Also! A new short story at CLARKESWORLD

Totally forgot this was going up this month; I blame the jetlag. Anyhow, at Clarkesworld this month I have a new short story up: “On the Banks of the River Lex.” It’s in podcast format too, read by the inimitable Kate Baker. A sample:

Death liked to walk across bridges. For this reason he had claimed a home for himself relatively far from the center of town. This was in a big ugly gray stone of a building that had once been a factory, and then had been colonized by artists, and then by trend-obsessed young professionals. Now it was ruled by cats. Death passed perhaps a dozen of them on his way down the stairs, including one mother briskly carrying a mouse and trailed by two gangling adolescents. As usual they ignored his presence, merely slinking out of the way as he passed. On the rare occasions when one would deign to look at him, he nodded in polite greeting. Sometimes they even nodded back.

He had attempted, once, to entice a kitten to live with him. This was something he knew humans had done. But he kept forgetting to bring food, and because he did not sleep, the kitten was unable to cuddle with him at night. After a few days the kitten had left in a huff. He still saw its descendants around the building, and felt lingering regret.

The Williamsburg Bridge had not yet begun to warp and sag like the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. Death suspected there was some logical reason for this — perhaps the Williamsburg had been renovated more recently, or built more sturdily in the first place. But in his heart, Death believed that he helped to keep the bridge intact. By walking across it, he gave the bridge purpose. For all things created by humankind, purpose was the quintessence of existence.

So Death walked into town every day.

A contemplative piece, born from the confluence of my thoughts on the archetypal nature of human metaphysics — gods again, but not quite — and one too many episodes of “Life After People” on the History Channel. And cephalopods. Can never have enough cephalopods.

2 Responses »

  1. Nora – I LOVED this story!!! Eloquent, haunting, and above all interesting! Fantastic job!!

  2. Really wonderful story! I loved the scene with the octopuses. There was something very beautiful and poignant about it. So glad I got to read it—thanks for the link!