“The Lonely Heart” in Lightspeed Magazine
A belated heads-up, because it’s been one of those weeks…
My short story “The Lonely Heart” has been reprinted in Lightspeed Magazine. You can find it here.
A heads-up that it’s a very dark story (it’s a retelling of “The Painted Skin” in Pu Songling’s Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio), and it gets very graphic (as in “explicit violence and gore, and please don’t blame me if you get nightmares” :p). I also answer questions here.
You can buy the entire issue at the Lightspeed Magazine website, too–please consider doing so? Magazines like Lightspeed need subscribers and issue buyers if they’re to make money.
It was towards mid-afternoon that Chen became aware of the girl. She stood before Chen’s stall, watching the fake-jade effigies of the Buddha and the coloured incense sticks, her eyes wide in the sunlight — she was no more than thirteen or fourteen, with the gangly unease of that age. To her left, children shrieked as they passed the Bridge of Impossibility, holding each other’s hands, and went into the temple complex.
The girl’s hand reached towards a small statue of a demon, touched it — setting off a coloured lightstrobe which illuminated the statue from within.
Normally, Chen should have snatched the statue away, and pointed out to her, in a firm voice, that you didn’t touch the wares unless you paid. But the girl was so young: skeletally thin, her skin taut over high cheekbones, her eyes wide with fear.