L.L. Madrid lives in Tucson where she can smell the rain before it falls. She resides with her daughter, an odd cat, and on occasion, a scorpion or two. She likes food spicy, beer sour, and words whispered.
She was awarded Alternating Current's 2017 Luminaire Award for Best Prose for her short story, Ephemeral Girls.
Aiming for God is nominated for Best of the Net 2017.
Summertime Dusk won 101 Word's 17th writing contest.
What Groupon Says was nominated for Best Small Fictions 2016.
Her short story, "The Rat Girl of Saint Bruno's," received honorable mention in The Speculative Literature Foundation's 2015 Working Class Writers Grant.
When she's not writing her own stories, she's reading for Speculative 66, where she is Editor-In-Chief. (http://speculative66.weebly.com/)
Look for L.L. Madrid's forthcoming story Aural Love, in Factor Four Magazine.
Links to additional stories can be found at her website.
In seventeen years, little has changed on Catalina Avenue. The cars that line the narrow, curling street are coated year-round with desert dust. Old pictures reveal that our casita was once a buttery yellow. Now it's sun-bleached to the same color as the bones that we find in the wash behind the neighborhood.
Though lifeless, the onyx eye of the mourning dove reflects dawn's sunburst. My sister Vera discovered the bird, and she wants to know what I think of it. We sip from mugs of instant Folgers and regard the dove. She lies belly down on the doorstep with her neck bent back as if trying to...
An alert chimes on my phone. Like one of Pavlov's dogs, I react instantly. It takes only a swift click to read the breaking news. Active shooter. Fifteen to twenty hostages. Eight reported dead. I feel a barb-sharp sting when I recognize the suburb's name.
Mara twisted the lid from the old pickle jar, releasing its tangle of vinegar, yeast, and rust. She reached in and plucked out the first bottle cap. Heineken green....
Tiny Stitches Few people in the world find growth charts as interesting as I do. Madeline certainly doesn't. She's my half-sister and my favorite person. Even though I'm seven years younger than her, we're almost the same height. That's because I'm in the 100th percentile in my age group while she's in the 25th percentile for hers....
To occupy my mind, I play the only game I can. Lenses. Pretending my eyes are twin cameras I pan them from my left side peripheral to my right and select my target. Today it's easy. Helen left the album sleeve leaning against the crate. It is a new record in the lineup.
Here Fishing Every Sunday my grandfather fishes at Ripple Pond. It’s an old habit, one anchored in boyhood. His mother allowed him to forgo church for fishing, as he was more contemplative by the water’s edge.
Every night, the great rock face puts on a show depicting the lifetime of a bruise. First, the sun melts over the cliffs, wounding them with a bright red glow. The hue deepens to a blood orange and as the night conquers, the mountains go lurid with violet.
Nineties Girlhood No one ever praised me for being smart, only for being good. Good meant pretty and quiet, pressed like a flower in the middle of a bell curve. The first time I thought about becoming an adult had nothing to do with ambition but with a yearning to be beautiful.
Marisol turns eight in the midst of a wildfire summer. The mountains burn, and the valley smells of mesquite and smoke hovers, always in your eyes. Even lifelong desert dwellers complain about the heat. The monsoons are late.
A gathering of bleary-eyed people waited for the number seven bus. Nods of acknowledgment bobbed from chin to chin. Though Marin stood at the corner every weekday for the past two years, she didn’t know anyone’s name. She was the quiet sort, preferring assumptions to small talk.
Gila woodpeckers forged a hollow at the heart of a great saguaro. It was a water witch who first filched the three-eyed coyote skull and secreted it in the hole, nestling the smooth bones against the cactus's spine. Knowledge of...
It’s hard to fall asleep. It’s been that way for awhile, but tonight is especially bad. Annalise Yancy showed up to English with her hair cut almost all off. Sitting behind her, I couldn’t help staring. Her hair used to hang straight over her shoulders. Now I see her bare neck, the rest of the hair buzzed into an inverted triangle. It looks soft. The urge to reach forward and run a finger down the center of her nape leaves me short of breath and aching from restraint.
Sister Mary Elizabeth acts cheerful, but she's afraid. My nose crinkles. Underneath the mildew, I can smell her fear. She calls me sweetheart and is careful not to look at me. It's funny; grown-ups try their best not to see, but kids stare, too scared to turn away.
In the early hours of a not-so-long-ago Christmas Eve, snow blanketed the prairie patchwork and rolled through the wide, empty streets of Buck, South Dakota. In some other place the snow might have conjured up a pastoral quaintness, a season's greetings sort of charm. In Buck it slabbed every available surface like poured concrete.