Recently, (which when I check turns out to have been three years ago… the mind boggles at just how fast time passes) I had a story published in Insignia vol #1 Japanese Fantasy Stories. Just over a fortnight ago, Kelly Matsuura released the third volume of Insignia stories: Southeast Asian Fantasy, and she’s posted excerpts of the stories on her blog. There are two in particular that have caught my interest: The Third Eye by Sheenah Freitas, and Horse Feet by Celestine Trinidad. (If you click on the titles you’ll be taken to Kelly’s blog where you can read the excerpts for yourself.)
With a steadily growing pile of library books, I haven’t had the chance to read this collection yet, but as usual in the Insignia Volumes there is a mix of literary and genre stories, and in this volume, a good mix of locations, such as Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.
Keep reading for a snippet of my story ‘Kitsune’, published under my maiden name in 2013, in Insignia Vol 1.
Akio carried the tiny mouse in his hands as he hurried home. It seemed to be dehydrated; listless and weak, it had barely moved when he approached to pick it up. A movement caught Akio’s eye and he glanced up in time to see a shadow disappear between two trees.
He called after it. “Help, please, do you have a little water?”
The shadow hesitated, and Akio took a step closer. “Please, this little creature has been injured. She needs water. My flask is empty and it is a distance to my home. Please.”
The shadow emerged from the trees, revealing a tall thin figure, dark hair and pale skin barely showing beneath the scarf wrapped around her face. She pulled out her flask and allowed a few drops to fall into Akio’s outstretched palm.
“Thank you,” Akio said. “I am Akio.”
“Chiaki.” The young woman pulled the scarf away from her face and peered down at the little mouse. It shivered as it drank from Akio’s hand, and she pulled a handkerchief from her pocket, folded it in two and placed it over the poor little creature.
“Do you often save the lives of small things?” Chiaki asked.
Akio laughed. “Only when the opportunity comes my way,” he said. “After all, if the larger creatures of the world cannot take care of the smaller, what use are we?” His thoughts turned to Sachiko, a lump forming in his throat as sorrow threatened to overwhelm him.
“Are you alright?” Chiaki noticed.
Akio began to nod his head then stopped.
“No,” he said. “I lost a dear friend yesterday.”
“I’m sorry to hear it,” Chiaki said. “Do you want to talk about it?”
Akio looked at Chiaki. He did want to talk about it. He wanted to talk of Sachiko’s laugh, of the smile that lit up her eyes, and the gentle kiss she’d placed on his cheek the day before she’d died. But how did you tell someone you’d fallen in love with a creature from a folktale?
To read more you’ll just have to purchase Insignia Vol# 1 – available at all the usual ebook outlets.