When It Ends, He Catches Her
by Eugie Foster
The dim shadows were kinder to the theater’s dilapidation. A single candle to aid the dirty sheen of the moon through the rent beams of the ancient roof, easier to overlook the worn and warped floorboards, the tattered curtains, the mildew-ridden walls. Easier as well to overlook the dingy skirt with its hem all ragged, once purest white and fine, and her shoes, almost fallen to pieces, the toes cracked and painstakingly re-wrapped with hoarded strips of linen. Once, not long ago, Aisa wouldn’t have given this place a first glance, would never have deigned to be seen here in this most ruinous of venues. But times changed. Everything changed.
Aisa pirouetted on one long leg, arms circling her body like gently folded wings. Her muscles gathered and uncoiled in a graceful leap, suspending her in the air with limbs outflung, until gravity summoned her back down. The stained, wooden boards creaked beneath her, but she didn’t hear them. She heard only the music in her head, the familiar stanzas from countless rehearsals and performances of Snowbird’s Lament. She could hum the complex orchestral score by rote, just as she knew every step by heart.
About the Author
In her own words:
I grew up in the Midwest, although I call home a mildly haunted, fey-infested house in metro Atlanta that I share with my husband, Matthew. After receiving my Master of Arts degree in Developmental Psychology, I retired from academia to pen flights of fancy. I also edit legislation for the Georgia General Assembly, which from time to time I suspect is another venture into flights of fancy.
I received the 2009 Nebula Award for Best Novelette [for for her novelette, “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast,” ], the 2011 and 2012 Drabblecast People’s Choice Award for Best Story, and was named the 2009 Author of the Year by Bards and Sages. The Dragon and the Stars anthology, edited by Derwin Mak and Eric Choi, with my story, “Mortal Clay, Stone Heart,” won the 2011 Aurora Award for Best English Related Work. My fiction has also received the 2002 Phobos Award; been translated into eight languages; and been a finalist for the Hugo, Washington Science Fiction Association, and British Science Fiction Association awards.
My short story collection, Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice, was published in 2009 and has been used as a textbook at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of California-Davis. Check out my fiction index for a list of all my published and forthcoming works.
I’m a voting member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), the non-profit writers organization founded by Damon Knight in 1965 and presenter of the Nebula awards.
Eugie Foster died on September 27th, 2014 of respiratory failure related to Lymphoma at Emory University in Atlanta. Her story, “When It Ends, He Catches Her,” published the day before her death, was nominated for the 2015 Nebula Award.
In her memory, the Eugie Foster Memorial Award for Short Fiction (or Eugie Award) celebrates the best in innovative fiction. This annual award is presented at Dragon Con, the nation’s largest fan-run convention.
The Eugie Award honors stories that are irreplaceable, that inspire, enlighten, and entertain. We will be looking for stories that are beautiful, thoughtful, and passionate, and change us and the field. The recipient is a story that is unique and will become essential to speculative fiction readers.
About the Narrator
Tina Connolly is the author of the Ironskin trilogy from Tor Books, and the Seriously Wicked series, from Tor Teen. Ironskin, her first fantasy novel, was a Nebula finalist. Her stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and many more.
Her narrations have appeared in audiobooks and podcasts including Podcastle, Pseudopod, Cast of Wonders, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and her Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake. She regularly hosts Escape Pod.