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“The Memories Rise to Hunt”

They rise each night from stains in the concrete, from shadows in the stone. Earth and grass cannot hold these memories: time passes, the soil changes, the grass grows and dies, and the pain decays from memory, to an echo, to nothing.

Concrete and stone do not forget.

It’s not visible to anyone other than me, but this is a companion story to “Such as Dreams Are Made Of” and a third, unpublished story that is perma-trunked on account of not being very good. All three were inspired by the “Banquine” act from the Cirque du Soleil show Quidam (also seen, in slightly different form, in their film Journey of a Man), which caused me to imagine urban spirits equivalent to the dryads and naiads and so forth of Greek mythology. This story is born specifically from the female performers in that act, tiny women in white dresses with black eyes. They’re the ones getting flung about the most by the other acrobats, but it wasn’t hard to read something creepy into their costuming and demeanor. It says something that my file name for an earlier draft of this story was “maenads,” before I had an actual title for it.

And oh, does this story have earlier drafts. I revise my fiction, of course, but it’s relatively rare for me to take an entirely new run at a concept; I’ve done so maybe a handful of times before. (For those who are curious, other occasions include “Once a Goddess,” “Vīs Dēlendī,”, and Dancing the Warrior.) This time I did it not once but twice, throwing out two complete (and completely flat) drafts that bear only a conceptual resemblance to this one before arriving at something worth submitting.

So I’m delighted that after that long journey, it has sold to Aurelia Leo’s Fable: An Anthology of Horror, Suspense, and the Supernatural. I will let you know when I have a publication date!