In This Issue

New Year, Old Ideas

Stephen D. Rogers

My Father is a Lesbian
Sharon Hadrian

The Second Coming of K'Miel
T.J. MIndancer

The Old Woman
Q. Kelly

Excerpt from Into the Yellow
Barbara Davies



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Frost crystals encrusted the ground when Kesho crawled out to the basking stone. The first to wake, she emerged through a cave strewn with leftover food and dirty utensils, and the bodies of still comatose guests.

She stretched as the sun's warmth penetrated her hide and quickened her sluggish blood. It was a fine, clear morning, no sign of rain. A good day for cloudskimming.

Kesho had slept fitfully, her stomach churning with too many glimmer-flies, her mind awash with images of handsome males with crests and horns. But there had been that other dream too, the one that came more and more often lately. It returned now, as she lazed in the sun.

She was riding a cloudskimmer, the huge green leaf floating on the surface of the Yellow. The toxic cloud stretched featureless on all sides, and it seemed that she was adrift without oars on some desolate sea covered with nothing but trailing banks of fog. She felt surprisingly calm, given the circumstances–unperturbed by the skimmer's aimless drifting. Then came movement overhead, and she looked up. Spiralling lazily down towards her was a huge bone-bird.

The beady gaze met hers, and Kesho wondered for a moment if it were waiting for her to die so it could feast on her bones. Instead, it began to circle the skimmer–once, twice, three times–and then it set off away from her in a straight line. The skimmer, its means of propulsion a mystery, began to follow the bird.

The gliding motion had lulled her almost to sleep when she realized that the bird had alighted on something up ahead. At this distance, it was hard to make it out–a tree, a rock? In the middle of nowhere? And then the fog bank rolled away, and the unmistakable forked outline of Batian Mountain materialized. As her skimmer crunched onto its lower slopes, the bone-bird stared down at her from its branch, and gave a single loud croak.

Batian Mountain dissolved like smoke before the wind, and a confused Kesho watched the Storyteller approach her with his measured tread.

"Hello, young Kesho," he wheezed, and she became aware of the basking rock, hard beneath her belly and knew she was awake.

She yawned, dispelling the remnants of the rapidly receding dream, and made room for him, shifting another inch when his bony knee dug into her side.

"Did you enjoy yourself last night?" he asked. She gave a noncommittal grunt, and his nearer eye swivelled towards her. "You are healthy, and loved, Kesho. And it won't be long before you marry Buki and have younglings of your own. Why should you be unhappy?"

She fidgeted, uncomfortable under his piercing stare. "I don't know what's wrong with me, Storyteller. I'm so restless these days. And there's this recurring dream."

"Tell me."

So she did. "What does it mean?"

He considered for several moments and tasted the air with his warty tongue before answering. "You're not the first to feel this way, Kesho. Some years ago, Grofor became obsessed with Batian Mountain and felt compelled to journey there, in spite of the dangers. I advised against it, but there was no stopping him." He gazed sadly at Kesho. "Fight against these yearnings, if you can."

A shadow blocked the sun, and Kesho glanced up.

Ngojea loomed over her. "You've basked long enough, little sister. It's my turn now."

With an apologetic glance at the Storyteller, Kesho rose and went back to the cave.

(c) 2007 Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company