Short Stories

“Rains of Craifa, Figure 1 – Girl with Shavlas” – published in Straeon 1: Malady Fare
          In the dream she was standing behind a curtain of rain. Her hair—longer than it really was, he thought after waking—streamed down her shoulders like strands of dark moss floating in a river, her skin glistened with an uncanny radiance. He wanted to reach for her—to touch her hand. But he was on a boat, and it was moving slowly away, down the wide brown river, rippled with rain. He pressed against the railing and reached toward her, but could not touch her. She watched him, her gold eyes full of joy; she didn’t understand that he was going—that the boat was taking him away.
          Then there were ribbons of strange, rich colors—orange and red and brown—dancing across the sky, and across a ground that flowed like water under his feet. An enormous white bird, poised on stilt-like legs, graceful and refined in every detail, was watching him out of the round yellow eye in its long narrow head, crowned with a fan of white feathers. And she was beside him again, naked but for a swathe of brown cloth, thick and soft like velvet, wrapped loosely around her slight form.


“The Memory of Trees” – published in LC-39, Issue 2
***Also available as a Kindle eBook on Amazon***
            There was much that Silas Ash had forgotten and had to remember, slowly, painstakingly.  His name was one thing that had never left him; like a staff that he could lean upon, it was something solid of which he could always be certain.  He had eventually remembered almost everything, so perhaps it was trivial; there had never been any question that he knew who he was.  Yet the familiarity of the two words—Silas Ash—was comforting, and the simplicity of the fact: he knew his name.  But now he did not know where he was.
            He was standing in the middle of an empty road, in a strange and silent forest.  The trees around him were brownish-pink, and he saw that their long needles were like those of pines, only thicker.  The trunks and branches were smooth and scarcely darker than the needles, so that the trees looked singularly molded, as if made of clay or flesh.  Although they were shaped like pines, they made Silas think of sea anemones.  The branches moved: rocking, shifting, nodding and falling, as if answering to a gentle breeze.  But he did not feel a breeze.  The air felt warm and very still.


“Cloud Girl”  – on submission
This coming-of-age story is a tie-in to my novel, The Heart of Elebfar.  It is set in one of my favorite worlds—and a world I know very well.  I like this one a lot; it was one of those ‘gifts from the the muse’ that came easily and unexpectedly.  And like “The Memory of Trees”, I think it has an almost ‘Le Guin-esque’ elegance.
            Scrabbling for the gray ball, the players jostled each other, lunging to and fro, churning the dust up about their brown legs.  Only their black-skinned faces—and flashes of their black palms, grimed with sweat and dirt—stood out through the brown veil; their fur was so close to the color of the ground they might have risen from it, like spirals of dust lifted by a dry summer wind.
            At first Nevae thought they must be boys a few years younger than she was.  As she watched, she realized they were young men just past the threshold of adulthood, at least her own age.  But they were so unlike the men she knew.
            When they finished their game, the youths collected garments hanging on the sagging fence.  Nevae’s gaze followed them as she picked up her basket.  In a lazy, easy manner, they pulled on soiled work trousers with leather kneepads, and tossed faded woven vests—the kind cut from worn-out winter ponchos—over their shoulders.  They stepped into the street, and the one she’d been watching was watching her.

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