“‘Even the Tamaran have tattoos with secret meanings,” ze had said, winking at me. ‘Each mark belongs to its owner and no one else. That’s the most sacred rule.’
And of all the things from my childhood, that’s what stuck the most. It was the reason, despite my rabid curiosity, why I had never asked Tara more than she was willing to share about the many images that were imprinted on her own, brass-colored skin. Not that it didn’t keep me from being extraordinarily jealous.”
-from “A Certain Indelible Future” (science fiction, Feb 2022)
“‘A prayer for safety?’ It had been silent but for their movement through the grass, and Lark cast her eyes up to Cormorant in question as he addressed her. He jerked his head back toward the now distant line in the dirt.
‘Mmmhm,’ she responded, ‘An old invocation of the Light. I feel better when I remember there’s something waiting for me in the dark.’ Already her speech was easier and more like it’s natural fluid state.
‘You’re pretty certain we’re going to die.’ Cormorant prodded.
‘Nothing is certain, obviously, but…’ her voice faltered and dropped again, flattening out at the bottom. ‘They all die out here. Every one. Your son-‘
‘I try not to think about it.'”
“She placed a hand flat on one of the soft-clover shaped snouts, trying to avoid its flat, snapping teeth. Little beads of magic pushed out from her fingers searching for the snarl of agitated animal brain and the sparking edges of semi-thought.
‘The world is as it should be,’ she impressed upon it.
It took a few minutes for the racing dromaroc brain to decide that it wasn’t in danger then another for the wave of calm to hit the others in the pen. Quickly, they lifted their bodies up onto the humped back of one beast each.”
-from “Rihlat Mayta” (fantasy adventure, Nov 2020)
“He leaned forward over the bathroom sink and stared up at his ragged reflection in the mirror. He needed a shave probably. The part time job he was forced to work as a condition of his residence in this house wasn’t especially picky about employee appearance, but he was already on thin ice. Oh, well. He couldn’t be blamed for being unemployed if they fired him, right? He played with the part in his scraggly blond hair. He needed a haircut, too. Also needed to get some of the squishiness out of his midsection. His chest and back hurt and his teeth were yellow. He was too young to be falling apart like this.
‘Well, at least you’ve got potential.’
He spun around to look for the voice. Of course, he was alone in the bathroom.”
-from “The Other I Am” (paranormal horror, Oct 2015)
“I found the painting in the basement in a Japanese tansu. Noriko had moved in a lot of antique furniture when we got married, primarily from the late Edo period, and I had lost track of most of it. The painting itself was buried underneath a stack of clothing and wrapped in old brown paper. I wouldn’t have even known to look for something solid had the chest not made a large thunk when rolled out of the corner.”
-from “Kitsune no Yomeiri” (slipstream drama, Mar 2014)