Flash Fiction: “Adventuring” by Jennifer Donohue
Sometimes, you can stop to breathe.
Sometimes, you repack that worn leather pack, which has been with you longer than any companion, and find the detritus from when you started, from before you bled so much. From when you were just goofing off in an inn, or at a trail marker.
A whetstone, from before you had a magical sword which never needs honing.
That last bottle of lamp oil. A forgotten healing potion, always a fortuitous find.
A cheap trail ration, long hardened beyond edible use.
The dog-eared book you meant to keep a diary in, or writer letters home. Did you ever write letters home? Maybe on holidays. Did you ever return home? Not even for a visit.
Jennifer R. Donohue has a degree in psychology, though she’s mostly used that to teach her Doberman useful and amusing tricks. She works at her local library in central New York, where she lives with her fiancé. She blogs about dog ownership at The Elka Almanac and about writing and whatever else catches her fancy at Authorized Musings.
Main Story: “As the Wheel Turns” by Aliette de Bodard
In the Tenth Court of Hell stands the Wheel of Rebirth.Its spokes are of red lacquered wood; it creaks as demons pull it, dragging its load of souls back into the world.And before the Wheel stands the Lady.
Every soul who goes to the Wheel must endure her gaze. Every soul must stop by her, and take from her pale hands the celadon cup, and drink.
The drink is herbs gathered from the surfaces of ponds, tears taken from the eyes of children, scales shed from old, wise dragons. To drink is to forget, for no soul can come back into the world remembering past lives, or the punishments meted out to it within the other Courts of Hell.
Aliette de Bodard lives and works in Paris, where she has a day job as a System Engineer. In her spare time, she writes speculative fiction: her Aztec noir trilogy Obsidian and Blood is published by Angry Robot, and her short stories have appeared in markets such as Clarkesworld Magazine, Asimov’s, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction. She has won a Nebula, a Locus, and a British Science Fiction Association Award. Her latest release is the Vietnamese space opera On a Red Station, Drifting. Visit aliettedebodard.com for more information.
About the Narrators:
Sarah Frederickson was born in Oregon in the United States, and was raised in beautiful Minnesota. At a young age she realized her passion for musical performance and the creative arts. Sarah spent most of her childhood singing and acting – both onstage and off – and affecting various accents for fun.
She soon found herself competing in local, state and national forensics competitions (that’s competitive speaking). Her experience and awards landed her a forensics scholarship to Bethel University in St.Paul Minnesota, where she continued to compete as well as train other speakers at the collegiate level. Sarah graduated with a degree in Music business and Audio Production. Shortly after graduation she traveled to Australia for a one-year holiday. During that time she became smitten with an Australian man who asked her to stay, and four years later the couple live and work in Australia, going on adventures, writing music and reading stories to their cat.
Nikolle Doolin is a writer and a voice actor. Her fiction, poetry, and plays have been published and presented; and her voice has appeared in various media. Nikolle has performed numerous narrations for a number of popular and award-winning podcasts, such as The NoSleep Podcast, Tales to Terrify, and Far-Fetched Fables. She also narrates classic literature by the likes of Austen, Poe, James, and more in her own podcast, Audio Literature Odyssey. To learn more about Nikolle, visit her website at nikolledoolin.com.