“Spirit Dance” by Douglas Smith
In the beginning of things, men were as animals and animals as men. — Cree legend
Vera made a warding sign as I entered the store, my hound Gelert trailing behind me. She pretended to wipe her hands on her faded blue apron, but I caught the dance of her fingers.
“Hello, Vera. It’s been a while,” I said.
“Yes, yes it has, Mr. Blaidd,” she said too quickly, not returning my smile. Turning from where she’d been refilling a food bin, she addressed her husband. “I gotta check something in the back, Ed.” Almost running, she slipped behind the long wooden counter and into the storeroom at the rear of the store.
Edward Two Rivers leaned on the counter beside the cash register, a newspaper spread in front of him, his long gray hair spilling onto the pages. He watched her leave then smiled at me.
“Ouch,” I said.
“You still spook her,” he chuckled.
Douglas Smith is an award-winning Canadian author described by Library Journal as “one of Canada’s most original writers of speculative fiction”. His fiction has appeared in twenty-five languages and more than thirty countries. “Spirit Dance” was Doug’s first professional sale, appearing way back in 1997 in the Canadian anthology Tesseracts 6. The tale was also the basis for Doug’s first novel, The Wolf at the End of the World.
If you enjoyed this story, check out that novel, available from all major retailers. Doug’s work also includes the collections Chimerascope, Impossibilia, and La Danse des Esprits. His non-fiction guide for writers, Playing the Short Game: How to Market & Sell Short Fiction, is a must read for any short story writer.
Doug is a three-time winner of Canada’s Aurora Award, and has been a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award, CBC’s Bookies Award, Canada’s juried Sunburst Award, and France’s juried Prix Masterton and Prix Bob Morane. His website is smithwriter.com and he tweets as @smithwritr.
About the Narrator:
Mark “The Encaffeinated One” Kilfoil loves fiction, so much so that he’s written some (such as the Parsec-nominated Tainted Roses), read quite a lot (a library of over a thousand half-read books and growing), and now narrates it (sometimes actually recorded for others). He’s found that volunteering for a dozen years in radio was a decent way to get a full-time job as a Program Director at a community radio station in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, but not such a great way to finish his thesis, so he stopped at a Masters in Computer Science. He can be heard frequently on CHSRfm.ca, and two of his shows regularly appear as podcasts, and can be found at encaffeinated.ca and theweirdshow.com. He likes cats enough to pet them but not enough to own one, and computers enough to own several but pet none of them. He will someday write a million words, but at this rate, that will require life extension, so he eagerly awaits the ability to upload into a computer, if that hasn’t already happened and this is all only a simulation.