Category Archives: Jessica McHugh

Division by Jessica McHugh

She wanted to see its insides.

While the other kids were cringing in revulsion or spouting clichés about the moral implications of dissection, Marion was wishing they’d shut up so Mr. Harvey could hand out the scalpels. With fascination glistening in every careful incision, her partner squealed, just as disgusted by Marion as she was by the dead cat with its flesh peeled open like a jacket. But Marion didn’t care about Tonya’s opinion. She didn’t care about the whispers calling her a “serial killer in training”. She was just curious, and knowing that, she also somehow knew that her curiosity made her better than Tonya. The final cut revealed a perfectly framed interior, and Marion was amazed. The cat’s innards were so similar to her own, and that knowledge made her happy. It was as if learning anatomy was the same as getting to know God.


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In Lieu of Flowers, Send First Aid by Jessica McHugh

To his family, every word she said was a lie. Her denouncement was either rambling grief or an attempt to convince the world that Roland had faults. As if he ever could.

“You must believe me!”

She was difficult to reel in, even by the sturdier parishioners, but they couldn’t reel in her truth. It continued to blast as they hauled her down the aisle, and Roland’s precious family continued to call her “that madwoman”. Variations of “I knew that madwoman would be the end of him” were hurled at her in chunks, and she felt each one like they were his fists. Yes, they were his fists. She could never mistake a single knuckle. She could nearly smell the Jack Daniels. But not his family. They could never smell it over the aroma of the prize posies he’d planted all those years ago. Those flowers had long since withered, but they never saw it. Just how they never saw Roland withering away. Just how they never saw his poor wife withering in his shadow.

The men threw her to the pavement, but she was no stranger to those sorts of scrapes. She kept Bactine in her back pocket. Too bad she was wearing a dress.

“Need some?”

She looked up to see a bottle of first aid spray and the sweet face of the woman holding it.

“Thanks. Did you know Roland?”

“Why do you think I have the spray?”

Her scratches burned, but she smiled. Finally: there was someone to believe her.


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