Excerpt from “Advice for the Haunted”
Any other couple would have thrown away the former owner’s things and moved in, but two
months after buying the apartment, Nick and I were still using it as a playhouse. The former owner’s name had been Natalia. We didn’t know how she had died at first. Nick joked that we
could survive at Natalia’s forever. “It’s like our own private fallout shelter,” he said, as we
peeled back her dotted white bedspread and crawled under the sheets. We were young and in love, and the misfortunes of others had nothing to do with us…

Rachel Swearingen’s stories have appeared in VICE, The Missouri Review, Kenyon Review, Agni, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. Her work has garnered several awards, including the 2015 Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in Fiction, a 2013 MacDowell Colony fellowship, a 2012 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, and the 2011 Mississippi Review Prize in Fiction. She has taught creative writing and American literature at Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College, and lives in Chicago.

Rachel Swearingen Fiction Writer


Chicago, IL