It's been a real pleasure writing for the Alphabet Anthology series; some of my best stories have come out of Rhonda Parrish's prompts. So I'm delighted to show you the cover for the next instalment of the series; G Is for Ghosts. Subscribers to the Folklore & Fiction dispatch and podcast will have already seen an excerpt from my story around the letter "C," but here it is again, in case you haven't read it.
An Excerpt from "Metal Crow and Ghost Crow"
A great stone wall rose between the beach and the settlement, and beyond them both the crumble of a long-abandoned city gave way to distant mountains. Metal Crow landed on a weathervane in the commons; a sturdy pole topped with a steel rooster that called the time and temperature as he settled beside it. "Fifteen hundred hours and thirty-eight degrees Celsius!"
When the rooster finished, Metal Crow followed in a loud, clear voice. "PRS Unity, Smart Assistant Navigator, requesting emergency medical assistance for one survivor, a girl five years of age, Nathalee Mera. Coordinates are 48.911689 by -125.949934."
Below him in the commons, people hurried between houses painted white to reflect the heat; an old man tucked under a pink umbrella, a beautiful woman in billowing cotton, a smartly dressed little boy sucking on a frozen lolly as it melted into his hand. Metal Crow brightened in his bearing and expression. They valued children! It was a good sign.
A door creaked open. Squinted eyes in a pinched face peered up at the weathervane. A woman's voice shouted, "What was that?"
The old man stopped, tilted his umbrella to look up at Metal Crow, and croaked a reply. "Pacific Rescue Ship's AI navigator."
Another door opened as they spoke. A cluster of people emerged, perhaps a family. First among them was a young man in a linen shirt with gold buttons that gleamed in the sunlight. He descended the porch steps, shielding his eyes to stare up at the weathervane. "What does it want?" he asked. "I heard they're programmed to say anything it takes."
The beautiful woman in billowing cotton smirked up at Metal Crow and inquired, "How many refugees are you not telling us about?"
"None." Metal Crow proffered an anxious bob of his head. "There were forty-two souls when the PRS Unity left San Diego." There was that word again, 'soul'. "But Nathalee Mera is the only survivor, and she needs emergency medical care."
"We could strip the boat for parts," the old man said to the young one.
"You don't really believe they're all dead, do you?" the beautiful woman asked in a tone that suggested the men might be stupid.
"We can't feed forty-two people." The squinting woman stepped around her front door and strode down to the commons in a silk dressing gown and slippers. "We'd be completely over-run."
"One girl." Metal Crow interjected, bewildered now and frightened for Nathalee. He warbled the words again in what he hoped was a pleading tone. "One girl."
The beautiful woman bent down, picked up a stone, and threw it at him. The stone missed and hit the weathervane. "Go back to your boat," she snapped. "Tell the captain we said 'no' and to move on. Don't come back, or the next time, I won't miss."1
Coming October 5th!
Featuring work by Pete Aldin, Andrew Bourelle, Stephanie A. Cain, Beth Cato, M.L.D. Curelas, Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, Amanda C. Davis, Roddy Fosburg, Joseph Halden, Lynn Hardaker, L.S. Johnson, Michael M. Jones, Jeanne Kramer-Smyth, Samantha Kymmell-Harvey, C.S. MacCath, Jonathan C. Parrish, Alexandra Seidel, Samantha L. Strong, Michael B. Tager, Rachel M. Thompson, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Sarah Van Goethem, Xan van Rooyen, Lilah Wild, Suzanne J. Willis and BD Wilson.
These twenty-six ghost stories, each with a unique perspective and style, explore hauntings and specters in ways both new and familiar.
Or ask your local library to order it in.
- 1. C.S. MacCath, “Metal Crow and Ghost Crow,” in G Is for Ghosts, ed. Rhonda Parrish (Edmonton: Poise and Pen, Forthcoming).