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A Free Short Story

'Yes yes' the populace may say. 'The short stories set in the Demon's Lexicon universe are all well and good. But you keep speaking of anthologies. And yet anthologies are dodgy, how do we know we'll like the other stories? How do we know we'll like yours? How's about a short story not set in the Demon's Lexicon universe for sweet, sweet freesies?'

Your entirely imaginary wish is my command. ;)

The fabulous Gwenda Bond has put together a special YA edition of Subterranean magazine, and here it is!

The table of contents is as follows:

"Queen of Atlantis” by Sarah Rees Brennan
“Mirror, Mirror” by Tobias S. Buckell
“Younger Women” by Karen Joy Fowler
“Their Changing Bodies” by Alaya Dawn Johnson
“The Ghost Party” by Richard Larson
“Valley of the Girls” by Kelly Link
“The Fox” by Malinda Lo
“Seek-No-Further” by Tiffany Trent
“Demons, Your Body, and You” by Genevieve Valentine

Am I in some fancy company or what? The stories are released weekly, and Malinda Lo's and Karen Joy Fowler's awesome stories are already up.

As of today, so is mine.

I have constantly insisted that it is Undead Prejudice which leads to the vampire boyfriend being so much more popular than the zombie boyfriend. I search for zombie boyfriends all the time. (Um... in bookshops. Not in... cemeteries. Just so we're clear.) I seldom find them. Though Karen in Daniel Waters's Passing Strange is a pretty awesome zombie girlfriend.

Just because someone is a little more greeny-grey than glamorously pallid, should that be an obstacle to true love? No, I say! Brains, say the zombie boyfriends! But they mean no.

So, this is my story. Sort of Beauty and the Beast - and sort of high fantasy - and a sort of zombie boyfriend.

This is the adorable meet-cute.

The steps down to the cellar were dark and narrow. She tried to go down carefully, but when she missed her footing and grabbed at the wall to support herself her hands slid and found no purchase on the stone. She landed on her face in wet rubble, pulled herself up on her hands and knees and saw a rat scurrying away under a pile of fallen rafters and stones.

A rat. Mede gave a dry little laugh, strangled as soon as born.

“So,” she said aloud. “You and I are the only ones alive in this place.”

“That’s not quite true,” said a voice behind her.

Mede scrambled to sit up, to turn and see who was speaking, and her movement must have startled the rat. It streaked out of its hiding place and Mede saw its left side for the first time: saw the fur hanging like an open coat to show a flash of bone, the empty twisted blackness where an eye should have been.

The voice was dark and low, like polluted water running underground.

It said: “The rat’s not alive.”

I know, I know. So hot. How do I do it? You can read Queen of Atlantis right here. I hope you enjoy!


( 62 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 2nd, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)

Lolol!! Brilliant.

May. 2nd, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)
You and your zombie boyfriend love have inspired me to write a romantic comedy about the zombie apocalypse. It will be called Necromance, and the tagline will be, "Just because you don't have a brain doesn't mean you don't have a heart."

And I am so very much in love with Beauty and the Beast, so this is already my new most favorite thing in the world. Thank you for always being brilliant.
May. 2nd, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
That story was *amazing*. Thank you so much!
May. 2nd, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
Wow, that was brilliant. And rather heart-breaking.
May. 2nd, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
Wow. That was a beautiful story. *sob*
May. 2nd, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
Your story is amazing! I know you said 'sort of Beauty and the Beast', but it is such a unique tale you've created. I like that the ending was more like some original fairytales, rather than Disney-fied. At first I was sort of like 'Noooo! How can she do this to me??' But I actually think I prefer this ending, because the princess knows it was the right thing to do even with the end result being so heartbreaking! You had me hooked from the very beginning, and I love the idea of the poison tides! I was only a short way into the story before I was itching to try and draw it, THANK YOU SARAH!
May. 2nd, 2011 10:13 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you for reading! I am always super flattered to hear I have awakened others' creative impulses. ;)
May. 2nd, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
What a lovely present to find when one is sick at home; a sweet Sarah story. Of course, it could also be seen as a grim reminder of one's own mortality... I think I need to go lie down. ^^;
May. 2nd, 2011 09:12 pm (UTC)
I hope you feel better!
May. 2nd, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
I love this story -- I keep reading it over and over and over again! Even though it is kind of heart-breaking, but in a good way. Thank you for writing it.
May. 2nd, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous. I cried.
May. 2nd, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
Lovely! I especially adore the part where she asks him for his arm. I also love that you weren't afraid to go for the tough ending. (Sad, because I really liked them already even after so short a story and wanted them to be happy ever after, but in terms of story-telling, definitely a good choice.) Thanks for sharing it online with us!
May. 2nd, 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
Very intelligently and powerfully done, and one I'm sure I'll be reading again and again. Thank you muchly for this one, madame; I'll be sure to pass it through my reading crowd!
May. 2nd, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
GULP! I can't believe you did that to us! ...actually I can. And it's brilliant. Brilliant and difficult and so not your normal Beauty and the Beast! And you had me, too, right up until the end. Eeep.
May. 2nd, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
I really liked this! Stories about girls who Have a Noble But Difficult Duty and Do It Well are so much rarer than comparable stories about boys.
May. 3rd, 2011 12:29 pm (UTC)
That's totally what my high fantasy novel will be about, should I get the chance to write it. ;)
May. 2nd, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
I do not think I can speak about this story coherently, because I love it so much. I keep dissolving into squees of "Her name!" "The city!" "The end!" But I'm a huge Robin McKinley fan, and I can totally see a conversation between this and Beauty. Don't know if you meant that at all, but I find it fascinating. And brilliant, and tragic.
May. 3rd, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
I'm impressed. Though I'm not a fan of vampires either, I didn't honestly think anyone could pull off Zombie Boyfriend. BUT YOU DID. Love the old-fairy-tale evocativeness of it.
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( 62 comments — Leave a comment )


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