by Shannon Peavey
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.
About the Author
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.
About the Narrator
Tina Connolly is the author of the Ironskin and Seriously Wicked series, and the collection On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories. Her books have been finalists for the Nebula, Norton, and World Fantasy awards. 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 all the EA podcasts, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and her Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake. She regularly hosts Escape Pod. Find her at tinaconnolly.com.
About the Artist
Galen likes monsters, mystics, and dead things. She has created art for Uncanny Magazine, 47North publishing, Skyscape Publishing, Fantasy Flight Games, Tyche Books, Fireside Magazine, Lightspeed, Lackington’s, and Resurrection House. She has been nominated for the Hugo, the World Fantasy Award, and the Chesley Award. When Galen is not working on a project you can find her on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, climbing mountains and hanging out with an assortment of human and animal companions. Her website is www.galendara.com plus you can find her on Facebook and Twitter @galendara.
Here’s an example of her wonderfully thoughtful pieces, included in the 2015 Spectrum Fantastic Art annual.