You’ve probably heard of the survival of the fittest? It’s where things first broke down. An immortal doesn’t have to be fit for anything; he’s going to survive anyway. Immortality was evolution’s biggest screw-up, and any ecosphere worth its salt is going to do its best to make sure an immortal never breeds.
But they try.
This is the opening of “And Only the Eyes of Children,” my urban fantasy short appearing in Fae. Fae is an anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish, full of fairy tales quite unlike traditional nursery stories.
It’s a pretty cool book, I’m really looking forward to it, and today I get to share the cover with you! Also, a contest, because we want to.
Autumn is my favorite season, so I’m a bit enthusiastic about this cover. But let me tell you about the book.
Meet Robin Goodfellow as you’ve never seen him before, watch damsels in distress rescue themselves, get swept away with the selkies and enjoy tales of hobs, green men, pixies and phookas. One thing is for certain, these are not your grandmother’s fairy tales.
Fairies have been both mischievous and malignant creatures throughout history. They’ve dwelt in forests, collected teeth or crafted shoes. Fae is full of stories that honor that rich history while exploring new and interesting takes on the fair folk from castles to computer technologies and modern midwifing, the Old World to Indianapolis.
Fae covers a vast swath of the fairy story spectrum, making the old new and exploring lush settings with beautiful prose and complex characters. Enjoy the familiar feeling of a good old-fashioned fairy tale alongside urban fantasy and horror with a fae twist.
With an introduction by Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, and all new stories from Sidney Blaylock Jr., Amanda Block, Kari Castor, Beth Cato, Liz Colter, Rhonda Eikamp, Lor Graham, Alexis A. Hunter, L.S. Johnson, Jon Arthur Kitson, Adria Laycraft, Lauren Liebowitz, Christine Morgan, Shannon Phillips, Sara Puls, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Kristina Wojtaszek.
A little bit fantasy, a little bit horror, and it releases July 22, 2014. Enter the giveaway below, and then read on down for a couple of other excerpts.
From Solomon’s Friend by Kristina Wojtaszek
Tell you the truth, I didn’t feel much of a need to make myself scarce when I saw what I saw in Solomon’s eyes. He’s a special one, that little guy. Call it a syndrome or part of a spectrum or whatever you will, but there’s another facet to his innocence; a kind of clarity of mind you humans don’t often have. And it was obvious right away, just in the way he looked at me, like there was nothing in the world to be surprised about, finding a hairy little dude inside his geode. Truth be told, I knew I’d been sent here for a reason, and the moment he split my world open, I was faithfully his.
That being said, I should probably get a few things off my overgrown chest here and now, because you’re a wonderful mamacita and all, but you’ve got some things wrong about your kid. Like when Solly seems to assign life to everyday objects. That’s actually my fault (mostly). Remember that time he propped his dirty sock up on the end table and said it was “watching him” play Mario?
I saw that look on your face, your forehead all creased up, and I just want you to know, he didn’t actually think the sock was alive. Thing is, I’d kind of made a sleeping bag out of that sock. The little dude knew I was in there, peeking out through the hole where his big toe had worn through but Solomon is smart enough not to mention the little “troll” living in his sock; he knows the meaning of your looks, too, and he knew how much worse that would sound than to say the sock itself was alive.
And come on! If he’d glued a couple of google eyes to the sock, you wouldn’t have thought it was all that crazy, now would you? Kid just wants a friend, is all. Even though you can’t see me, and a lot of times (mostly so he doesn’t get in deep shit) I stay outta sight, he knows when I’m around. So give the kid a break– it isn’t about the sock, ok?
And man is he smart, but you have to take the time to understand his logic. Like just the other day. I was up on his ceiling fan making a regular banquet out of all the dust up there (don’t judge, you eat what you like, I’ll eat what I like!) when you yelled at him for licking the soap off his hands and sent him to his room. So there I was with a nice five o’ clock of sweet, gray fuzz, and I hear Solly down below me start whispering to himself (by the way, he does that when he’s figuring something out, so don’t mess with that, alright?) So he says, real softly, “I ate it because you said there are germs inside my body, duh!”
Duh, mamacita! How else is he supposed to kill those nasty germs that live inside him?
From The Queen of Lakes by L.S. Johnson:
The moment the path starts to dip, the world goes silent. The very wind ceases to blow; not a leaf stirs, not an animal can be seen, not even an insect. There is only the rasp of my breath, the blood thudding in my ears.
It is forty-two steps from the silence to the far end of the curve. Forty-two steps where the only sound in the world is myself.
Myself and the each-uisge, I mean.
“Where did you go?” I ask. For he is beside me, though I did not hear him approach. I never hear him.
“Here and there,” he gurgles. His voice is low and wet, as if his mouth were full of jelly. “Across great lakes and little rivers, so many lovely sights. Though not a one as lovely as you, Rose.”
He teases my braid, making it sticky and knotted, and I slap his hand away. Thanks to his fondling I’ve been scolded by Mrs. Duggan more than once now, for looking slovenly. He strokes the bare strip of my throat instead, smearing my skin as he hooks a gluey finger beneath my scarf, trying to tug it away from my neck.
His fingers are so very cold.
The first time he touched me I was so frightened I nearly stopped walking, but I did not stop, I have never stopped.
I do not know what will happen if I stop.