The Girls Upstairs

A literary short story published in:
Grain Magazine, Vol. 42 No. 3, 2015, pp. 90-97

The Woodland Cultural Centre, a museum and library in Brantford, Ontario, inhabits the grounds and building of a former residential school, the Mohawk Institute. The Centre generously gave me permission to draw from a small part of their history as a seed for this work of fiction, a story about a “glaring, skinny woman” who comes to donate, after decades, a potent artifact she has kept ever since her time as a resident there.

A short excerpt:
“The woman, binders still unopened, shouted, ‘Don’t open that bag behind my back.’
‘I won’t.’ A small historic collection of objects stayed in a closed cupboard far from the front door. Ordinary things for the most part, swollen into monsters by radioactive memories until they were too dangerous for their owners to keep.”