Critical Mass

By G.G. Silverman

To fight your family’s genetic tendency to become ghosts, you rub makeup on your face so people can see you. Streaked with war paint, you are no longer invisible; you can flag down planes if you must. You pile on strands of pearls, chains, an assortment of inappropriate jewelry. They’re heavy, but you don’t mind. You fill the hollow spaces in your body with ballast to give you heft, to make you solid. The sands of time can’t wear you down. The wind can’t carry you. Hurricanes have tried. You practice your laugh until it’s unmistakable, less a titter and more like thunder, audible for miles.

Your mother forgot to do all this. Her eyes dulled; her voice became a whisper. Her flesh was made
paper — thin, barely visible. At the sign of the first gust, she fluttered into the ether, never to be seen again.

Headshot of G.G. Silverman

G.G. Silverman lives north of Seattle. She has won awards for her short fiction, and her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Molotov Cocktail’s FLASH PHENOM anthology, PopSeagull’s ROBOTICA anthology, Pulp Modern’s DANGEROUS WOMEN issue, Iconoclast magazine, and more.

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