Honorable Mention

Not Dead to Me by Nancy Yang 


Brooks moved to the very back of her closet. It was almost Halloween, and she hadn’t come up with a costume, so she’d have to settle for something from the past.

She ruled out the antebellum hoop skirt worn by her great-grandmother Lula. Too risky. Lula’s people came from Louisiana and owned slaves, as did the family of her husband, J.T.

Going as J.T., a swash-buckling narcissist who paraded his mistress everywhere, wouldn’t work either. Too many people would be dressing up as a misogynist cracker who owned half the town.

She pulled out a fine suit and wondered if she should go as Robert, Lula and J.T’s first son. She could tuck a quill pen behind her ear – his handwriting was exquisite – and carry the bottle of moonshine that numbed him from his father’s wrath.

But Brooks was feeling enough internal turmoil these days without taking on someone else’s. She moved on to the flashy band uniform and high-plumed hat worn by Marcus, J.T. and Lula’s 11th child, who ran away and joined the circus.

Escape didn’t seem right either, she thought, spying some ratty clothes at the bottom of a pile. There it was: a misshapen shirt, stiff with ancient blood, its breast pocket split open from the bullet that had killed Malcom, number 12, found floating in the river at 24.

Of all the skeletons in her closet, Malcom was perfect. A bit of make-up and a few props and she could be a 120-year-old zombie rising from the river.

Nancy Yang is a freelance journalist living in Missouri and Colorado.  Her feature stories have been published in Columbia Business Times, Como, Jefferson City Magazine, Illumination and Mizzou Magazine. Lately, she’s been expanding her writing into other genres, including horror. 


Published 10/29/20

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