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"The House Ghosts All Read the Time Traveler’s Wife and..." by Janna Miller

The House Ghosts All Read the Time Traveler’s Wife and Now Have Something They Want to Tell You

The morning ghosts are subtle and subversive, beginning with bread possession of the ancient toaster, the heating elements pulsing with overhead lights in a one-two-three gentle broadcast from the Other Side with breakfast and tea before moving on to the larger appliances of brunch, like the refrigerator and oven which makes it hard sometimes to predict if you will have over easy or fried to a crisp eggs, smoking slightly on the edges, though by lunch the microwave is nearly hopeless and best for transcribing messages directly from the spiritual world to beef stroganoff, a mark especially clear in the still-edible sticky noodles of the afternoon ghosts, which are more direct but not without compassion, as there is not much you can say about the evening ghosts except you will be lucky to get a jelly sandwich from the glued cabinets unless you shout very loudly to the walls, “yes I will get a better job, I will take a shower, and maybe I’ll trim my toenails and check the dating app, if you will let me have a bit of dinner before bed” which will often quiet them for the night except for the one ghost who watches television romances in addition to reading and there is nothing to be done except nibble leftover crumbs on the bedsheets until the morning shift takes over.

Librarian, mother, and minor trickster, Janna has published in SmokeLong Quarterly, Cheap Pop, Whale Road Review, Necessary Fiction, Best Microfiction 2023, and others. Her story collection, “All Lovers Burn at the End of the World” is forthcoming from SLJ Editions in 2024. Generally, if the blender explodes, it is not her fault.

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