Scene from The Monster House by Kate H. Koch

Katie J. and I could only ride our bikes down the length of the alley, and as we passed each garage we searched for magic on our street. We decided that fairies held meetings in the dimpled flaws on the neighbor’s blacktop at night. And the cherry red Volvo in the one-car garage belonged to a secret movie star. But by far, our favorite mystery lay in the Monster House. Its broken windows and peeling paint hid behind a tangle of lilac bushes that formed a dark canopy over the driveway. When the sun was highest in the sky, Katie and I would dare each other to venture up to the garage. From the alley, we could see the objects pressed against its windows. Jumper cables. Fabric scraps. Wet paper bags. Fishing bait. When we squinted through the glass, we saw faces in the loops of rope and butcher’s twine on the floor. One June midnight, The Monster stood under a ring of smoke choked lilacs. When our eyes met, he grinned, and crushed his dying cigarette over a fallen flower petal.

Kate H. Koch has synesthesia, which means every sound flashes as a color before her eyes. Her vivid condition inspires her to seek the magic in everyday things, and this has helped her during her time as a graduate student at Harvard Extension School, where she is pursuing an ALM degree in Creative Writing and Literature. Kate is fascinated by all things macabre, and you can find her work in The Metaworker Literary Magazine, Club Plum Literary Journal, and Z Publishing House’s Minnesota’s Best Emerging Poets of 2019: An Anthology.