Stories appearing in Winter 2016
"Stop," I say, smoothing Asya's braids back from her forehead and tucking them behind her ear. They are greasy with fear-sweat and worse and leave an oily residue on my fingers. "That's enough."
A week before the occupation's seventy-fifth anniversary, they have come to interview Blanca about the night of that last battle—not because they know what she has seen, but because she is the only person left who was alive when it happened.
Jala never figured herself a sucker for the bonds of childhood friendship. Friendship was an over-generous word, frankly, for what she and Willhemenia had.
“This is stupid,” Surge grumbled as he struggled into his trousers. The argument was all too familiar to his companion. Shilla n’Torran, Guardian of the West, held out his traveling cloak in silence.
The boy’s hair smelled of fire. He couldn’t be more than twelve years old, the sole survivor of a bandit raid at a nearby farm. Maximu’s hands twisted the hem of her apron so hard her knuckles hurt.
The cold wind oozed over the camp; seeping through the yellow canvas of the commanders’ tents, blowing over the common soldiers huddled for warmth around scant campfire or sleeping under makeshift shelters.
In the top drawer of my desk, there is a calotype photograph of Hieronymus Grayle, shadowed and indistinct. Someone—not me—penciled the date April 22, ω89 along the bottom in stiff copperplate.
Postcards are dangerous things. Letters are much safer. They arrive secure in their little envelopes so they can be easily set aside. Only to be opened when the person they are addressed to is ready to read them. Postcards are read in their entirety the moment someone checks the address.