A double-issue, in celebration of our 100th issue!
"Has death made you a demon, Lady? No! All who are mortal must die, but not all who die become ghosts. You did, and that is because your hopes and dreams as a living woman were so completely frustrated. Therefore, your defining characteristic is not death but rather an excess of the yin principle, which you would instinctively attempt to counter by taking my living energy. Your present condition is not fate but rather a condition, an illness. An illness can be cured."
There are clankers and buzzers out during the bright hours of the day but the hidey hole is safe and I much desire to drink myself into blackness with a flask of the grog I trade for but I have my daughter with me and a man cannot live who loses his daughter due to insensibility or slowness of reaction. I shiver and sweat all day long and the sound of the clankers makes my blood boil with fury and despair and that is a most helpless kind of combination.
Every one of our people hears three stories of Agani in their lifetime: once when we leave childhood behind and become women; the second before we marry and become one with another; and the third when we must face death and send a loved one off to the other world. I had hoped to tell you the first story in the summers to come. It is my sorrowful task to tell you all three, instead.
Before Aunt Victoria, I hadn't realized that a virtue could be a curse. In the schoolyard, my friends and I had always pretended at being grownups, putting on old necklaces of our mothers' and aspiring to the greatness of colors we had heard of or invented—things like deep purple Valor and moss-colored Genius. A virtue like Aunt Victoria's, though...