer Service counter. “It’s Earline Mae Johnson. J-o-h-“ “I can spell, thank you.” […]

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March 2, 2016 by M. Fabian Stiles

When I tried on my Father’s World War II Army Air Force uniform, I was startled to find I couldn’t button it. He must have been a slender eighteen-year-old, thinner than I am at sixty-five, but he already bore the burden of his family’s care on his frail shoulders. My Grandfather had died years earlier. […]

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The Ninth Life

January 22, 2016 by M. Fabian Stiles

Midnight … two o’clock … four o’clock. The old girl was still alive, curled into her basket–a mere skeleton of a cat coated thinly in fur. She’s as tiny now as the kitten she once was, abandoned at the front door of my floral shop twenty years ago. Back then she had been nestled in […]

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Good King Wenceslaus

December 15, 2015 by M. Fabian Stiles

“Good King Wenceslaus looked out on Christmas morning …” Morris mumbled the holiday song as he hunkered over his computer. His therapist had suggested he sing a calming melody from his childhood whenever he started to feel tense, but he couldn’t remember the rest of the words. “Good King Wenceslaus…” Morris’ croaking voice dwindled into […]

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November 9, 2015 by M. Fabian Stiles

Every autumn it seems that Vagabond Death stops at my house uninvited, attracted perhaps by the proliferation of Halloween masks and stale candy, He appears at my door flashing his sheepish wolf’s grin–teeth bared, incisors sharpened. His eyes are quizzical, dark pools drowning in mystery. He’s wearing the same coarse black, horsehair robe–a little dustier, […]

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October 18, 2015 by M. Fabian Stiles

A READERS’ THEATRE PRESENTATION by Marlene Stiles copyright Marlene Stiles 2008 Characters: Jonah, an erstwhile prophet Bat Kol, the voice from heaven Sea Captain Peddler The King of Nineveh Narrator And a sound effects chorus Narrator One particularly balmy day in early spring, as the sun shone brightly and the birds chirped — Chorus Chirp! […]

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The Book of Job

September 3, 2015 by M. Fabian Stiles

A Play in One Act by Marlene Stiles Copyright Marlene Stiles 2008 Setting: the front room of an old farmhouse, comfortably furnished with family heirlooms. Characters: Myra, a woman in her mid sixties LENA, her sister MacKenzie, their young neighbor As the lights come up, Lena seated in an armchair, reading a newspaper. Myra crosses […]

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Excerpt From Work In Progress

June 19, 2015 by M. Fabian Stiles

In the morning, when the world is wet with dew, it is because Star is crying. Long ago, Star and Sand had a contest to see who was greater. The one with the most children would win. Sand counted first. He counted all the stars, then he lay down so Star could count, but Star […]

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Two-Minute Memior: Turning Points

May 15, 2015 by M. Fabian Stiles

Love at first sight seems illogical, unless you have suffered a head blow and subsequent damage to the frontal lobe. Yet we often rely on an intuition that transcends logic and succumb to that moment of electricity when two people make an instantaneous connection. Call it ‘falling madly, head-over-heels in love.’ It can happen to […]

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April 17, 2015 by M. Fabian Stiles

Miriam climbed a high ridge hunched like a hyena’s backbone, tufted with shocks of wild grass withering in the desert heat. This ridge formed the boundary between the black land and the red. Black land was an arable strip bordering both banks of the Nile River. The yearly floods regenerated it with loam that replenished […]

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Sarah’s Choice

March 20, 2015 by M. Fabian Stiles

“Wait!” Sarah cried as she ran from her tent, shouldering a flask of wine and a satchel filled with flatbread and dates. Breathless, she hurried back to the shade tree where the travelers had rested. They were nowhere to be seen. Neither was her husband Abraham, who had had apparently gone down the road with […]

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February 17, 2015 by M. Fabian Stiles

Dark skies thundered like lions and lightning blazed as if the wrath of God had been unleashed upon the earth. Mothers with children, like Raquel’s older sister Leah, huddled in their tents and told whimsical stories about the heavens opening their gates so the spirits of their ancestors could return to the earth bringing gifts […]

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January 20, 2015 by M. Fabian Stiles

Slowly, reverentially, the funeral procession approached the cave that served as the family tomb. Jacob the patriarch raised his hand and his entourage of wives, children, daughters-in-law and grandchildren halted abruptly. Leaning on Benjamin, his youngest and favorite son, the old man bent his head as he tread upon hallowed ground. His four oldest sons […]

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December 20, 2014 by M. Fabian Stiles

Rebecca turned her face to the wall as her husband Isaac entered her tent. “Send him away. I can’t forgive him,” she whispered to Deborah, the old nurse who had cared for Rebecca since she was a child. “He forced me to the threshold of death …” Rebecca’s voice faded from exhaustion. Deborah waved Isaac […]

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Hagar and Sarah

November 20, 2014 by M. Fabian Stiles

Their eyes locked: the handmaiden and her mistress. In earlier days, Hagar would have looked away. This time she held Sarah’s gaze and redirected it to her own swelling belly. Sarah turned, blinking furiously. Hagar smiled with satisfaction. “I am as good as you are-better!” Hagar’s eyes told Sarah. “I am giving the Master a […]

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October 20, 2014 by M. Fabian Stiles

“Damnit! I’ll show you!” Tony lifted a sledgehammer over his head. His computer erupted with laughter. His sledgehammer froze in midair. Puzzlement superseded anger as his monitor flared with an array of crimson flames. “What the hell?” The sledgehammer’s weight settled heavily on his shoulder. Blind fury stung him and he raised it again. He […]

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In Search of Water

October 1, 2014 by M. Fabian Stiles

This failed summer, dry-eyed, taunts the thirsting ground with clouds shadowed in lavender. The Earth cries out with parched lips. Its voice is dust whirled on wind. It claws at clouds that do not tear to spill their moisture onto dry bones. Dig deep. Somewhere at the roots of mountains is worm-riddled loam where our […]

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Death Angel

August 1, 2014 by M. Fabian Stiles

Every morning when I wake up, I find the Death Angel sitting on the edge of my bed. She’s always beautiful in the light of dawn. Brushing aside her long, auburn hair, she peers at me with languid eyes then pulls the warm covers up over my shoulders. Her full lips part, exhuming moist breath […]

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The Demon’s Wedding

June 1, 2014 by M. Fabian Stiles

Rain chased the children indoors even as sunlight poured over the garden bordered with grape hyacinth, sweet william and johnny-jump-ups. April and her older sister crowded onto the back porch, clutching their bedraggled dolls. They watched in astonishment as the sun continued to shine as rain hammered the lawn and flowerbeds. April turned to her […]

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The Seder Dinner

May 1, 2014 by M. Fabian Stiles

“Look at this! Do you remember this? Klara pulled a white enamel pot from the deepest recesses of the kitchen cupboard. “It’s the pot Grandma always used when she made matzo soup for the Seder dinner. As I recall, she only used it for the seder dinner and not anything else.” Klara held the pot […]

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Foray Into the Heartland

April 5, 2014 by M. Fabian Stiles

Green earth stretches to infinity. Corn and soybean fields fill the horizon under the sky’s vast blue basin. We leave the hustle of the interstate and find a parallel two-lane road that stitches farms to half empty towns. Here and there a dilapidated farmhouse, abandoned to owls and mice, stands beside a newly built house […]

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The Promise

March 1, 2014 by M. Fabian Stiles

Liliane hummed to herself as she turned down the stretch of unpaved road that cut through wide fields planted with green onions. The leafy furrows alternated with rows of irrigation water that glimmered like shiny blue ribbons in the morning sun. She remembered how she had grown up on an organic truck farm, but had […]

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Baby Me

February 1, 2014 by M. Fabian Stiles

“Don’t climb on the headstones in the cemetery,” Mandy’s grandmother warned her. “Yes, Nana.” Mandy said but almost added that she had no choice except to play in the cemetery. There were no children in her grandparents’ rural neighborhood except for Linda, the caretaker’s daughter. Her family lived at the cemetery entrance. Mandy rode her […]

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January 5, 2014 by M. Fabian Stiles

We order three forks and a slice of tiramisu garnished with fresh strawberries. The delicacy simmers in our mouths like Marcel Proust’s tisane, stimulating memory. You tell us that black slaves hid watermelon seeds in their hair, smuggling their heritage out of Africa as a food to stave off starvation. Other foods grew out of […]

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January 15, 2013 by M. Fabian Stiles

The sun burned high in the dry blue sky, cloudless except for the cloud’s omnipresent tower. The great cloud led them by day and burned over their camp at night. As she looked up at the cloud, Ripzah felt the sun scorch her bare head and neck. The heat and the fine dust stirred up […]

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Love Story

December 15, 2012 by M. Fabian Stiles

Lillith crouched in an undifferentiated corner, her face lifted to the fluctuating light of an undefined sun. There was no wind–it had not yet been imagined. A pale suggestion of fragrance threaded the still air that hung moist and motionless, heavy with promise. Tentative sounds reached out to stroke her ears, but she brushed them […]

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November 15, 2012 by M. Fabian Stiles

She awoke in a bed that was not her own in a room that was not the room she remembered. It was hard to get up; she didn’t understand why her legs ached and her arms felt stiff. They hadn’t always felt that way. Only yesterday she had awoken in her own small bed tucked […]

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October 15, 2012 by M. Fabian Stiles

The alarm curdled in Madea’s ears as she tumbled out of bed. Her fist shot out and crushed the annoying, rhinestone bejeweled mechanism. It was the third one she’d broken that week. Nonplussed, she stumbled into well-worn slippers, scratched her sizable rump and ambled to the shower. Madea enjoyed her four-day-on, three-day-off work week until […]

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September 15, 2012 by M. Fabian Stiles

Willie cried when she tried to pick him up. When she touched his hind legs, he nipped at her fingers. She grumbled at her stiff left arm that wouldn’t move properly. Her arm hung awkwardly at her side and throbbed when she bent her elbow, making it impossible to cradle the old cat. Meanwhile Willie’s […]

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