WORKING ON TWO NEW STORIES...
I'm pretty happy with both of these. Here are the first paragraphs of both, rough draft.
My Manager was extremely thin, made of plastic, with paper covering the plastic. They had always hoped, I thought, that her heart would one day start, but her heart remained a dry leaf that drifted in her ribcage, animated to lift and fall only by her breathing. I never knew her name. We were never allowed to know our Manager’s name. Nor did I have a nickname for her. I always called her Manager. (Some called her their “Damager,” though.) Sometimes, when my Manager was angry, she would become so hot that the paper covering her would ignite and the plastic beneath would start to melt. I never knew what to say in such situations. It seemed best to say nothing and avert my gaze. Over time, the runneled plastic of her arms became a tableau of insane images, leviathans and tall ships rising out of the whorling, and stranger things still. I would stare at her arms so I did not have to stare at her face.
The Third Bear
It made its home in the deep forest and all anyone would see of it, before the end, would be hard eyes and the dark barrel of its muzzle. The smell of piss and blood and shit and bubbles of saliva and of half-eaten food. The villagers called it the Third bear because they had killed two bears already that year. But, near the end, no one really thought of it as a bear, even though the name had stuck, changed by repetition and fear and slurring through blood-filled mouths to Theeber. Sometimes it even sounded like "seether" or "seabird."