by Shannon Peavey.
Black Hearts is a PseudoPod Original.
Shannon Peavey is a writer and horse trainer from Seattle, Washington. Her stories have also appeared in Apex, Lightspeed, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Kelly Sandoval and Shannon co-edit Liminal Stories, a twice-yearly online magazine for beautiful and unsettling stories.
Your 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, as well as Escape Pod, PodCastle, and here on PseudoPod.
Her narrations have appeared in audiobooks and podcasts including all four Escape Artists podcasts, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and her Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.
Your guest audio producer – Chelsea Davis is a scholar of Gothic fiction. She’s currently at work on a dissertation about supernatural war literature. In her spare time, she produces radio, & gets a huge kick out of reading killer Pseudopod submissions as an Associate Editor.
Your guest host – Wendy N. Wagner is the author of Skinwalkers, a Pathfinder Tales novel inspired by Viking lore, and she’s also published more than thirty short stories in anthologies like Cthulhu Fhtagn! and The Way of the Wizard, and in magazines like Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Farrago’s Wainscot. She is the managing/associate editor of Nightmare and Lightspeed magazine, and served as guest editor for Nightmare’s Queers Destroy Horror! special issue.
Alma carried the worm-fork and Lewis carried the knife. They didn’t speak and had not spoken since the morning, fifteen miles back through dry grass and bare dirt and the click-chatter of insects. Dust rose around their ankles and the sun beat hot on the napes of their necks.
When they dropped over a rise and hit bottom, Lewis stopped and nodded and Alma took the worm-fork in both hands. It was a heavy thing, its grip worn smooth by her palm. She raised it shoulder-high, breathed once, and slammed it down into the ground.
She didn’t know how Lewis decided on a place — what made that stretch of plain any better than the miles they had passed before it. Long miles, leading a horse too laden with jars and bags to ride. They were somewhere south of Nampa, days out of Boise, and she’d been gone from her home for more than a year. The land was different, here. The ground packed so hard she had to lean all her weight on the worm-fork to get it to stick.
They’d been only children at the start of Lewis’s great journey, but no one would call them such anymore.