“White Out” by Caitlin O’Neil

The snow had started the way it always did, quiet and perfect in the night. Three weeks later, it still hadn’t stopped. It wasn’t much, just an inch or two a day. But it was adding up. The governor had closed the roads so the big trucks could come through with supplies, but Tess snuck out for more firewood.

When she saw him—walking like a man but so clearly a boy—she powered down the window.

“Get in!” she shouted.

He shook his head. “You shouldn’t be out here.”

“It’s cold. You can warm up at least.”

She drove alongside him for a few minutes, watching his breath cotton over his face. The hood, drab green and threadbare, masked all but his profile. Work boots, jeans, Jansport backpack. This was not a well-planned trip.

The radio played Pet Shop Boys; the news was getting creepy, but then so was everything. Finally he stopped. She hit the break.

Once inside, he pulled down his hood and pressed his hands to the heating vents. His finger hit the scan button.

“Not a new wave fan?”

“Not Brit-pop. Blondie’s okay, but I’m more into punk.”

He kept his eyes on the road. They were sliding a bit, bouncing against the snow banks, but it was okay. They were the only ones out. It was a very compliant citizenry.

“Where to?”

“You know that D&D by the highway?”

“On 24?”

“Yeah, there.”

“What’s there? Besides coffee.”

“They don’t serve coffee anymore.”


“The trucks aren’t due until Thursday.”


“A buddy of mine is coming down from Worcester. He’s giving me a ride.”


“Anywhere. I just need to get the fuck out of here.”

The radio was playing Portuguese Fado now, thrumming guitar and wailing voices that sounded celebratory. Tess smiled and nodded. Everything seemed okay again since she’d started taking David’s pills. She hadn’t counted on feeling quite so wonderful.

“Won’t someone be missing you?” She thought of David and Daniel stuck in Florida. The airports had been closed for two weeks.

“My sister kicked me out.”


“Not in my world.”

He turned and she saw the acne sprinkled across his cheeks, the dark brown of his eyes that made his pupils come and go. The roads he was asking her to travel would surely be patrolled, but when the turn came, she took it. He was in her world now.

When they reached the patrol cars, she made up a story about insulin and blood sugar and they got an escort to the D&D where the boy—his name was Dev—got the last chocolate crueller in Massachusetts.

Dev nodded at the door. “You can go.”

“When’s your friend coming?”

He glanced at his phone. “He’s almost here.”

“Where are you headed?”

“He’s got a cousin in Jersey.”

There were two makeshift resettlement camps they were allowed into, one in Connecticut, one in Jersey.

“I’ll wait until he gets here.”

“It’ll be dark soon.” Bad things were happening at night.

“At least let me call you. Then you’ll have my number.”

He recited, she typed, his phone buzzed.

“Good luck,” she said.

Then, unthinking, she ruffled his hair the way she did Daniel’s, her hand surprised by prickles of stubble and the warm skin beneath. She’d taken for granted all the times each day that Daniel grabbed her, how often Dave cupped her shoulder or hip. Touch was a hunger now. She was all hunger these days.

The boy shook her hand off like happy retriever and smiled. “Good riddance, Massachusetts.”

She left, the twinge of jealousy in her stomach staunched by the bright edge of drug in her blood. Oh, how she had needed it.

*       *        *

She’d started taking the pills on Tuesday, after the call with the relocation authority. They had a list, giving priority status to the sick, aged, and families too. Since she was separated from her family Tess assumed she would move up the list. But if you were alone you went to the bottom. They had to draw the line somewhere, said the woman, sounding reasonable. The storm had started during school vacation and people were all over the place: kids visiting their grandparents, school groups stranded in DC, moms chaperoning hockey tournaments in upstate NY. It was all too much to sort through. Unless your family was together, it didn’t count.

After she hung up, she called David, no video this time. She didn’t want Daniel to see her cry.

“We’ll drive.”

“There’s not enough food. The streets are disappearing. The grid is down.”

“But we have the generator.”

“That runs on gas. Which I’m running out of.”

“We’ll bring some with us.”

“The schools are closed.”

“We can homeschool.”

“I don’t think you understand what’s going on here.”

“We’re watching the news.”

But there was no news here anymore. The satellite trucks were gone. Everyone left behind had accepted it. The snow emergency had become a state of emergency; then a driving ban, a travel ban, a border closing. It was only a matter of time before the state was abandoned all together.

“Mommy I went under! The water got in my nose!” Her heart lurched. Daniel.

“Good job! You’re such a good swimmer.”

“We do it every day here at Mimi’s.”

“That’s how you get better. Can you let Mommy talk to Mimi? I love you.”

“Oh, sweetie. You need to get out of there.” Her mother.

“You have to convince David to enroll Daniel in school.”

“Surely the snow will stop eventually.”

“Just promise me.”

“Okay. But I don’t think there’s a bus stop around here.”

“There will be.” Entire retirement communities would rewrite their charters.

“Darling?” Dave again.

“I’m on working it.”

“Can we help?”

“No. Just turn off the TV and act like nothing is wrong.”

“I don’t see how that…”

“Trust me.”

*       *        *

She was on her way to Rhonda’s farm to barter food two months later, when she saw Dev again, walking on the ghostly outline where the road used to be.

“Get in,” she said. This time he didn’t protest.

He had a parka finally. His hair was longer now, ragged about his ears. The bones in his face were like scaffolding. The hunger came off him in waves.

“I’m going shopping. Then I’ll bring you home for some food.”

“The stores are closed.”

“New kind of shopping.” On Thursdays, Tess and her neighbors bartered food. She was the baker. She had a sourdough mother inherited from her Gram. It looked like jar of wet sand, but one whiff could knock you over. But flour was running low.

Dev flipped the heat vents toward his face and leaned in. The radio played Johnny Cash. He smiled.

“What happened to Jersey?”

He sucked in his bottom lip and shook his head.

Phil and Louie were already inside the barn. At their feet, chickens pecked the snow banks. Rhonda kept Rhode Island Reds like her father, a once sentimental affectation that had become a cottage industry. On Thursdays she traded eggs for bread and milk and turnips. A rooster from Tiverton had paid a call last week and now everyone was at the back, holding candles up to the eggs to see which would hatch and which wouldn’t.

“We’re having babies!” Rhonda shouted.

“Shh!” said Phil. “I can’t tell if this one is a yolker.”

“They can’t hear you, stupid,” said Louie.

Everyone wore the new uniform—skullcaps, polar fleece, snow pants, work boots. It looked like a vigil at a ski resort.

“How many?” Tess asked.

“Five so far.”

They all depended on the eggs, and you couldn’t eat the ones that didn’t take. The idea was to have more layers, and some roasters too. Tess’s mouth watered at the thought. She’d exhausted her freezer weeks ago.

“Why the incubator? Can’t they just sit on them?” Dev asked.

There was too much at stake to depend on the hens, so Rhonda had rigged up her dad’s old incubator to the generator and said a little prayer. Its light was the same color the chicks would be: yellow and sunny. Tess took a candle and handed one to Dev, but there weren’t enough eggs, so they just stood and watched. It was a vigil after all.

*       *        *

At home, Tess scrambled eggs and toasted cheese and bread with butter. She’d been annoyed by the big propane tank when they’d bought the house, but now she was lucky. Most people were cooking on camp stoves, not a six-burner Viking. She’d been smart, too, to shovel out the slider and the kitchen window. It took only a few minutes each morning to keep up and she could still use the first floor. Most people were walking out second floor windows.

Dev ignored the fork and ate with his hands.

“Tell me,” she said.

“Jersey is a trap. The camps are so overcrowded they treat you like criminals. You get an ID card so you can have food and a tent, but then they patrol the exits with riot gear. They treat us like we did something wrong. But it was just bad luck. Right?”

Right? Of course the bible-thumpers were making noise now about godlessness and liberalism. We had asked for it. We deserved it. Of course, none of these accusations had come trippingly off their tongues during their drought.

“How did you get out?”

“There’s a few buses each day. They’re sending people out to the Dakotas, to work the solar farms. They say it’s quite pretty.” Her friends in Boston surviving on MREs and bottled water were only too happy to pack their bags. They, and most of the world, still believed it was all temporary, like after a hurricane. New Orleans was fine now, wasn’t it? Besides everyone knew solar paid well, and temperatures in the Badlands seldom fell below 50 anymore.

“But you didn’t go.”

“I’ve always liked the cold.”

“How did your sister get out?”

“They moved up the list when I left.”

The list didn’t like messy families either—stray cousins, stepsons, prodigal sons. Nuclear families were the only ones that counted. (And the bible-thumpers thought they were lost.)

“Where’d she get placed?”

“Phoenix.” He nodded to the photo on the refrigerator. “What about them?”

“Fort Lauderdale. February vacation.”

She turned away from him to wipe the dishes. Then she wiped her eyes. The morning’s Skype call had gone unanswered. She’d checked her texts—sometimes David back channeled there, to warn her Daniel was having an angry day. No new texts either. In desperation, she’d taken the last pill.

“Waiver?” Dev whispered.

She turned back, resting her elbows on the pocked granite. “Processing.”

Though there was no WIFI, the cell towers still worked, so she could use her phone to check her application hourly, though it meant draining the generator.

*       *        *

When she called the relocation authority again, the woman was gone, replaced by a looping message: check Facebook for your assignment. But she could find no one to tell her when and where she might go. Her priority status still pulsed yellow while all her friends had gleefully greened. There was a feeling among them that the system was working. They snapped photos of their backpacks and boarded army transport as if they were going to camp. #greenmeansgo #greatblizzardof16. She wondered if they knew about Jersey.

“There’s something else,” he said. “Troops at the borders.”

She sprinkled the mother with its daily flour; she wondered how little it could survive on.

“How did you…?”

“Vermont. Fewer troops. More trees.”

“They won’t let us out? How can they do that?”

“Emergency legislation. If they let us go wherever we want, what happens to the people in the camps? The ones who followed the rules?”

“But how can they stop us?”

“They’ve shot ten already.”

“How come I haven’t heard about this?”

“The networks aren’t covering it, because most people don’t believe it and the government doesn’t want them to. We’re not really a state anymore; there’s no one to file a lawsuit. No one to object. Precedent-setting stuff. A civil liberties nightmare. But no one thinks it’s real.”

“Where did you learn to talk like that?”

“I was pre-law.”

“But students get fast tracked.”

“Don’t you see? There is no fast track. It’s all a lie. The world will see.”

The mother bubbled as the wild yeast exhaled.

Dev pointed to the jar. “Is that thing alive?”

“Actually, yes. It’s a sourdough mother.”

“Breads have mothers?”

Her heart lurched. She ground her molars and tried to hold onto the pill’s synthetic happiness, but it was already draining away.

The boy’s eyelids sagged as the food hit his stomach. “Do you mind if I stay here? My sister’s house is snowed in.”

“There’s a bed upstairs.” Daniel’s bed.

Dev brushed past her, stepped out of his unlaced work boots, and dove under the covers. The room was freezing but he didn’t seem to notice. She closed the door and paused at the top step, listening for his breath. The air was still and silent, but she could feel him there, the boy exhaling on the other side of the door. For the first day in months, she was not alone.

*       *        *

After a dinner of oatmeal and tea, she called David again. He sold office furniture for a company in Tennessee, so he was already back on the road meeting with clients. She’d told him to go on with his life, to protect Daniel, but now that he’d actually done it she felt betrayed. She pounded redial a few times, but couldn’t think what to say.

Hours later, he called her back, his words a slurry of whiskey.

“Geoff? You know, in the Portland office? He says Maine is filled with refugees. They just get on a plane and fly out.”

“How would I get to Portland exactly?”

“You’ve got the truck.”

“They stopped plowing the highways months ago.”

He exhaled. “I wish you’d be honest. Not for my sake, but for Daniel’s.”

“You don’t know what it’s like here. They won’t let us go.”

“Really, Tess, this has gone far enough. The house is a loss, but I still have a job. We can regroup here. Together.”

“I can’t…”

“Find a way to get here, or I’ll tell Daniel the truth.”

“The truth?”

The dial tone howled.

Her phone flashed black. She sat in darkness.

David actually believed she was staying here on purpose. The awful idea bloomed inside her. Was she? All her friends had greened. What did it take? Effort? Money? Connections? She could muster at least two of those things. And yet here she sat alone in her house, reloading her page, waiting for someone—the feds? the soldiers?—to grant permission. She stared into the invisible rooms around her. David was right. This place was lost. What was she waiting for?

*       *        *

Dev’s sister’s house was buried. He visited only once, climbing through an attic window to collect a trash bag full of AV equipment while Tess idled outside. Then he disappeared for days at a time, returning only to sleep and recharge his camera.

In the meantime, the chicks hatched. Tess held one in her hand, felt its small heart beating inside her palm. A day later, Rhonda sexed them using a book she’d found: three girls and two boys. She didn’t want to name them, but Louie couldn’t resist: Sid and Nancy, Elvis and Priscilla, and Mad Max. Tess held Max, a rooster. The roosters weren’t as valuable. All sex and no eggs. But in the new world, everything had its use. He could help make more chickens. Tess resisted the urge to put Max in her pocket. Instead she went home, shoveled out the slide, baked her last two loaves, and reloaded Facebook again and again, willing the green circle to appear. It remained yellow, same as Max.

The last time the house had been so empty was the day they’d moved in. They came for the schools, now closed. She’d married late and used every extreme measure available to dream Daniel into existence; she’d wanted to be a mother so badly. Despite the technology and the tests, the measurements and the percentages, no one could really say why it worked or it didn’t. Many chalked it up to evolution, survival of the fittest and all that. Tess believed that was part of it too. But there was a third part, a bit of dark matter that no one could see or explain, and Daniel was born of that darkness.

She loved him, of course, and David too. Her husband was smart, good, and funny. But younger and, truth be told, less desperate. Men could afford to be. Tess was so used to being alone that her new state didn’t seem entirely strange. There was something familiar about her solitude, something that felt like a correction. She had taken more than her share.

She pinched flour between her thumb and finger and fed the mother. It let out a slow lazy bubble. She was trying to stretch the flour she had left, but it wasn’t enough. She thought of her Gram in the belly of a steamer on her way to the US. What did they call it? Steerage. Which made it sound as if you had control. People talked about Ellis Island like it was a magic factory, but it was really just a place where people changed your name and stole your jewelry. Only the mother, tucked in Gram’s girdle, had been safe. Tess looked down at her parka; three pockets outside, two inside. What would she bring? If she packed up and drove over the border—the way things zigged and zagged along the coast it was only three miles away—every piece of ID she owned said Massachusetts and Dev said they were arresting deserters who hadn’t waited for the system to work. Taking a chance felt like risking everything. She should go out and shovel again. She should stack firewood; start the week’s bread. But instead she changed her Facebook status to green because she had waited long enough.

Dev noticed first, of course.

“What’d you go and do that for?” He stomped his feet on the mat by the slider.

“They could have approved my application.”

“The state shut down two days ago. The Federal Relocation Authority is in charge and they’ve stopped processing applications while they figure out what do to with everyone. It’s illegal to misrepresent your status.”

Tess found herself on the verge of tears.

Dev put his hand on her shoulder, then thought better and pulled her into a hug. Tess nestled on his boyish chest, listened to the galloping heartbeat.

“Did you find them?” A shrill voice pierced the kitchen.

Tess felt Dev wave his hand, shooing the girl away. But she would not go.

“We need those cables.”

“She self-greened,” Dev said.

Inhaling deeply—sweat, breath, yeast—Tess lifted her head.

The girl’s eyes, ringed in heavy black liner, bugged. “Are you crazy?”

“She doesn’t understand what’s happening out there.”

“Let’s show her.”

Her name was Devon too. (The fifth most popular name of 1995.) She was tan and blonde and the least likely accomplice Tess could have imagined. She pulled phones from the pockets of her parka and piled them on the counter.

“Upstairs,” said Dev.

Tess listened to the girl’s footsteps move up then down the stairs.

“Can we use your TV?” he asked.

“I was hoping to take a bath tonight.” The generator powered everything, even the well.

“Just a few minutes. You need to see this.”

The Devs fiddled with the cables. White engulfed the wide screen and music roared from the speakers.

“The Ramones?” Tess asked.

Dev smiled. “We’re Outta Here.”

“Or not,” replied Dev.

It was hard to tell at first what Tess was seeing. But then she saw the spire at the college. Buried. The campus was some modernist architect’s idea of the future: a horseshoe of concrete buildings six stories high. Students were camping on the flat roofs—tents, stoves, generators, the works. That’s where second Dev had come from.

Then a family of four backpacking through the woods. “I’ve heard Vermont’s open,” the man said, his blond beard tipped with white. “They’ll take us up there.”

Then a message in written in tire tracks across the snow: HELP. The man who had written it sitting on his truck’s cabin, where he’d crated a lean-to with a fire and a hand-crank radio. “They’re coming!” he waved at the camera. The man’s smiling face looked deranged. It had been months. Why did he still believe that help was coming?

A muffled cut. Soldiers. More than she had ever seen. Black guns, jack boots, ski masks. Monsters. Shouts. Shots. White.

“You posted this somewhere?” Tess asked.


“How’d you get the aerial shots?”

“My nephew’s toy helicopter.”

“We’re being Katrina-ed,” said blonde Dev.

Below them, in the basement, there was a pop, a whir, then silence. The screen snapped to black.

“The generator.” Now she would have to go.

“You can come with us to the camp,” the girl trilled. She had her own kind of denial, a belief that what they were doing was a brave game that it was possible to win. Somewhere she had parents who would pay to get her out. “It’ll be fun!”

“Yeah, the camps are great.” Dev rolled his eyes; Dev stuck out her tongue. They were a comedy team, yin and yang, a black and white cookie. They were so, so young.

Dev fixed Tess in his dark stare. “I can get you a license that says you’re from Rhode Island. But you need to come up with a story.”

“A story for what?”

“Why you’re still here.”

The Devs were right; no one cared about the truth anymore.

*       *        *

A few hours later, Tess sat on the couch wrapped in an afghan close to the wood stove, trying to think of a story, reading Persuasion instead, waiting for her phone to light up. Daniel and David had to have seen her status, but the silence was just as well. She still didn’t have the answers that David wanted. If she had to wait, he could wait too. How many days of her life had she spent waiting for people? In airports and train stations, outside bars, inside bars, even at her own apartment: no call, no explanation, no way to know what had happened or why a plan had fallen apart. The call came later, during the night or in the morning, but no matter how mad everyone had been—at the traffic, the weather, the confusing directions, the deliberate desertion—by then the anger had dissipated, and anyway there was nothing to be done. Now phones pinged and buzzed and promised. But there were no more answers than there ever had been.

This evening hour was her saddest; she should be reading to Daniel. It was the only time he fell into her as he had when he was small, his full body weight collapsing against her, carving out space for all his elbows and ribs. She inhaled his hair, listened to his tiny heart thumping, asked him questions, even kissed him. It was her last free pass to babyhood, a place they visited together each night, never looking each other in the eye, never acknowledging how much it meant to return. She could talk herself out of missing him, but her body remembered. Even through the cold, it ached with longing. This was why she had greened.

A knock came on the slider, a bellowing echo that rattled the wall. Tess jumped. Again she wished she had a gun. David had toyed with getting one when they moved out here. But he never did and at the time she’d been glad; she didn’t believe in guns. Alone in the dark, pacifism seemed prissy and stupid. She was undefended.

The knock came again and Dev raised a flashlight to his face and smiled one of those uplit horror movies smiles. Tess felt the fear ebb, but she would not forget it. Yet another reason to go.

“Sorry,” Dev said. “I got worried. What are you doing?”

“Reading. What are you doing?”

“I came to keep you company. And give you this.”

He placed the license in her hand.

“Can I pay you?” she asked.

He shook his head, as she knew he would. Money wasn’t much use.

“Well, at least stay the night. It’s too dangerous out there.”

“I’m okay.” He patted under his shoulder. Gun. “But you can’t be out here alone with no power.”

Tess slipped the license into the chest pocket of her parka. “Not much to offer in return. Plenty of firewood, though.”

She returned to the couch and handed him the other half of her blanket. They sat side-by-side staring. Tess had lost the knack of small talk.

“How is it?” Dev picked up the book. The pages fluttered; the spine was giving way.

“It’s one of my favorites,” said Tess. It was one of the paperbacks she had carried in her bag to read while she was waiting. That, and The Bell Jar. One invited conversation; the other held the world at bay.


“The heroine is kind of ornery. And not young. Bossy. Difficult. Like me. So the young boys said.”

“Read to me.”

At his words, Tess felt a shiver travel across her skin. Daniel. She cleared her throat, but before she could begin Dev surprised her again and lay down, resting his head in her lap.

Tess read. Her freehand absently traveled to his hair and began to play with the wiry curls that nestled against his scalp. There was a moment where she realized what she was doing, but didn’t stop. Dev was peaceful, and he didn’t seem to perceive that anything might be wrong: a very attractive young man in the lap of a married woman. He was pristine, unadulterated. Still the boy she’d seen walking that first day. In this dark place, they belonged to each other; there was no one else.

“’The last few hours were certainly very painful,’ replied Anne: ‘but when pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure. One does not love a place the less for having suffered in it, unless it has been all suffering, nothing but suffering.’”

Tess paused to look around the room, to feel the way she felt when they’d first moved in. But the snow had erased it. What she had loved here was gone and she needed to follow.

“Don’t stop.” Dev’s voice was thick with sleep.

“You like it?”

“It reminds me of before.”

“You read Austen?”

“No. It’s just so… calm. People had time to think.”

Tess studied his nose, the knob of his cheek. She used to study Daniel this way, like he was a sculpture. Dev lay there, with her eyes on him, dreaming.

“Who?” Tess asked.

“My sister.”

“Not your parents?”

“She’s the one I miss.”

Tess waited. She was good at it now.

“My mom was deported? You know, in the leather factory raid? That’s why I went pre-law. I thought I could get her back.”

“And your dad?”

“Jail. Or maybe he’s out by now. Who knows? It was just Brit for me and now she has her own kid… ”

“So no one?”

“Well, Dev and the others. The camp.”

“But how will you survive?”

“We’re starting over. We’re the Pilgrims. I’m John-fucking-Alden.” He smiled and closed his eyes again. “Go on,” he commanded and she did, stroking his hair with her hand, feeling the warmth of his body against her own. He was some sort of consolation—maybe enough.

As she fell asleep, she thought of the song her Gram sang at bedtime:

Fare thee well, my own true love,
For when I return, united we will be
It’s not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me,
But my darling when I think of thee.

Tess had thought it unbearably sad as a girl, but on this last night at home, she too felt the pull between the future and the past, when you had no choice but leaving. A possible life had vanished, its dark matter a distant gravity that pulled on you but could not hold against the bright yellow promise of the future.

*       *        *

Tess was up first, giddy with fear and excitement. Today she would go; tomorrow she’d see David and Daniel. She rose to collect some firewood. Dev groaned and rolled back into the couch, his face obscured by his hood. She tucked the blanket up around him, inhaled the animal sourness at his neck. Boys. The logs were in the garage, still in the back of the truck. There was still a half tank of gas, which would get her to the border and leave some left over for Dev to drive to campus. It was her parting gift; he was going to need it. She’d filled the sling and was working her frozen fingers through the handle when she heard the noise: first voices, then footsteps, then gunshots. She fell back against the truck. When silence returned, she found herself questioning if she had heard anything at all. She lugged the wood inside. Listening. Watching. Her skin tensed against the smallest tremor. A twitch. A breath. But there was nothing.

She dropped the logs and ran: Dev lay still on the couch. A single dark hole pierced his hood. Her heart lurched. Him too? Why him? Who had done this? Where had they gone? She shook her head, panted and shivered like a confused dog. Then Dev’s phone lit up in his pocket and she knew: the men had come for her. They’d thought he was her.

Tess took his head into her lap again and hugged him. He was light, an empty husk. His galloping chest gone still. How stupid that he was dead. How stupid that she had pushed that green circle out into the world believing that a tantrum could get her what she wanted. How stupid, even after the video, that she had not believed him. She was not free to go, no matter what her phone or her husband or her heart might say.

She sat with Dev forever, feeling the depth of a hole inside that, she knew now, would never be filled again. When she could not stop shivering, she let him go, made a fire, toasted cheese and bread and warmed coffee. When she was full and warm, she carried him to the room where he had slept. She zipped Persuasion into his chest pocket tucked him in. She said a prayer, the kind her Gram had taught her, full of angels and the heavenly host, and kissed him on the forehead, consigning him to the mausoleum of snow and ice that was the culmination of all her foolish hope.

First she took his phone. Then she took his gun. On the kitchen counter, the mother bubbled. Four of her pockets were full. In the fifth, she tucked the mother.

Outside the morning’s snow had been falling for a few hours, covering the footprints. The walk to the college would take a half-hour. Up high, beyond the squalls, the yellow sun shone. For now she was alone. She would hope for nothing else. There was another world out there, other places, other lives, but she couldn’t imagine them. She was in the new world now.

Caitlin O’Neil’s short fiction has appeared in the Kenyon Review, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, Calyx, Calliope, Beloit Fiction Journal, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She won the Ninth Letter Prize in Fiction, the Women Who Write International Short Prose Contest, and received a Massachusetts Cultural Council individual artist grant. She received merit scholarship recipients to SLS Literary Seminars, Unified Fiction Contest, 2009 and 2010. She participant in the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Annual conference and a resident at the Vermont Studio Center, February 2002. A graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University, she is currently a full time lecturer in English at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.


At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year-round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

Follow Us On Social

Masters Review, 2024 © All Rights Reserved