The music grew louder, skirling with strange harmonies that wove in and out of each other, and I knew then it couldn't be Nanny, though I did not recognize the instruments. I emerged from the artificial forest to stand behind my brother and sister. An elegant divan covered in striped cream and blue silk was faintly visible out of the corner of my eye. I crossed my arms over my chest as though I could protect myself. "Where is this?"
Flanked by my brother and sister, I opened the orangery door and was enveloped in sweet-scented air.
"a fine spooky (story)" —Rich Horton, Locus
"Recommended" —Lois Tilton, IROSF
Honorable Mention, Year's Best SF 27 (ed. Gardner Dozois)
Million Writers Award Notable Stories of 2009
Shaken, I reach for her arm as though to pull her back, and feel rough skin under the robes: old scars, burns, long healed. For some reason I am reminded of another traveller, long ago, a little girl fleeing a burning house, running out into our pilgrim-train. She would have become a priestess when she grew up, I think. It is not impossible. Tekel, the woman had said before she died, and I wonder what she shares with my son.
We are borne up by fate like leaves on the wind, and sometimes carried home.
"an excellent dark tale of the ravages of war... a Recommended story." —Rich Horton, Locus
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Boreas crushed the keys in his palm to silence them.
She had dreamed of being a weaver, and a fisher, and a soldier, and many different wives, but the life of a seeker of knowledge had never come to her yet.