by Sofia Samatar
Read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali and Troy L. Wiggins
First published in Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History from Crossed Genres.
A grave-dweller from the environs of the ancient capital of Kush. The ba’ati possesses a skeletal figure and a morbid sense of humor. Its great pleasure is to impersonate human beings: if your dearest friend wears a cloak and claims to suffer from a cold, he may be a ba’ati in disguise.
[Mary arrives every day precisely at the second hour after dawn. I am curious about this reserved and encyclopedic woman. It amuses me to write these reflections concerning her in the margins of the catalogue I am composing for my employer. He will think this writing fly-tracks, or smudges from my dirty hands (he persists in his opinion that I am always dirty). As I write I see Mary before me as she presents herself each morning, in her calico dress, seated on an overturned crate.
Sofia Samatar is the author of the novel A Stranger in Olondria and winner of the John W. Campbell Award, the Crawford Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the World Fantasy Award. She co-edits the journal Interfictions and lives in California. Her new novel The Winged Histories, the sequel to A Stranger in Olondria, is forthcoming from Small Beer Press in 2016.
Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali lives in Houston, Texas with her husband of twenty-five years and three children. By day she works as a breast oncology nurse. At all other times she juggles, none too successfully, writing, reading, gaming and gardening. She has self-published one novel entitled An Unproductive Woman, has published a story at Escape Pod and has a story upcoming in the An Alphabet of Embers anthology. You can catch her posts at her website, www.khaalidah.com, and you can follow her on twitter, @khaalidah.
Troy L. Wiggins is from Memphis, Tennessee. He was raised on a steady diet of comic books, fantasy fiction, and role-playing games. His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Griots: Sisters of the Spear, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History, The Mash-Up Americans, Literary Orphans, and Memphis Noir. He is a contributor at Book Riot and Panels, and he blogs about the intersection of speculative fiction, race, and nerd culture at Afrofantasy. Troy lives in Memphis with his wife and their tiny expuptriate.You can find him on twitter @TroyLWiggins.