New England Secrets by Brittany Brewer


She walks into the barn, a solitary space suspended in time; it could have been featured in a B-level horror film if it had any sort of structural integrity, she muses to herself. It almost feels like a joke that she has trekked all this way to chase this spectre: a story she heard once, a barn she never visited and wasn’t certain still existed, and that she is here all just to chase a ghost, her mother’s ghost, the one her mother told her about seeing one time when her mom was twelve and limber and bloated with possibility—possibility now punctured. All she has is textures of a tale: her mom’s fulfillment after finishing a long day’s work, the magic of the minutes after midnight, of finding friendship in unexpected places, and a sudden, sharp sound accompanied by a sulfury smell like when fire first ignites. She remembers this ghost occupied her mom’s belly, the hearth of her spirit, and each time her mom uttered the tale, an ethereal mist crept from her mother’s lips, chapping them as it passed through, and lit stars in her mom’s eyes. This was the intimate possibility of connection. All she wants is to hold a piece of her mother inside her like her mother housed that ghost and to know that things will somehow end up okay, that magic might be real, that the inexplicable and unfathomable are tangible futures you can hope for. As the minutes edge past midnight, there is a sharp pop, a glistening something seeping in from the rafters, and in that moment she thinks, maybe we are connected, maybe we are all made from all the same pieces and parts as our mothers and hold the potential to contain an extraordinary secret.

Brittany Brewer (she/her) is a queer writer, [theatre] artist, and educator who has lived and grown across eight states. Brittany is also the producer and host of no small parts podcast. She is an alumna of Indiana University, Brown University, and the Arden Professional Apprenticeship program. Currently, she lives in Michigan where she is also a doctoral student at Michigan State University. For more, follow Brittany on Twitter at @brittanymbrewer or visit