Andrew here. Before we get to this month's story, let's talk about what has been going on for Working Title. Cody and I published our first Worlds Newsletter just about a year ago. This year has been amazing, filled with collaborations, writing, story stunts, and literary mayhem. In gratitude for a wonderful year, and our growing readership, we're discounting a yearly subscription to Worlds. Thank you!
We've been writing like crazy this year. We've published two anthologies of our stories, as well as been published in two other anthologies. Cody has a story in The Cozy Cosmic , a horror anthology out from Underland Press, and both of us have stories coming out in the forthcoming game-themed anthology from Demagogue Press, Winding Paths.
We've also started a podcast! With Writing Naked, Cody and I put our writing life online and out-loud, talking about our story-telling ups and downs, and discussing the craft of writing.
Finally, we're solicting reader feedback on what kind of story you would like to read next month. In this survey, pick a writing prompt for us to write to, and a genre for us to write in, and we'll write it! The resulting stories will be published in Worlds next month.Create your own user feedback survey
And now, on to the story for this month. In honor of Thanksgiving, horror writer Cody T Luff presents a creepy story of misguided desire and dark hunger. What if emotions were food, and a dark spirit decided to offer tidbits of other souls to its unknowing love? Find out, in Alike.
Cody T Luff
You paint me now as a watercolor. My body lost to the thirst of the canvas, my colors bleeding into shadow. When you were younger, you captured me in ink. I dotted the pages of your school work, scribbled doodles of a tall figure, eyes staring. Younger still and I was crayon, a long stick with longer fingers, your parents unsure even as the page containing me languished on the refrigerator beneath the magnet shaped like a carrot. From crayon to your little studio, the arc of your life is luminous to me.
Sometimes I wish you could see me. I wish your eyes could linger on my form, counting my fingertips, tracing the slide of my jaw, finding the hollow divot centering my collarbone. Instead, I take small joy from turning your head. The blur that pulls your gaze to the side, long enough for you to blink, frown and turn back away, wondering.
There are more of my kind. I see them around you sometimes. They know you are mine. They stand in a circle around you while you read your books on the couch but none can get as close to you as I can. Never close enough to give you their gifts. Or to take one from you.
I admit that I am not always with you. I ride the subway sometimes. I sit with the people I find and listen to their bodies as they die minutes at a time. Yesterday I sat with an old man, tears working their way into the rough of his beard. I wrapped my arms around him, my fingers on his cheek, and I took all of his sorrow into my mouth.
It filled me.
The quiet gravity of it sitting in the space I keep hollow. Gathering itself in the cold salt and silver echoes of all the broken things he kept in his chest. I was very hungry. So I took all of his sorrow.
When the train stopped, I left him laughing, other riders already fleeing his presence. His joy was a terrible, unbounded thing. Unfurling from his body like a burning flag. I watched others of my kind move in as the doors slid shut, the old man’s face framed momentarily before blurring away as the train left the station.
Such a long life, a collection of sadness that contained so many different shapes, curated painstakingly, polished with unmistakable love.