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Letter from the Editors
Aleksandra Hill, Kanika Agrawal, Rowan Morrison, Zhui Ning Chang, Isabella Kestermann, and Sachiko Ragosta

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Coming soon: excerpt of Liar, Dreamer, Thief and an interview with its author, Maria Dong!

Interview with Naseem Jamnia
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Excerpt: The Bruising of Qilwa
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Cover: Issue 3.1
The Creeping Moon

Previously Published


The Shadow and the Light

By Su-Yee Lin | | Su-Yee Lin
Edited by Aleksandra Hill || Narrated by - || Produced by -
3300 words

In the city of K—, every building is a mountain; stairs of stone lead up their facades to steel-gated doors. It rains often, so the steps are furred with moss. Like monks in caves, like bee larvae in honeycomb, we live in our apartments, light only coming in through arrow-slit windows and the balconies secreted in rock. I know mountains, and these do not pass muster. But it’s true, I chose these mountains over other ones.

My view overlooks a twisted pine tree that sometimes holds pigeons and, far below, an intersection hiding a subway station underneath. It is a city of peaks and roads and stairs. Even the shops and restaurants are set within mountains, are lucky enough to get the first or second floor. In my building, there is a noodle soup shop and that is all they sell. I live on the fourteenth floor. 

I don’t know anyone in this city. I don’t care to. Each shop is run by one person. Each apartment holds one person. We are one and one, always separate, and I like it that way. Every man an island. I assume we are all running away from something—our criminal pasts, our problems, our husbands and wives and families—so we chose a place where we could be without being anything other than a human-shaped body. A respite from society. A respite from all the problems other people bring. But these are just assumptions.

The sky is often gray with cloud; we slide past each other in the damp of the streets, pass each other on the steps without greeting. I don’t recognize my neighbors, my eyes shifting past their faces as theirs shift past mine. In the square where I sweep, no one looks at me and I don’t look at them. In the noodle shop, a bowl of noodles is placed before me. No money changes hands; I get what I get.

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Su-Yee Lin is a Pushcart Prize–winning writer from New York. Her work has been published in Strange Horizons,, The Offing, Electric Literature, Quarterly West, Bennington Review, and other journals. She was a Fulbright fellow to China and has received grants and residencies from NYFA, Jentel, Storyknife, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Speculative Literature Foundation, the Center for Fiction, and others. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and a novel.
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