by Eugie Foster
Click her name for her home page, or visit her blog on the same site.
This story originally appeared in issue #23 of Apex Magazine. Eugie’s newest story collection, RETURNING MY SISTER’S FACE AND OTHER FAR EASTERN TALES OF WHIMSY AND MALICE is published by Norilana Books and is available for Kindle, Nook and ePpub, iPad, PDF, Palm (PDB) and Sony (LRF).
Read by Kara Grace, who also read “Braiding The Ghosts” for PODCASTLE.
“‘When the train arrived, it was jammed with commuters: students, salarymen, and office ladies. I squeezed into the last car, and more bodies pushed in behind me. My stomach churned, assaulted by cloying perfume, stale cigarette smoke, and sour sweat.
I was so intent upon not being sick that at first I didn’t notice that somewhere between Shibuya and Harajuko stations, a man’s hand had settled on my leg. Surrounded by blank-faced commuters, wedged so tightly I couldn’t move, I had no idea who it belonged to. As the train jostled along, the hand slipped higher, burning a sweat-slick trail from knee to thigh. At the next juddering stop, my agitated insides heaved, and I shoved free from the car. I fled into the closest ladies? toilet to throw up. Stomach as empty and deflated as my spirits, I splashed water on my face, trying not to cry.
The door opened, and a girl in a school uniform identical to mine stepped to the sink beside me. She pulled a glittering gold bag embossed with distinctive Louis Vuitton monograms out of her schoolbag. After dumping an array of makeup on the counter, she proceeded to sketch in her eyebrows with a dark pencil.
‘I saw what happened, you know.” Her voice was low and rich. “You’re supposed to yell ‘chikan’ when they grope you. Everyone says train perverts make them want to puke, but you’re the first I’ve seen who really has. You must be new to Tokyo.’”
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.