Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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Tag: short fiction

“The Accoutrements of Rest” by Del Wrennen

The plain was measureless. Aside from offering the occasional visual cue in the form of a tarweed shrub or boulder, it held no real sense of distance or direction. Further, though Jared felt movement—the rhythmic plodding of his horse sent soft vibrations up through the saddle horn—there seemed a lack of forward inertia. The earth acted as if on a great axle that was slowly spinning in counterbalance to the horse’s hooves. As hooves punched into parched earth, dust gathered around the mount’s hindquarters, and from a distance it appeared as if the animal trod upon a low-flying cloud: the world’s first wingless Pegasus—in flight, yet bound by oppressive heat to the ranks of the lower atmosphere . . .

“Safe to Cry” by Nyaboke Nduati

In my mind I could hear the phone ringing, but my eyes were fixated on the first page of a chapter in my thesis that needed work. All I could think about was how sick I was of that thesis. It all seemed pointless. None of the contents of this two hundred–page document was going to change the world in the slightest way . . .

“The Girl Who Died Twice” by Sharyn Kolberg

They say she was buried alive. Rufina Cambaceres was a great beauty on the eve of her nineteenth birthday when a friend whispered in her ear a terrible secret: Rufina’s beloved fiancé was having an affair with Rufina’s own mother. Rufina collapsed to the floor. Three doctors declared her dead; they did not know her heart still beat, however slowly.

She was interred until a few days later, when workers heard her scream. When they unburied her there were scratches on her face and on the coffin lid from her attempts to escape. They were too late to save her. Her mother then had her laid above ground in a white marble mausoleum, her coffin behind a glass wall so that if the lid should ever rise again, everyone could see . . .