Written by Thanisha Chowdhury
Art by Donovan Reeves


  1. Leave before the sun sees you and take nothing. You will not be returning.
  2. Follow the moss, and when there is none left, the dark. It won’t hurt you, but if you linger, you will be swallowed whole.
  3. Remember: the calls you hear in your mother’s voice are never your mother.
  4. When you see lights, turn the opposite way. They will be waiting for you where the grass breathes the most dew, where dark and moist breaths vibrate into laughs.
    • Don’t fear the talons, claws, fangs, and yellow eyes. Once, they were you. Once, they slept in their own ribs, coaxed melodies out of themselves by burning their bones. 
    • Nowhere to go, nowhere to live, a whole world to die in. 
  5. There is a difference between mythical and mystical, and you are crackling with magic, head to toe. 
  6. Become a witch, goblin, demon, wretch—become something horrible. Become something with talons and fur. Shed your old skin. Cut your hair. Unfold your tongue from behind your teeth. 
    • There is no one here to strip you of yourself but you.