Happy Halloween: “Christ Air” on Substack. Plus: Pepper’s Ghost second edition update.

A mother retrieves her son’s birthday gift from diabolical hands.

I compose myself and follow the route my map suggests and stand under a sign shaped like a fist jammed into a pig’s backside. The metal gate creaks open, and out steps a family of four dressed in black except for the daughter dressed like she’s off to church. We exchange looks, and she sighs and shrugs. I tug down my jacket and skirt and, expecting the Devil’s music, march in. But it’s quiet when I get to the row of boards hanging like tongue depressors.

A man wipes his hands on a rag. “How can I help you?”

“I need a skateboard.”

“First time shredding?”

“It’s for my son. I don’t know if it’s his first time.”

“Probably not. He’s been grinding it out with his friends on their boards, and now he wants his own.” This way his finger waggles. “We got the ones the pros ride. We got ones the pros signed. We got ones we hope will be the pros. Got a budget?”

“Anything for him.”

William Auten – “Christ Air”

“Christ Air,” a short story, now on Substack.

Plus: Pepper’s Ghost second edition update. We have a cover, proof, synopsis, and release date—all of which will be revealed in November’s newsletter. Stay tuned.