Narrated by Michael J. DeLuca.

“No, no, I’m honored by your love, and you had to defend yourself. You’re lucky that oaf you killed was too ignorant to recognize what you are.” Trukos found that statement strange. He knew exactly what he was: a thing Auntie Mayya had made. The pain, though, he needed her to unmake.

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Read “The Butcher, the Baker” by Mike Allen, in Issue #289

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World Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, and Nebula Award-finalist Mike Allen has written several poetry collections, including Strange Wisdoms of the Dead (a Philadephia Inquirer editor’s choice selection), The Journey to Kailash, and Hungry Constellations; a twisted dark fantasy novel, The Black Fire Concerto; and three collections of strange and scary short fictions, Unseaming, The Spider Tapestries: Seven Strange Stories, and Aftermath of an Industrial Accident (forthcoming 2020). With his wife Anita, he runs the Mythic Delirium Books imprint, home to the Clockwork Phoenix anthology series and critically acclaimed works of fiction by C.S.E. Cooney, Theodora Goss, Nicole Kornher-Stace, and Barbara Krasnoff. By day he works as the arts and culture columnist for the daily newspaper in Roanoke, Va., where he and Anita live with a cat so full of trouble she’s named Pandora. You can follow Mike’s exploits as a writer at, as an editor at, and all at once on Twitter at @mythicdelirium.

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