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Far Fetched Fables No. 83 Beth Cato and Seanan McGuire

December 1, 2015 by Gary Dowell

Flash Fiction: “Bless This House” by Beth Cato

A pink sliver of sunrise glowed over the hills, and the cows lowed their need. Emma parted the barn doors. Her metal pail and other gear met the dirt floor with a solid thud.
She began the morning routine, her joints stiff and eyes bleary. The baby had been up at all hours, and Kurt had fallen into a feverish sleep again. Not even little Grace’s wails could fully rouse Kurt anymore. Emma had sat within the candle’s glow, holding Grace at her breast and laying wet rags on Kurt’s forehead. His breaths rasped and rattled.
Her husband had acted all nonchalant after that nail went through his foot, but now… now. From toe to heel, his flesh resembled a charred mass. Emma shuffled to the next cow. The tuft-ended tail swatted the back of her head. The old bay stallion whinnied in the next stall over.
“I’ll feed you next,” Emma said. And after that, God help her.


Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham. She’s the author of The Clockwork Dagger (a 2015 Locus Award finalist for First Novel) and The Clockwork Crown from Harper Voyager. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter via @BethCato.

“Bless This House” first appeared at Daily Science Fiction on October 12, 2010.

Main Story: “Well Will Not Be Undersold!” by Seanan McGuire

“Dan?”  Nimh looked around the employee break room, allowing her eyes to skirt past the slack-faced stockroom workers sitting slumped in their gray plastic chairs. Their cheery green and yellow vests were painfully bright against the industrial beige walls and floor. Not for the first time, Nimh made a note to talk to the store manager about getting some decorations in. Maybe a few cheery posters with kittens and motivational slogans ($4.99, home décor). Those always sold well, so people obviously liked them.

None of the dead-eyed employees were Dan. Only two of them were even male. With a sunny smile and a wave for everyone (stay positive; positivity enhances profitability), Nimh chirped, “Have a fantastic shopping day, everybody!” and turned to leave the room while the workers were still trying to formulate their response. It was always best to leave a situation on a high note.

Seanan McGuire is the author of a whole bunch of things, both under her name and the name “Mira Grant”. She used to try to list all those things in her bios, but has dismissed that as a fool’s errand, and now suggests checking the bibliography on her website for the list of things. It’s a very nice list. Seanan lives in a potentially haunted farmhouse in Northern California, along with her vast collections of comic books and creepy dolls, and her two abnormally large blue Maine Coon cats, which regularly startle house guests by being the size of cocker spaniels. When not writing, Seanan enjoys travel, Disney Parks, and lurking in the local corn maze and scaring anyone who happens to wander by. Keep up with her at seananmcguire.com, or on Twitter as @seananmcguire. She’s a little odd, and she doesn’t sleep much, but she’s mostly friendly.


About the Narrators:

Catherine Logan had many years of training in theatre and voice in her youth, and then many years of teaching acting, drama, writing, and English literature as a grown-up. She has taken plenty of workshops and has studio experience in narration, commercial and animation voiceover work. Catherine is now involved in a second career which takes her back to her first love.

Nicola Seaton-Clark lives in the wilds of (almost) Eastern Europe with her long-suffering husband, phenomenal children and a grumpy cat. Trained as an actress and singer, she has worked in entertainment for over 20 years and currently splits her time between writing speculative fiction, helping her husband run their voice-over company, Offstimme, and voicing everything from commercials and documentaries to public transport announcements. She also hosts this podcast…


Links to this post
  1. […] Two of my older stories just debuted in audio. “Bless This House” was first published at Daily Science Fiction in 2010; it’s now on Far-Fetched Fables alongside a story by Seanan McGuire! […]

  2. […] story by Seanan McGuire and an interview with Seanan. (Oddly enough, I was featured in a Far-Fetched Fables Podcast with Seanan a while back, too! I greatly admire her work, so this trend leaves me rather […]

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