Death is Only the Beginning
- by K.R. Diaz -
The sky never cleared in Flood City; it just turned a different shade of muck between showers. The day Cyd and Mari closed the Whitney case, it was a thin, first-round-laundry gray. A promising colour. Everyone turned out to take advantage of the almost-light. The streets filled with kids ploughing their bikes through the shallows while neighbours under awnings floated snacks back and forth on covered rafts and streamed the playoffs from someone’s phone projector. The foot highways were clogged with people, and even a bird swooped over the intersection between South Town and West Village. Cyd watched it fly into the fog until the line down the exit ramp sloshed forward.
Mari glared at the hot, neon-painted mess and turtled deeper into her raincoat. “The one time we go out for lunch,” she grumbled.
“I guess our plan wasn’t so special after all.”
Cyd looked over her shoulder at the traffic up in West Village. Barely a trickle. You could always depend on those rich shut-ins to have a private shuttle hiding in the garage, or shell out for a delivery service. Back when they’d been together, Raya’d had at least half her errands run for her by drone, and Cyd had given in to the convenience and borrowed her account more than a couple of times. But that was before she’d blown their relationship straight to hell. Presumably. When your girlfriend clears out her stuff while you’re out on a case, you don’t get to ask questions. And five days since finding the apartment empty, Cyd hadn’t been given any answers.
“What do you think?” Mari was looking over at Cyd, and none too thrilled that she hadn’t been paying attention.
“The new case. Do you think it’s a Ghost?”
Cyd shrugged. “If it’s a Ghost, it must be one hell of a new roll-out. The last time I saw one of those things, I thought I was looking at a reject Barbie from the Uncanny Valley.”
“That was a long time ago. Besides, people see what they want to see,” Mari said. “Especially when it comes to family.”
“Doesn’t mean it’s not creepy.”
“I’d work on that robophobic language if I were you.”
Cyd shivered. “Sorry if I prefer real people to metal copies. Anyway, I didn’t catch anything in the finances that would cover that kind of tech, but we can dig back a little further. If our guy was enough of an asshole to disown his kids when they were thirteen, who knows what a program of his brother would do in one of those things? It wouldn’t be the first time one of those data-heads kept secrets from the surviving family.”
“Maybe I should get one for when I die; they’re going to start releasing less expensive models next year. I could follow you around the office all day and jump out from behind your desk.”
“Not sure what Alejandra would think of that.”
“Are you kidding? She’d probably be hiding there with me.” Mari grinned at the thought and took out her microvape, gripped it between her teeth as she fumbled with the buttons. “I’ll start making a list of enemies in case the idea doesn’t pan out. It’s always easy to fuck with people when they’re grieving.”
A stream of punch pink smoke floated out from under her rain hood. Cyd tilted her head back to watch as it swam up to join the haze sailing over the muted streetlights. A whole family of smoky waves, coming together and coating the clouds in a strawberry glow. Sometimes you have to make your own damn sunset, Cyd thought with a smirk. “Sounds good, Mar,” she said.
The light at the end of the ramp turned green, Mari let out another exhale, and they shuffled towards the underpass with the rest of the crowd.
“I’m calling it now: the duchess double-crosses him in the next update and turns out to actually be his dead wife, not that reincarnation crap they want us to think.” Raya waved the screen away with her finger and flopped down on the bed.
“What the hell makes you think that?”
“Because it’s the only thing that makes sense.” Raya snuggled closer under the sheets as a flicker of blue lightning broke through the dark. There was just enough light for Cyd to see her sleepy, absolutely confident smile. “Bet you twenty bucks.”
“First off, sweetheart, you still owe me ten from the last one you guessed wrong. Remember Gladiator Queen?”
“She should have died! It would’ve been more poetic. And when I’m right about this one, I’ll be nice and only make you pay me the difference.”
Raya moved in for a kiss and Cyd let her, if only so she could steal another.
“And second,” Cyd continued, “you do remember that this one’s about vampires in outer space, right? Nothing makes sense.”
Raya batted her eyelashes, so sure she’d already won. “Are you gonna take my bet or leave it, Princess?”
Cyd smirked. It was the best joke in their relationship. Raya had the mansion in West Village and Cyd was the Princess. Raya had explained it once, how she had taken one look at Cyd across the bar at Baby’s and thought she needed a good dragging out of a tower, but to Cyd, it was just one of the ironies you had to admire before you died. “Fine, twenty bucks. But don’t give me any puppy eyes when I’m right and you’re wrong.”
“Trust me,” Raya said. “No one gets to live the same love twice or write over their old mistakes. Not even trashy space vampires.”
They settled in next to each other as the rain pattered its numbing beat on the window. Just as Cyd was about to drift off, Raya prodded her with her fingers and whispered, “You never said what your guess is.”
“The duchess gets her past life memories and when the vampire comes in for the rescue, she figures they deserve a second chance. They blow up the station, run off, and do everything right this time.” She shrugged. “There’s always an easy way out in dumb stories.”
Cyd and Mari shouldered their way through the wrap-around-the-building crowd at Baby’s and swiped the stools Alejandra saved for them out from behind the counter and sat down. There was no getting away from the heavy press of claustrophobia and ramshackle levity that spread like mould over the city, but Mari’s wife had managed to make the place a little more bearable since buying it out. Trays of margaritas with plastic umbrellas ironically planted on the side of the glass floated between tables, thick bands of old LEDs zigzagged over the ceiling in shades of electric red and blue, and flashes of white light from phone screens blinked out form the corners of the dining area like tiny rescue signals.
“What’s up, Mamacitas!” Alejandra smiled over from behind the bar. She passed her latest customer their rainbow-colored cocktail before sliding over to meet the pair. “What’s cooking today?”
“We closed our latest case,” Mari said proudly, her face tilted up for a kiss.
“Ay, mi amor, that’s amazing!”
“And then she called our new client a fuck-canoe,” Cyd added. “Not that they didn’t deserve it, but . . .”
The look Alejandra gave Mari was anything but scolding, but she tried.
Cyd took the couple’s moment of distraction to scan the room. All the tables were pushed together to make room for the new karaoke stage, but she could still remember where Raya had liked to sit: close to the bar, but not too close to the entrance. She liked to be able to choose between people watching and drifting away in her own thoughts. It was crazy how two people who didn’t like talking to strangers had found each other in this mess, but she and Raya had. And against all reason, Cyd hoped they’d find each other again, if only so she could ask what went wrong.
“Going somewhere, Space Head?” Mari asked.
Cyd snapped back to attention. Either the love-fest had ended more quickly than she’d thought or she was losing her grip. “Just thinking,” she said. “Hey, are you still running the taco special, Alejandra?”
Her friend eyed the clock. “Just barely. I’ll get you some extra queso with this one for looking after my girl all day.” Her teasing smile faded and she leaned over the bar to look at Cyd more closely. “Level with me. Are you still taking care of yourself?”
“If I was struggling again, I’d tell you,” Cyd replied. “Promise.”
For a moment their eyes took over the conversation and Cyd remembered that she’d known Alejandra for at least twice as long as she’d known Mari. Alejandra had her number, and she knew how to dial her back to earth. Whenever Cyd would let her.
Alejandra broke the look with a bittersweet smile. “I’ll get your orders in. Back in a second, girls.”
As soon as she left, Cyd was stuck with the sick, weighty feeling of having caught herself in a lie. It wasn’t like she’d stopped showering, most of the time. And she had helped close that manslaughter case. But she had also let Raya’s water garden turn brown. And she didn’t sleep so much as pass out in front of her screen with four hours to go before wake-up. It was only when her thoughts fuzzed out into static and the street currents stagnated, when she was looking for a place to be besides her tiny, empty-feeling apartment, then the part of her that belonged to Raya gripped her from the depths and pulled her in. She’d turn up on the West Village freeway when she meant to go to the store for a new lightbox or instant breakfast.
And sometimes, when she was putting off her paperwork, she’d go diving through Raya’s old feeds for any sign of where she might be. What she might be thinking. Was there another woman using her drone service for coffee now? Was she dry? The search never turned up much. Raya had thought social media was tedious, and only kept two accounts. The last picture she’d posted had been of a slate-and-white morning sky. No landmarks to place it. And no caption.
Cyd looked back at the crowded tables. A woman had just come in, hair frizzing in the humidity as she shook the water from her umbrella. She checked her mascara, the same way Raya might have, and fixed her blazer so it framed her chest just right. Raya’s favorite blazer.
Cyd’s vision bubbled like an old picture melting under fire. She had made up this scene at least a hundred times in her head: Raya at Baby’s. Running late. Standing by the door. Smiling like the past five days hadn’t happened. Like she didn’t have a single damn thing to say. And now the dull criss-crossing overhead lights were throwing shadow mosaics over Raya’s hat and across her cheek, but it was her.
“Raya,” she whispered.
The karaoke mic screeched. Cyd ducked her head to swipe her raincoat off its peg under the table. When she checked the door, Raya was gone.
“You okay?” Mari asked.
“Yeah, I just—listen, tell the missus I’m sorry about the tacos,” she said. “I gotta get somewhere.”
Mari’s brow furrowed, not following. “We don’t have another appointment today.”
“No. Something else. I just—I gotta go!”
Cyd shoved her way into the street and ran up the exit ramp to get to the highway as fast as possible. She could see Raya’s shuttle in the distance, fading into the rain. She was back. And she was running away, again. But this time, Cyd wasn’t going to let her get her way.
The rain had melted into a soupy fog by the time Cyd reached the West Village limits. She kept her hood up and her feet moving. She didn’t have to look to know where she was going. She knew the way to Raya’s better than she knew her route to her own apartment.
Here we are again.
From the apex of the highway, Raya’s house looked like a building out of an architect’s psychedelic dream. Steep pointed roofs capped every tower and vaulted ceiling; narrow windows lined up like dominoes turned up their black-frame noses at everyone looking too long; and granite eagles with flat, art-deco wings guarded every corner. Just as the mist-sea sank down to a low tide, the filigree over the front door started to shine, just a little, and Cyd smiled. The first time she’d come here was to help set up a party Raya had been throwing for work. All her guests had to take at least five seconds to move past their slack-jawed surprise, because how did someone as conventional-looking as Raya willingly stay in a place that looked like an art house horror set? And maybe it was because Cyd could practically read the snark on the guests’ foreheads, or the panic in Raya’s eyes as she looked to her for help, but in that moment, the mansion had become the ugliest, most beautiful house in the world.
No one answered when she knocked on the door. She tried the handle next. To her surprise, the door opened without so much as a squeak. Cyd stared into the lightless space beyond.
“Raya? I know you’re in here!”
She took a careful step inside and shut the door. Raya’s boots and blazer were drying on a stool at the end of the foyer. She was definitely home. She just wasn’t answering.
Cyd checked the piano room first. Raya liked to sit at the keys for awhile when she was in a mood. But the room was empty. The mirrors that lined the walls only reflected darkness. She tried the copper-studded kitchen and the little bedroom on the second floor next, but it was the same story. Dark. Abandoned. Pristine. It was as if the house had been replaced with a life-size model, something painstakingly put together, but never lived in. She shook the clammy chill riding up her back and made her way up to the fourth floor. There was one place left.
“That wasn’t too painful, was it?”
Cyd gave a noncommittal grunt and pressed herself closer against Raya. Glitter dust swirled around them along with the rest of the party’s collateral damage: broken glassware, a pile of overturned chips that had been stepped on too many times, and several wadded up napkins and empty bottles rolling languidly around the floor. None of it was going anywhere until tomorrow, after they’d had some sleep. And they weren’t getting any sleep until they finished this dance.
The speakers were dying down to static, and their feet hurt from standing all night, but they never fell off the track they’d worked into the floor. One slow circle around the lounge after another, like one of Raya’s antique records taking its last spin on the turntable.
“Forest said he had a good time, which I hope translates into a confirmation on my promotion,” Raya said. "And from what I heard from Layla, you actually made a positive first impression on a human being?”
“Well I didn’t stay to ruin your reputation and spit in Honey-snot’s salad dressing.”
“Her name is Honeysuckle, and I don’t want to know if you actually did that or not.”
“Yes you do. Guess.”
“I’m not guessing about your self-entertaining antics with my coworkers.”
“I’ll bet you a back-rub for the right answer.”
Raya began to think. “You did.”
“Nope. But I’ll take that back-rub whenever you’re ready, sweetheart.” The music finally died with a soft, electric sigh. Cyd and Raya stilled. Rain pelted the windows outside indifferently. “I have to say, for being just another rainy day down here, the party wasn’t so bad. With you.”
“Are you actually about to express a real feeling with your words? I may need to sit down for this.”
Cyd stepped gently on her toes and smirked. “Don’t be mad just because you have to rub my back. And yeah, I mean it. We’re all just on one terrible water ride toward the eternal drain of nothing. But at least my seat’s with you. That probably counts for something.”
“I love you too, Princess.”
Through some alchemy that had to be against at least three different building codes, the gold plated walls in Raya’s fourth floor lounge slanted at dramatic angles and broke out into cubist-styled growths around a floor-to-ceiling window. When the lights were on, like the night of the party, the whole room shone like a deconstructed geode. But when Cyd stepped in, the lounge was more of a nightmare lake. The curtains were drawn. The darkness sinister and absolute. The furniture, marooned on glossy surface rather than displayed. Cyd pressed her feet firmly into the floor to remind herself it wasn’t going to suck her under and felt along the wall for the light.
It was one of the most offensive things she could’ve heard. Five days with no note, no sign, not even a perfunctory ‘go to hell’ before turning up at her friend’s cantina, and Raya still wanted to keep her in the dark. But Cyd didn’t have the energy to snap as hard as she wanted to. She only sneered, “I thought we were playing hide and seek.”
Raya said nothing. There was a faint clink of ice in a glass and the whisper of silk as her shadow moved off the couch and stood.
“I’d say you’re it now, but I got pretty beat coming this far and trying to figure out what the hell happened to you. What do you say we call it a draw and you start cluing me in for a change?”
Still nothing. The wind started to taper out of Cyd’s sails. It had be something pretty serious if Raya wasn’t shooting back at her jibes. She’d never missed a chance before.
Cyd stepped into the room. Every squeak of her shoes on the tile reminded her in the most unfriendly terms that she wasn’t supposed to be there. No one had asked her to come to the rescue. She hadn’t called or messaged first. But Raya didn’t move away as she came up beside her either. She was barely more than a silhouette, but Cyd caught the familiar details: the thick waves of her hair that pillowed around her shoulders no matter how she tried to straighten them out; the tightrope line of her jaw; her tight, tiny shoulders that always scrunched up when she was stressed. Like now. “You can tell me,” Cyd said. “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah. I—went over to Baby’s out of habit. I wasn’t sure if you would be there.”
There was already something not right with the sound of her voice. She was stilted, uncertain. And since when did that ever describe Raya? But Cyd wasn’t focused on that. “You know you could’ve called, right? I would’ve answered.”
“It was just an impulse. A habit, like I said. I thought I would leave a note with Alejandra to help—give you some closure. But it didn’t seem like such a good idea when I got there, so I left.”
“Well I’m here now.”
“I can see that.” Raya folded her arms over herself and shivered visibly.
“C’mere.” Cyd slipped off her jacket and draped it around Raya’s shoulders. And only then, with a padded layer of fabric between them, could she bring herself to put her arms around her without making a run for the door. She led her to sit by the couch and settled herself nearby.
There had never been a moment like this before, where Cyd was so lost and locked out from Raya that she couldn’t even come up with a bad idea to make things better. Where she was next to her and didn’t feel relieved, or at least content. And yet there was something painfully familiar about it, too. The silence that settled between them as they listened to the rain was the same cool, lived-in silence that washed in when they watched their shows or worked from opposite ends of the same room. It was the kind of silence that had to be earned, then dented, twisted, and bent around the sounds of their fidgets and breaths.
The tide of their silence rose in a way they were long used to and Cyd fished out a half-crushed carton of cannabis sticks and lit up. She took her time breathing in and holding the smoke. Even if the hit went straight to her head, she couldn’t feel any more disoriented than she did already. She finally exhaled and passed the stick along to Raya, who took it automatically. It was as if they’d never left this couch, and every moment between Raya dropping out of her life and now had been a bad dream. Cyd looked over to see if she could read the same feeling etched in Raya’s silhouette, but found her sitting rigid as ever, the stick dangling from her fingers, burning away in the air. And that, more than the dark of the room or the way she spoke like she didn’t know what words to use, put a cold knot of dread in Cyd’s stomach.
More pieces were lining up in her head. The sterile house. Turning up at Baby’s to leave a last message. Raya wasn’t patient with her cannabis sticks. She played with them like a hungry teenage movie star. And she was terrible at housekeeping unless she was planning something. She didn’t turn up in places and leave a second later. She’d never acted this way before and it didn’t make sense for her to start now. Unless this was the plan, and at the end of the day Raya was going to— But she wouldn’t. Not Raya. Cyd wouldn’t let her.
She cleared her throat quietly, not daring to move. “Hey. What’s going on?”
“Nothing’s ‘going on.’ I’m fine, Princess.”
“Don’t call me that.”
“If you don’t want to talk, then maybe you should go.”
“Fine. New question: when did you make your plan to leave? What finally did it for you?”
“Oh, Princess, we don’t have to do this.” Raya moved closer to her on the couch. “Look, it’s nobody’s fault, okay? That’s what I wanted to tell you. There’s no bad guy to bring in. There’s not a move you can go back to and change for a better timeline. It just happened. Sometimes things just creep up on us and . . . we get swept away. We end.”
Cyd’s eyes hurt from trying to squint so hard at Raya’s face in the dark. She was so close, the hair on her skin could feel the fraction of space between them. Everything about the evening felt raw, like a live wire ripped from their memories and jigsawed together, like a file trying to recover itself without all the pieces. And the idea that there was no lane they could’ve changed to avoid spiraling down into this godawful place. . . Cyd’s heart caved in on itself a little. She’d wanted to hear it wasn’t her fault, but not like this.
Raya put a gentle hand on her shoulder. “Listen. It’s stopped raining.”
The water was still trickling off the windows, but the rest of the world was so silent, her ears prickled. She got to her feet with Raya and drew back the heavy curtains to see. All the gray had washed down the arcs of the highways and floated down to the street waters. They could see garbage and lost boots and dead snakes, all sailing downstream. The pedestrians shuffling between work and home in their rainbow ponchos and neon hooded coats stopped and let out a breath they’d been holding their whole lives. Up in the heart of the sky, the laundry-water gray was spread so thin it was almost white. And beyond that white, Cyd could swear she saw the outline of the sun.
“Can you believe people used to think the rain was romantic?” Raya whispered.
“Every generation has its idiots. You can’t tell me there’s a single body of water that can compete with this.”
Two strangers on the highway clapped each other on the back and one of them laughed. A tin puppy wriggled in a kid’s arms and yapped. The trees, always forgotten under the veil of showers, dabbed off the water from their leaves in careful shivers. Raya covered her face and began to sob.
“Hey, what—what is it?” Cyd, forgetting her fear, reached out and folded her lover into her arms. “You’re okay. Shh, c’mere.”
“No,” she whimpered.
Cyd loosened her grip. “Then tell me what it is.”
Raya’s body shook as another cry rocked her frame, but at last she straightened, pulled her hands away from her face, and let Cyd see her for the first time.
The life had been scrubbed out of her cheeks with a plastic finish. Her smile lines sagged on her face in unfamiliar places, drooping like they were embarrassed. And there was a dull, weird shine in her eye that Cyd had never dared to look for. A shine that came from the way light hit muddy fiberglass rather than anything alive.
“I’m a Ghost, Cyd.”
Cyd’s fear revived with a strength hard enough to choke her. She’d thought Raya was planning to hurt herself. Never this.
“I . . . I don’t know what happened to me. I didn’t update myself that regularly, and I hadn’t for months. I know something must have been wrong, but. . . I don’t know. I don’t have any answers or anything to offer you, and I don’t know why I wouldn’t have given that to myself!”
Cyd took a step back. “You’re telling me the real Raya was worried she might drop dead but not why? You should be able to call your—her physician or the coroner or something.”
“My official cause of death was head trauma and ruled an accident,” the Ghost snapped. “And that. . . What does that even mean? That’s nothing! There’s nothing, Cyd. And after this cheap, two year lifespan I gave myself in this program to sell the house and funnel my money to nonprofits, to you—”
“I don’t want your death money.”
“—There’s not going to be anything of me left! I go down the drain, just like you said. All I have is this. And it . . . it is so much less than what I thought I had before, and I can’t bear it.”
“Stop talking like that.”
“Why? You were right, again! All we have is what we have and—” the Ghost scraped her face, waiting desperately for the tears that should’ve been streaming down her cheeks. “I don’t even want to think about how scared I am. Just look at everything I’m missing. How is there a point to missing out on something this beautiful?”
Cyd swallowed and stifled back her tears. She didn’t have the luxury of not having tear-ducts like the Ghost, but if what was left behind of Raya could get through this without crying, then so would she.
The white on the sky was soft and fluffy like the bubbles she used to blow into her milk as a kid. And the dull, not-quite-light it cast on the Ghost threw all its building flaws into ugly relief. Raya’s hairline didn’t sit right on the scalp. The coloring in her cheeks was too shiny. Fake. It was true, what Mari said. She’d seen what she wanted to at Baby’s, and chased it all the way here for nothing.
How had Raya never told her she had this poor hunk of metal hiding in her attic when they’d been together? Or if she’d bought it after, why keep it a secret? Did she bring it with her when she ran away? The questions multiplied and tangled around Cyd’s head, pulsing into a headache. She looked out into the sky just in time to see it darken. Thicker now. Like fresh asphalt on the highway.
“The other Raya’s missing it,” Cyd said at last. “You’re seeing it. With me. Maybe that’s the point. I don’t know.”
“There’s no way I would have known that.”
Cyd shrugged to hide the shudder that wanted to collapse her body. Maybe it made her weak, but everything the Ghost was saying was too hopeless to take in. “Why didn’t you talk to me when you came to Baby’s?”
“I wanted to ask—if you would solve my death for me. But as soon as I saw you, I had this thought that it would be too cruel.”
“Yeah, I’d say that ranks pretty high on the fucked-up ladder,” Cyd said, her voice rattling like gravel.
“But would you?”
“Do you remember the last bet we had? With Duchess Wilmington and the Vampires from Pluto?”
Cyd nodded. “You won. And I called bullshit and didn’t pay up.”
“Maybe it was so you could pay me back now, with interest. Help me find out what really happened.”
Cyd stared at the Ghost as a cold soupy feeling swallowed her stomach. The Raya she’d missed and held at night had been dead before she’d even set foot in this house, before she’d laid eyes on her in the middle of the afternoon rush—just like she had the first time they’d met—and that threw every thought she’d ever had off the table. She could rewrite the whole world and still not know how to swallow that. She fought the urge to turn her back on the woman who’d left her, and run. But where would that leave her? Back at home, passed out in front of the screen, waiting to implode.
“You’re serious, huh,” she said.
“As a funeral.”
“—Okay.” Cyd turned on her heel and walked out of the room.
She’d made it to the foyer when she heard the Ghost’s footsteps racing behind her. She stopped at the door and turned to see.
The Ghost had thrown off her robe to reveal the blue skirt-and-blouse Raya always wore when she had an important day ahead of her. She pulled a beret over her dull-tone hair and pinned a veil over her glass eyes as she ran to the landing. It was almost enough to make Cyd forget she wasn’t looking at the real thing.
“We’re doing this together, aren’t we?” the Ghost asked.
Cyd stuffed her hands into her pockets. “You’re a Ghost, sweetheart,” she said.
“I think we established that already.”
“You’re gonna haunt me even after you’ve gone to the salvage yard—maybe for the rest of my garbage ride on this planet, but I’m sure I’m not gonna get any better at accepting that with you lurking over my shoulder.”
“I’m not saying I’ve changed my mind. But you and me are as dead as anything else, Raya. It’s a shit deal, but ghosts gotta move on sometime, right?”
“Not until we’re finished. And as much as you hate me for what I did, you know that you and I are anything but finished.” the Ghost said. She crept down the stairs and walked up to her until they almost touched. “I am not the Raya that hurt you, Princess. All I want is to find out what went wrong. On my terms.”
Cyd balled her fists in her pockets. This wasn’t what she’d had in mind when she signed up, not by a long shot. But behind her veil the lights were spinning in the Ghost’s eyes, and even if they didn’t look a damn thing like Raya’s, they were still something special.
It made her wonder if the cold soupy feeling sopping up her insides was fear. If all of her, down in her wet, marrow core was just fear. And if maybe, there might be a way to recode their corner of this water ride in a way that would almost work.
“Okay,” she rasped. “You and me, sweetheart. One last ride to see what we can find. All bets off.”
Raya’s Ghost opened the door. The rain had begun again.
© 2018 by K.R. Diaz
K.R. Diaz has been spinning stories since she was gifted her first journal at age nine. Her fiction has been featured in New Poe and Glass Mountain. She holds a B.A. in creative writing from the University of Houston. She currently spends her time between the Writespace writing center and digging for more queer stories in need of telling in her hometown of Houston, Texas.