As many of you know, Acatl started his career as a supernatural detective through short fiction: the very first Acatl short story, “Obsidian Shards”, won Writers of the Future, and set me on the path of writing what would become the Obsidian and Blood trilogy.
Up till now, you could find online two of the three Acatl short stories: “Obsidian Shards” is on my website, and “Beneath the Mask” was published by in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and is still online at their archives. But the third one, “Safe, Child, Safe”, had only been published in print.
Fear not, it’s now online as well!
I knew something was wrong with the child as soon as his father brought him to me.
He was perhaps four, five years old, and everything about him was high-born Mexica: his tunic of cotton embroidered with leaping deer; his skin the colour of cacao bean; his hair as dark as congealed blood. He lay on the reed mat in my temple, shivering; his feverish eyes turned to me and yet did not see me.
That was not what made the hairs on my nape rise.
No, what made me pause was what I saw clinging to his hands and feet: a green, pulsing aura that brought with it the smell of rotting leaves and mouldy earth. The aura of Mictlan, the underworld.
Living things did not have the aura.
(it’s also available in EPUB, MOBI and PDF for those with e-readers)