Tuesday, June 11, 2019

New story up on Curious Fictions, one of my favorites. Read the whole thing here.

Dragon's Beak and Wings of Bronze, or Something Unusual Happens to Allis

Eagle's beak cover 1

One summer afternoon, Lady Caroline hitched up her skirts, rolled two vinegar barrels into the corner of the cool, stone-floored herbarium and sat down for a private chat with her daughter, Allis. “You’re almost a woman, my dear, and it’s time you learned the family secret. The truth is, we’re were.”

Allis’s soft hazel eyes wandered to the hanging bundles of rosemary and feverfew. “Where?”

“Not ‘where.’ ‘Were’.” Lady Caroline sighed. Her sons were small and lean, as black-eyed and quick-tongued as she, while her only daughter . . .

“Were,” she repeated, speaking slowly so Allis could understand, “as in were-wolves. But not until your woman’s cycles come, and almost certainly not a wolf. I’m not, and neither is your aunt Jessie. Our family tradition has always been far more imaginative.”

Allis heard the sigh and the patience in her mother’s voice. Drifting on the patter of words, she guessed that something was going to happen to her, something that involved turning into an animal. Not a wolf, for she wasn’t nearly clever enough to be a wolf. Something slow and sleepy, like she felt right now. A lizard dozing in the sun? A turtle on a log?

Oh, dear. Suppose she became a were-turtle and nibbled on ants’ eggs? When she turned back into a girl, would the eggs still be inside her stomach?

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