“The Centaur’s Daughter” by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
(Originally published in A cappella Zoo.)
As a little girl I never understood my father’s night self. It’s hard to be a kid whose father is two people. He changed every day with the sky. I cried at sunrise. I had trouble sleeping. Still do, and I’ve had seventeen years to process my father’s differences.
When I was small enough that my hands didn’t fit around a soda bottle, I couldn’t be left alone. The babysitter would coax me from the safety of my closet with chocolate granola surprise shakes and a broom guitar upon which she sang classic Elvis. Despite myself I always laughed. I loved that babysitter, but babysitters don’t follow you into high school. Now when I think of her, I see the woman who, once I was old enough to understand, told me that my father was a monster, warned me that I had his blood, that even though I would never look half-horse like him, I could still develop the night terrors, The Confusion. “You better be careful, Ruby. It runs in families, you know,” she said.
I didn’t know. I was twelve and too old for a babysitter, and suddenly I understood that some of the things I had loved as a child, some people, would not carry over into the grown up world.
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s fiction and poetry has appeared in more than 40 magazines and anthologies such as Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Interzone. Her novelette “The Orangery” was a finalist for the 2016 Nebula Award. In 2015, she released the collaborative fiction-jazz album Strange Monsters. You can visit her on Twitter @BonnieJoStuffle or through her website: bonniejostufflebeam.com.
About the Narrator:
Maurine McLean is an Austin, TX musician, plucking the bass with acoustic bands The Therapy Sisters and A Proper Cup of Coffee. She earns her keep in the courtroom, interpreting real-life amazing tales from Spanish to English. Find here on Facebook here.