Fiction · 01/03/2018


She slept all summer and only woke up when it snowed. We’d all spot the first flakes of the season drifting down outside our windows and think to ourselves, Oh good, it’s been so long since we’ve seen Mabel!

She wore a velvety black jacket made from the skin of something. Lewis thought it was a bear, but I thought it was probably the skin of the night sky.

She baked the best bread of anyone. She told us the secret ingredient was a cupful of snow gathered before it hit the ground. I had my mother bake a loaf once, but she used snow that had already fallen, and it wasn’t as good.

Mabel had a little cabin built out in the woods. She shot anyone who came near it in the knee. She could shoot a bird flying south from two towns away. Most parents told their kids not to go near her. She was dangerous, but that’s why we liked her.

She smoked these thin cigarettes, and instead of floating away like normal, the smoke got tangled up in her hair and stayed there, so she was always walking around in a cloud.

When the first crocus buds starting gawking up out of the ground, shaky-headed and shy, she stalked back to her cabin and stayed there. Said she couldn’t stand anything tender.


Maria Romasco Moore’s stories have appeared in Diagram, Hobart, Interfictions, and Lightspeed. She received an MFA in fiction from Southern Illinois University and currently teaches writing at Columbus College of Art and Design. “Mabel” is an excerpt from her full-length collection of flash fiction, GHOSTOGRAPHS, inspired by found vintage photographs and forthcoming from Rose Metal Press in October 2018.