~5,000 words, around 20 min reading time
Elene comes back from death screaming, trapped, held still by the hands of black-eyed strangers. Every breath she takes tastes of blood and smells of burned flesh and incense, like she is a temple sacrifice traveling to the gods on a road of smoke.
Her eyes try to focus. Women, crying and pale-faced, hold her down. She tries to pull away. Her skin is too raw and her bones too delicate to bear the touch of air much less their grasping hands. She cries tears that boil away to steam. Her skin peeling away in curled crackling sheets–krik-krak–like bacon in a hot pan.
Someone watches. So fiercely, it pierces deeper than the pain. Her watcher’s skin is pale, like white linen stretched luminescent over sharp bones, he glows in the semi-dark of the room. His tunic is more hole than fabric, the remnants still smoldering. So too do the charred claws that are all that remain of his hands. Their broken wreckage is held close to his chest, inner flames cracking through the skin like veins of molten gold.
He should be dead.
One of the wailing women props him up, pulling him away as he tries to stumble towards Elene with a charred hand outstretched. It takes two of them to keep him back. Underneath the fire and blood, something still stirs.
Music. The still-liquid marrow of her bones rings with it. She knows he can hear it too, the man who is also on fire. Despite the wreckage of his body he smiles down at her, both of their hearts beating in time to that melody.
Time moves fitfully: snatches sound, the reflection of moonlight on white sheets. Always, always the pain.
On the orders of the healer, servants carry her from the women’s quarters to the central courtyard’s garden. It would be quiet but for the chorus of three who also commandeer a shaded space for themselves in the courtyard. Glykera, Hilaron, and Mikrion: her husband’s chattering pinch-faced sisters.
Elene shivers, cold in spite of her swaddling: shawls, blankets, and quilts, all heavily embroidered with Asclepian theorems and Apollonian poetry to ward away infection and death. From this fabric nest she watches the shadowed doorway that leads from the courtyard to her husband’s rooms and the wary stooped-back servants.
A figure blocks out the sun streaming against her face before reclining on the couch across from her own. Following close behind, a servant brings a table and a tray of food.
Phoibe has a broad face and broader shoulders that would not be out of place on a blacksmith. Her arms are strong enough to hold down her patients and, as gently-as-possible, force her medicines down their throats. The witch takes grapes and some cheese while looking her patient over, tsking when she sees something she doesn’t like. If Phoibe is afraid of the master’s not-dead wife as the servants are, her manner does not betray it. Elene returns her frank appraisal, noting the god pendant hanging from a metal cord around her neck.“Shouldn’t a priestess of Isidoros have better things to do than look after me?” she asks.
Phoibe grunts in between a bite of bread and herbed goat cheese. “Chat less. Eat more.”
Phoibe sighs. “Why? Because I haven’t nursed too many women back from almost-dead. Don’t fancy you wading back into the Styx because you’re too stupid to eat.”
She passes her a plate of food and Elene is too tired to refuse. The burst of sweet and salt-musk mixing together on her tongue feels good, the tense muscles knotted across her back relax.
Unlike the broths and teas she was getting in her sickroom, the food is untainted with the lingering scent of her own death. For the first time she feels pleasure as a taste in her own mouth, and it is easy to do as she is told, eating until she feels slow and sleepy. The ever-present net of pain begins to fade.
“You’re not from here,” she says staring at the witch.
Phoibe takes a sip of watered wine and emits a pleased belch. “Why’d you say so?”
Elene laughs grimly. “Would have seen you before now. Every high caste woman herebouts came to gawk at the half-Aethiope whore’s daughter who trapped the lord into marriage.”
Phoibe’s gaze darts over Elene’s shoulder. Over to the three women sitting nearby, sewing and gossiping in whispers, and then back again. “Trapped him, eh? Big game for someone I can pick up with one hand,” she says. “Not any man, lord or no, can bribe my temple enough to drag my ass all the way here from Piraeus.”
Elene feels herself tense once again, no longer lulled by the sunlight and the food in her belly. “The harpies say that he played for three days and three nights to call the Tartaros road to earth.”
Phoibe doesn’t shiver, but she does pull her shawl tighter around her shoulders although not a single cloud has passed between her and the bright morning sun.“I’ve seen healers blessed by Asklepios wipe the clouds from a mother’s eyes. But to play the music of the spheres, and well enough that the princes of death had to bow to one of their oldest and most hated bargains? They will call his name in prose and song through Attika and beyond.”
Elene consults her ragged patchwork memory. Little of what came before the moment she woke from the dead–undone and barely human–remains. She can still see his hands, burned like a suckling pig, still flickering with furious embers. “Why?” she asks.
Phoibe’s soft face wrinkles with confusion. “Why? Why what?”
“Why did he do it?”
The witch startles like she’s found something rotten in her food. “Shouldn’t you know that?”
“Priestess, I don’t even know how I died, much less why I’m alive again.”
“Lord Iasonas loves you, of course,” she says, and returns to her meal with a face like a door slammed shut.
Elene relents, turning to the fountain again, to the shadow and the light on the falling water. She raises one dark hand to her throat, worrying barely scabbed wounds until the pain is a constant and seductive throb.
Elene hears wings in her dreams. Birds swirl around her, so numerous they block out the stars. She falls and, reaching out, feels warm hands pulling her forward. Lips press against hers, wet with some liquor or foreign wine. Heat spreads from her tongue down to her center, blossoming into a sweet ache that lasts even after she wakes. Their face is hidden, dark like a midnight sea, but the lips whisper clearly against hers.
“It’s yours,” he says. “Take it back.” Another orphaned piece of her faded patchwork mind, it makes no sense, even when she wakes.
Every morning, she clambers out of the giant wooden bed before anyone else is up. It is a small rebellion, leaving her bed when no one can scold or, gods forbid, threaten to tell on her. But she treasures it. She can’t walk far yet, mostly she hobbles over to the huge mirror that dominates the room.
She wonders if she chose it, the woman who she was before but can’t remember being. Or was it a gift? It’s a ridiculous luxury, the glass is taller than she is, framed in gilt and flanked by golden lions. She leans as close as she can to her reflection, pulling the lid of one dark-circled eye closed, and turns that side of her face to the white light of morning. On her left eyelid, the face of Zeus, on her right, Olympia: the imprint of the coins that paid her way into death. She traces the marks softly, hoping they do not go away. They are the only part of her that feels real.
Soon Elene is carried into her husband’s presence for the first time since her strange and painful rebirth. They’re both still swaddled in their healing robes, scented with sachets of Phoibe’s sacred herbs.
Iasonas watches her constantly, his brow furrowed with worry, as if waiting for death to take her back from him. The sisters exclaim at his devotion, but he shrugs them off with the wave of a bandaged hand. “I could do no less,” he says. He loves his wife very much.
He says that often, like he is reciting a spell or begging a prayer: I love you. My lost Beloved, he calls her. My love.
The sisters repeat his endearments, warping them into admonishments against her. Oh, he loves you. He loves you so much. Do you know how lucky you are?
She blushes and turns away.
Do not hide from me, never again, he says.
Elene looks in his eyes and hears the crying of birds.
On later visits he plays music for her. Elene watches his graceful movements, rapt and quivering like a rabbit spying shadows from above, eyes landing on the hands that played the sphere-song worthy of Death’s greatest bargain. They have healed pink and soft with new skin. Iasonas grins when he tells her he will have to work hard to regrow his musicians callouses, winces when he pulls the strings to tune his instrument.
It is not the lyre he plays now, of course.
That one burned as Iasonas played it, the song consuming its wooden body until he strummed more fire and ash than polished wood. The pale scars on his arms and hands are all that remain of it. When he speaks, Elene understands why he is lord and beloved. Listening to his voice feels like dipping your fingers into cool water on a hot day.
Sometimes, Iasonas’ eyes catch hers: on cool afternoons, when the breeze is blowing in from the Aegean. He smiles underneath his blankets and coverlets. At those times he will put down his instrument and insist on being brought to her bench. Closer he smells like light, she thinks: light, grapes, and beeswax.
“What are you thinking, my love?” he asks her, lifting her hand to place a kiss in the center of her palm.
She shakes her head, shy in the face of this devotion she cannot remember earning. He only smiles at her denial and cups her cheek with one velvet-soft hand.
“No matter how weak I still am, I’ll never regret it,” he says. “Death would have kept you, but I never looked back, not even once.”
Hilarion drops a cup and it shatters against the tile. The crack is explosive in the quiet. A shadow dashes across her husband’s face, “Stupid girl, can’t you do anything right?” he spits at her through gritted teeth.
A breath stalls in Elene’s throat. But his anger is already spent and his sunshine smile restored, the moment come and gone as quickly as the path of a descending hawk.
Phoibe helps her wash her hair. It is long and thick, tightly coiled, and her arms are not strong enough yet to do the work of cleaning, oiling, and braiding it. She begins the task of detangling while reminding Elene to drink her medicine. Mneme and honey. Elene has asked Phoibe to teach her some small portion of the witch’s herblore. She stores each new piece of knowledge in the empty lockhouse of her mind like a raven secreting their hoard. It does not ease the ache she feels in the space where her old self used to be. But any knowing is good, she thinks. Mneme, first grown by Isidoros at the banks of the river of death called Lethe, good for encouraging sleep.
Phoibe does not say that she is a troublesome patient, but she can tell. It is easy to anticipate how other people will feel, Elene realises, when she feels so little herself.
Her back against the witch’s lap, she leans her head along the warm length of Phoibe’s thigh. She is warm and clean, and they smell like a distant garden. When her eyes flutter closed she can feel the weight of the death coins on her eyelids.
“How did I die, Phoibe?”
Those strong hands go still along her scalp.“I wasn’t there, child. I don’t know.”
“The sisters, they must’ve told you something.”
Phoibe snorts. “They’ve less than one brain to share between them, and if they do know anything they haven’t condescended to tell it to me.”
Would you tell me if they did?
You pick anything, an herb–a moment–when it’s ripe and not before. Half of witching is knowing when it’s time.
The rhythm of Phoibe’s hands in her hair begins to lull her. But the unanswered question does not settle easily. Even in the warm bath, she feels the restless flapping of wings against the cage of her chest, a fluttering anxiety that demands a name.
Her previous life is a shadow-world, her only guide the half-heard whispers of someone in her dreams she can’t even see. She feels their kisses, smells the crushed-green-leaf scent of their breath but still can’t see them. Nothing more than eyes and skin as dark as moonless nights. It’s nothing. Less than nothing.
Struggling, Elene tries another step into the dark.
“Do birds cry?” She asks.
“I heard a bird outside my window. It sounded like someone crying. Like a baby, or a child?”
“No bird I’ve ever heard. Though, mayhaps it was a kite. The birds who travel between life and death as messengers for their masters.”
“The gods of the dead.”
“Take those out,” Iasonas says, nodding towards the cascading braids down her back. “I don’t like it. That’s not how you used to wear it.”
Elene’s hand goes to her hair and flutters down to land on her throat. “I thought it was pretty… I don’t remember a lot of things.”
The music stops.
Elene and Iasonas were taking in the afternoon air, sitting on his balcony as they watched the light play across the vineyard beyond. His hands, never still, strummed a kithara while he hummed wordlessly.
The sudden silence rises gooseflesh along her arms. Iasonas’ face darkens. It’s so unlike him.
I barely remember myself, much less him, she realises.
But this is what she says, “I’ll change them. I will.”
“Good girl,” He smiles, the sun shines once more. “I know you don’t mean to upset me.”
He takes her hand before it can finish its journey to her throat. Her habit of touching the space where her scars were worries him.
“Oh, my love, you’ll be good for me, won’t you?”
His grasp on her hand tightens. Those calluses are returning, after much practice. She can feel them catch against her skin.
“Yes, always,” she says, blinking away the tears from her eyes.
Elene practices being herself in the mirror. This is the smile Iasonas likes best. When she widens her eyes so, the light colors them in a way he finds pleasing. Not knowing herself, she has made a study of her husband’s memories of her to fill in the gaps where she used to be.
“I need you to remember. Would you leave me, when I need you? When I fought those who would have taken from me what is mine? Your love?”
She makes her face still as a mountain lake, judging her effort in her reflection. The quiet flutter in her chest blossoms into a squalling flock, and she reaches out blindly. Her hands land on a clay cup and she cracks it against the glass. Her reflection explodes into a prism of wild rolling eyes and gasping mouths.
Oh, what has she done?
Her blood is pounding, the sound almost overwhelming as she freezes in the wake of her destruction. She runs.
Away from the house of servants who are always present but never look her in the eye. A sound is pushing her along, her own thudding pulse, the clap of a thousand wings pushing against the air, or the sound of heavy feet against stone. The pressure in her chest is pushing her on. She almost knows, in the silent way a broken bird knows which way to flutter towards, where she has to go. If she can forget who she is supposed to be.
have taken from me what is mine…
That voice makes her turn back towards the house. The olive trees in Iasonas’ orchard are ancient, their gnarled roots dipping in and out of the earth. Her bare feet catch against an upturned root and she is thrown to earth hard enough for the air to be shocked out of her lungs.
It’s Phoibe who finds her, and Phoibe who lies for her. A clumsy fall is a good excuse for oh so many things. Elene says nothing. Phoibe’s lie is so complete its wake leaves no trace on her serene face. Would Phoibe teach her how to lie like that, if she asked?
She might. The lying smile; use against lords when a witch’s other works are not at hand. Elene falls into a potion-fueled sleep wondering what she wants to lie about.
“While I sing, you must follow/
I’ll not let you be hidden/ Never let you hide/
What Death would not give, my love demands.”
Iasonas writes a song. He says it’s for her.
His smiles haven’t been as steady since her fall. On his visits to her room, he sings to help her remember the way he says she was.
“I would be happy to sit with you in silence, my lord.”
“But I must,” he says.
She can hear his voice in her dreams, drowning out the sounds of flight. No one meets her in the lands of sleep; its empty fields blasted white by a watchful sun. When she feels sick at the sight of a single bird feather, drifted in from the window to land at the foot of her bed, she doesn’t know why.
In spite of her recent fall, Iasonas has decided that Phoibe’s work is done. Elene has always known that the guests would leave, but the sight of wagons packed to go has her heart beating out of time.
“Try not to fall again,” Phoibe orders. Iasonas is out of earshot, helping his sisters into their wagon.
“You know how I died.” Her accusation flies from her mouth before the thought is formed in her mind. She slaps her hand over her mouth as if she can pull it back in.
Phoibe pulls her in a close embrace. She can smell that faraway garden again, and hear the beating of her heart, strong and sure as the titanic wingbeat of an albatross.
“This world binds both you and me child, but I have one last lesson. Flesh can hold many things too jagged for the mind to bear”
“What?” The words are nonsense, but Elene feels a sudden fluttering in her chest, a clawing screaming flock of grief.
“That bird, the one that cries, it lays its eggs on the shores on Death’s rivers. No matter how far they go from those waters, their body remembers the way back into death, back home.”
“How?” Elene’s eyes are open but she sees nothing, the sound of wings and birdcall almost drowning out her own thoughts. But heavy footsteps are approaching from behind. She feels Phoibe’s heart stutter and beat furiously at Iasonas’ approach.
“They listen, at the right moment.” Phoibe’s voice is even lower than a whisper. “The other half of witching is knowing when to force the time to be right.”
The priestess gives a smile Elene recognizes from her own practice.
A strong hand pulls Elene away, and Iasonas’s sunlight scent surrounds her.
“It’s time to go. Say goodbye, beloved.”
He laughs. It sounds like one of her smiles.
“Thank you for all you’ve done, Phoibe. Your high priestess will hear from me,” says Iasonas in his lord’s voice.
Phoibe alights the front of the wagon and settles her belongings around her. The horses pull forward, and her cart begins to roll away. She does look back, once, but Elene is already gone.
Iasonas comes to Elene in the night, pressing himself against the full length of her body until all of her senses are full of only him.
I need to make sure you’re still here. Still mine.
His mouth is always hungry, as if she is a cup that can be drained, a plucked golden fruit to crunch down to its poison-pipped core.
She no longer dreams at all.
He sings constantly. The servants walk around dazed, and then begin to wear cloth wrapped around their heads, covering their ears. She would do the same, but he is always there. His soft water voice becomes a driving rain. Nary a corner or hiding hole in the house has any claim to silence. It flavors her soup and her bread.
She vibrates with the melody until her body shakes with a desperate energy.
Run, it says.
She flies out of the house and keeps going, through the orchards and fields of flax towards a small clearing. Her body propels her towards the squat hives and the golden sisters that work the combs within. The sun is high; the scent of warm sweet grass mixed with blossoming lavender and mneme has called all of the hive’s gatherers to work. The wave of happy buzzing flows over the wall of song, and suddenly she can do more than follow her husband’s words endlessly up and up through relentless melody.
A clay cup lies in the grass, chipped and cracked, but still a capable vessel.
By the river of forgetting, Sleep was born, their birthblood mixing among the water leaving trails of blossoming mneme in its wake. Mneme and the honey made of its nectar encourage Sleep, the gentlest of the gods of Death.
When the cup is empty, her thoughts are quiet again. She sleeps under the shade of the warm hives, herbs for her pillow. Elene dreams: a dark and silent murmuration sweeps her up and carries her along the path of a black river.
When they return her softly to her feet, the cloud of birds rises and falls to condense into a figure. They have night skin and star hair, and a face so familiar she can almost taste a name on her tongue. She has tasted them, and shivered under them, and hears them call to her,
“Take it back. If you want it, take it back.”
Someone is screaming, maybe. It is hard, underneath the blanket the mneme provides, to judge distances. But someone is screaming and she should go, perhaps. To them or away? Elene moves toward the sound. It may be Iasonas screaming.
I might like that.
When she arrives in the courtyard, she sees that it is not Iasonas in pain. A servant lies on the ground, arms raised over his head, fragments of a destroyed vase nearby. Iasonas’s fists rain down on his head, over and over like a staccato beat on a hide drum. As one, she and the servant make a sound of shattering. Her husband looks up from his work to face her. His eyes are as bright as a noon sky.
Someone is still screaming. It sounds like the call of a thousand birds, a flock giant enough to block out the sun and turn day to night.
Iasonas is traveling to the city. The words ring in her mind over and over.
Iasonas is leaving.
He kisses Elene on the cheek when he bids farewell to the gathered household. Her smiles are perfected by now, but this one is so bright Iasonas blinks under its glare.
Since those fast grabbing hands on her resurrection bed, she has been watched. All hands in this huge house are Iasonas’ hands, ready to bring her back to him. Report her words back to him. All things flowing steadily irrevocably towards him.
A witch knows when to force the time to be the right time.
Iasonas is gone. Something left coiled in her belly since she drank the meadow honey slips its leash. She orders the servants to leave her be. Off with them.
Who is she to give commands?
She is the one who was dead and now is not dead. One immediate fear wins out over the other.
Elene moves from room to room. They are perfumed with beeswax and oil, smoky wood and old wine: the scent of a rich man’s things. Everywhere something waits for his pleasure.
How long will Iasonas be gone? He loves his things. He loves me. Iasonas will come back.
Outside the wind surges. A storm maybe, blowing in from the sea. Birds call, screaming alack and alarum: the sky grows dark, be ready.
Iasonas will come back.
Behind a hung tapestry, she finds a narrow set of white stairs. They seem to stretch upwards infinitely, her head pulsing suddenly to the tune of Iasonas’ song. Pain drops her to the floor. Elene crawls up the old slats on her hands and knees.
At the top of the stair a plain unlocked door opens onto ashes and blood.
There is a bed, burned, sheets bloody and charred. The floor and walls are black. The fire would‘ve risen nearly to the ceiling, its heat unbearable. Her vision wavers and distorts now, as if the heat of that blaze still burns in some version of this dead room. Memory and forgetting curl into a knot, nectar and mneme stirred together in the cauldron of her belly, heavy and hot.
Why does a man go into death to take back his wife? Is it love?
What kind of man loves like this?
Elene falls to the floor and covers her hands in the ashes of his devotion, paints her eyes with its kohl. She pushes charblack fingers into her mouth and stuffs herself full of her death until her mouth and teeth are painted black, until she can’t eat anymore.
The ash sits heavy. Something deep in her belly writhes. She retches it all up until she is shaking on the floor, pulled into the waking dream of her lost memory, now found.
“Do you not rule here!” Elene howls.
“I rule amongst others, all of us bound by laws set down before time began.” says Night’s grandchild, guardian of hell, shepherd of souls.
Mihr, her dream walker. The god wears a cloak of feathers, black spangled with stars that match their bright hair. She’s held those strands of moonlight between her fingers, grasped them tight in the midst of release. This will be the last time she smells her lover’s starburned skin.
He holds her close while she cries. Even in halls built from the last sighs of the dead there can be new tragedies.
“The story is written. He’s paid his way into hell, and not even a god can ignore his demand.”
“I don’t want to go.”
He can only hold her gently, grief wrapping around them both.
“Roads can go both ways, if you have the will to walk them,” he says, when their tears are exhausted.
“What can I do?”
“When you find it, take your death back.”
Elene was dragged out of her own death screaming.
You fucking shit! Face me, Iasonas! Turn back and look at me!
She’s no longer alone in the burned room of her resurrection. No thief is ever secure in what they have stolen. How could Iasonas stay away?
Iasonas the shit, Iasonas who was supposed to be gone and finally leave her alone.
Her understanding comes alive like a chick bursting through the thick shell of her amnesia. She knows, and she knows, and she knows: when she died, it was Iasonas’ hands wrapped tight around her neck.
Her soul walked the roads to hell. The fields of rushes, bounded by rivers of bitterness and forgetting, glowing under the kind glow of Osiris’s love and tended by his children. There was a godling with a gentle voice and clear eyes. Mihr’s kisses tasted like flowers and rain. He took after his mother that way: grass and flowers grew under his feet anywhere he walked. He was often quiet, preferring to listen to her silences than his own words.
Every soul gets to rest. There are rules. Laws. There are stories.
Who goes into death to steal back the dead?
Iasonas and his music. Iasonas and his gods-damned possession. Iasonas and his love.
She’d prayed, all the way up the winding path from hell, that he would fail. If he turned back even once, she would keep her death.
Please let him look back. Gods, please make him look back.
Iasonas you fucking thief!
She stopped praying, and planned. Planting the seed of her fury and her love and her death deep inside her, ready for the right time to bloom.
A witch knows when to make her own time.
Elene’s eyes open, dark and full of stars. Iasonas sees his reflection in their void, a bell tolling in his heart. But it’s far too late for that.
She screams like an earthquake. Like a soul cracking through its shell and emerging into godhood. The sound is force, climbing out of her as an army gains upon a foreign beach. In its wake, nothing survives.
Roads can go both ways, if you have the will to walk them.
Elene is gone.
She’s digging a tunnel through worlds with her screams, blackening time with her tears, and rending her way through existence with her teeth. It is a rough and uncouth mode of travel, but the method of infant gods tends towards the crude. She’s in a hurry. Maybe later there will be time for care and subtlety.
Golden ichor burns and surges in her veins like laughter, manic and high. Yes, there will be time. There will be forever.
Forever begins in the land of the dead, by the river of forgetting, under the flowering stars, at the side of a sweet patient Death who waits for her even now. She steels herself and does not look back.
Marika Bailey is an Afro-Caribbean author and illustrator whose work has appeared in FIYAH Magazine and Strange Horizons. A childhood obsession with mythology led to her current habit of writing stories that try to explain, “where do people end and gods begin?” She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and the softest cat in the world. You can find her tweeting about drawing and 80’s sitcoms as @Marika_Writes_
Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash
Author of “Honey and Mneme”
What inspired you to write this story?
I’ve long been obsessed with Greek mythology but funnily enough this story was inspired by a very random line from a British murder mystery show called Rosemary &Thyme. In one episode the two main characters are building a garden for a widow, and the theme of the garden is based on the opera Orfeo ed Euridice. I happen to speak not a single word of Italian but the widow’s singing stuck in my head long after the show was done. And I started to wonder why no one ever asked Eurydice how she felt about dying and coming back to life…
What do you hope readers take from this story?
I hope it makes the reader wonder about other stories we are told about “devotion” and “love” and whether or not love should actually look like that.
To give other writers hope, would you mind sharing with us how many edits and/or submissions this story has been through?
Well! This story has had a bit of a journey. It came to me rather quickly (for me anyway, I come from the slow cooker family of writers) and I sent it off immediately to a magazine that was doing an open call. Well they liked it, but it wasn’t for them. And that was the case for the next four places I submitted it to. Eventually, I let it rest for a bit and came back to it. I was determined to rewrite the whole thing from top to bottom, strip it down to the studs and build it back new again.
But it didn’t feel right. So I put it away again. And this time when I came back to it, I was able to keep all the things that I felt had to be there and cut some of the pieces of the story that were getting in the way of its flow. My husband suggested I submit it one more time (he is the best cheerleader anyone could have) and I sent it out to Apparition. I think most of the stories I’ve published are like that. They all kind of have a journey to completion that have little to do with when and how I want them to be done.
Recommend something to us! This could be a book, a short story, a video game, a project you’ve heard about, something you’re working on, etc. Anything that has you excited and that you want people to know about.
One of the best books I’ve read recently is The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games, by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. I think as we go through this radical reimagining of our society we should all interrogate the ways in which each of us carry stories that we’ve been told. Stories about who belongs where, and who matters, and where we belong. Just like the myths that have built what is called the “Western canon” the stories we have been told about our world have been repeated a million times, but that doesn’t mean they are true. Reexamining the assumptions in the stories that we read and those that we write is incredibly important, and that’s what The Dark Fantastic helps you to do.