The song became a chant, slow and rhythmic as a sleeping heart. The dance wove together three women, then four, then one alone with steel in her hand. Zel dreamed on her feet, free of pain, comfortable with the prospect of death. The white bed, the rubied throat. Two of the sisters went away into the darkness beyond the ring of fire. When they returned, they bore a white ghost between them. A white-feathered ghost with yellow eyes that burned brighter than the flames.
Terror overcame even the blindness, and Zel ran.
Locus Recommended Reading List, 2009
"a rich net of betrayal and maneuvering, shifting loyalties, unexpected emotional responses" —Rich Horton, Locus
"Recommended" —Lois Tilton, IROSF
Honorable Mention, Year's Best SF 27 (ed. Gardner Dozois)
Million Writers Award Notable Stories of 2009
Then Sunshine had his hand on Creeper’s shoulder, and in another ten fighting strides Thiever and I were there too, forming a wall between him and the emptiness beyond. Holding his arms, we braced our feet in the living sand and hauled back toward town. Did I mention distance is funny out there? It seemed a very long way back.
For a second or two Creeper just strained against our hold, pale eyes locked and empty on the horizon.
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I am my father’s son, poisoned by the same rituals that have turned his flesh to rock.