PodCastle 112: The Somnambulist

by David J. Schwartz

Read by Elizabeth Green Musselmen

Originally published in Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy

The somnambulist brakes at the intersection of two suburban streets–Ivy Something Lane, Something Creek Road.  Her headlights illuminate the 2 A.M. silence.  She leans over to open the passenger side door and her husband, in the body of a grey squirrel, jumps in.  He’s been gone twelve days, in a double-door trap, in a coma, trekking across astral space and chemically treated lawns.  Earlier today his human body died.  The somnambulist cried herself to sleep; salt tracks have dried upon her face.

She pulls the door shut and sits up.  The squirrel-husband hops over to her, his tail arcing after him like an echo.  He climbs the arm of her teddy bear pajamas and perches upon her shoulder.

The somnambulist–her name is Judy when she’s awake–has been married for ten years.  Her husband calls himself a trader, and this is perhaps the best description of what he does, but he has been called other things; magician, sorcerer, devil.  Within the profession these terms have little meaning.  He traffics in power, which is more or less what Judy has always believed.

“The hospital,” says the squirrel-husband.  At least, she hears a voice, and the squirrel is the source.  The somnambulist turns towards the highway.

 

 

Rated R: Violence, Language, Adult Themes

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