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A woman with ichthyosis, a skin condition in which dead skin cells are slow to flake off, tries to negotiate peace between her two daughters. One daughter shares her condition and one does not, leading to allegations of favoritism. From Teresa Milbrodt’s Bearded Women: Stories, this tale is one in a “phenomenal collection” (Asimov’s Science Fiction) of short fiction about the so-called “freaks” trying negotiate a world that is quicker to stare than sympathize.

ChiZine Publications (CZP) curates the best of the bizarre, bringing you the most excitingly weird, subtle, dark, and disturbing literary fiction. Look for more titles in the ChiZine short stories collection to build your digital library.


Teresa Milbrodt received her MFA in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University, and her MA in American Culture Studies from the same institution. Her stories have appeared in numerous literary journals, and several have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, where she lives with her husband, Tristan, and her cat, Aspen. When she’s not conjuring gorgons and cyclopses at her laptop, she enjoys cooking, sewing, and questing for the perfect cup of coffee.

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