Cabinet of Wonders: Feral Mail, Hungry Curtains & Fork Phobia

Lauren Colie

I’m moving. Packing up all of my possessions, all of me, and claiming a new spot as my home. It only makes sense that I’m seeing signs of change all over the place — including this week’s Cabinet picks. See how relocating shakes up more than just coordinates and let these authors readjust what you know to be real.


A Review of The Apartments of Strangers, Excerpted from The Beautiful Bureaucrats, by Helen Phillips at Electric Literature

When she returned from her second Thursday at the new job, he wasn’t at the stranger’s apartment. She pulled a postal notice off the door and stepped inside just as she heard the three-headed dog heave itself against the door at the end of the hall. Her hands felt weak and her eyes hazy. She added the postal notice to the stranger’s feral pile of mail on the bedside table. She sat down on the futon. She called Joseph’s phone. It went straight to voice mail. She didn’t leave a message. 

Joseph and Josephine are two young professionals doing their darndest to make it in the urban jungle. Late rent, eviction notices and a psychic waitress threaten to drive the pair apart. All the while, Josephine’s world is getting a little…weird…

A change of place is a change of…face…for Helen Phillips. This excerpt from The Beautiful Bureaucrats leaves me thirsting for the answers Josephine can’t seem to find. The weird in this one is fleeting. Did I really read that? Or was it just a reflection in the window, the angle of the light?

Read it HERE


A Review of The Men and Women of Rivendale, by Steve Rasnic Tem at Nightmare Magazine

The thing he would remember most was the room and the Rivendales watching. They had a peculiar way of watching; they were very polite about it, for if nothing else, they were gentlemen and ladies, these Rivendales. Theirs was an ancient etiquette, developed through practice and interaction with human beings of all eras and climes. Long before he met Cathy, they had known him, followed him, for they had intimate knowledge of his type. Or so he imagined.

An invitation to the old family homestead gives Cathy a quiet place to find peace as cancer consumes her. Hank, however, is not impressed by her bizarre, silent relatives. In fact, he’s bored. In this new location, he reevaluates love and learns a few things about the dark eyes in the curtains.

Steve Rasnic Tem has taken soul-wrenching sadness and used it to explode creepy into this one. I’m indignant, filled with pity and a little horrified — and I love it. Thanks for the chills, this one’s sure to scare.

Read it HERE


A Review of Where Do You Go To, My Lovely?, by Yusra Amjad at Crossed Genres

But sometimes even eating that which is meant for you is dangerous. One of the many cautionary tales I’ve read is about a girl who was in love with her sister’s fiancé, but she wanted them to be happy and as a gesture of goodwill she made their three-tiered marzipan-covered wedding cake, decked with candied rose petals and golden gossamer clouds of spun sugar. Upon tasting it, the groom imagined himself in the honeymoon suite of a huge, lonely hotel, standing on the balcony, with his bride’s sister in his arms. The girl swore she didn’t mean to do it, that she never put anything into the cake, but you can imagine what everyone thought. I believe that she didn’t do it on purpose, but she must have been insufferably stupid. Cooking for someone you aren’t meant to love is always disastrous. Those feelings will always work themselves into the batter, no matter how hard you try.

We’ve got a great little chef on our hands. She can even make her grandmother eat three helpings of beef when she would normally eat only toast. But, as her mother says, the gift of flavor can be dangerous…

Talk about food that’s scary good. Is it just delicious, or something more? Yusra Amjad helps us to imagine what it would be like for food to transport us to wonderful (or terrible) places. Enjoy this one for its simplicity with a touch of whimsy.

Read it HERE

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