For the Grimdark Fantasy Reader

The point of her shovel chips the ground where she drops it. She presses her foot on the blade’s flat rim and pushes. Clods of dirt break free, tossed aside to tumble and slide down the slope. Rimma presses her lips behind her teeth and digs into our bone wall alone. Her shovel has gouged a well nearly a foot deep when she hits something hard. She widens the hole’s edges, digging around the thing until she can lever it up. On her knees, she reaches in and pulls from the soil, the first long, pitted, ivory bone.

More shovels join in the excavation, the exhumed grave widening and deepening until shovels aren’t required, the bones resting on bones like loose gravel, bones nestled in bones in pockets of air, a tomb built of millions upon millions of bones. They rise from the top of the wall one at a time, in handfuls, in bouquets of rib bones, the thick-clubbed remains of arms and legs, blades of the back and hips, butterfly bones of the spine, hollow-eyed grinning skulls, the delicate twigs of fingers and toes.

The People watch with sober faces as we unearth their past, our past. I wonder if they’ve clawed into these walls before, if this vision is as fresh and tormenting to them as it is to us. The bone wall extends for miles. How far and how long will Rimma dig? I don’t believe she can stop.

“That’s enough, Rimma,” I say, squatting beside her. “Peace, Sister.”

She sits back on her heels, eyes closed, a tiny skull in her lap no larger than her clasped hands, an unborn child perhaps. She raises it over the open pit, and when her fingers open, it drops clattering back in, the toothless jaw snapping off. I believe that if I didn’t stand there, at the rim of her experience, at the edge of the gaping hole in the bone wall, she would have leaned forward and fallen into the grave herself. Without a word or glance, she rises to her feet, and with the shovel over her shoulder, trudges back up the spoke to Heaven.

~The Bone Wall

Yep, a little promotion 🙂


Flood Update: We are safe and dry and have lights as of late last night. Thank you for all the kind thoughts and comments. All is well.

The Melding of Aeris arrives with the rain

The Melding of Aeris showed up today down by the barns, wrapped in plastic against the rain. We live out in the boonies and that’s as close to the house as anything in the back of a delivery truck is likely to get. This is the time of year in Oregon when the faucet turns on. The rain literally pours, like in buckets, and it will do so for the next eight or nine months. We have fifty different words for rain out here and at least a dozen for the rays of sunshine that occasionally burst through the clouds. Back east we had rain showers; here we have sun breaks.

This is the season of moss too, thick squishy moss on roofs and fences and anything else left outside. A local photographer takes pictures of old junk cars covered in decades of moss. There’s one that catches my eye – a car so encased in its emerald cloak that it appears as if there’s a steering wheel in a secret green cave. I could crawl in through the window and pretend I’m a hobbit.

Our summers are so short that we pack a year’s worth of outdoor chores, vacations, picnics, festivals, gardening, and hikes into three months (that’s if we’re lucky). The arrival of rain usually accompanies a massive sigh. Light a fire in the woodstove, put on a pot of tea, back bread, swallow 500 mg. of vitamin D, grab a good book, and enjoy a forced respite from the frenzy of summer. And it’s good sleeping weather by the by. We open the window and listen to the rain pound on our metal roof. I love the rain this time of year. But I won’t tell you how I feel about it come June.

The Melding of Aeris is now available through Amazon.