by Eden Royce
read by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
“If these danggone crickets don’t stop following me,” Naomi grumbled as the insect bounded out of the path of her wedge heel. Another of the bugs scuttled across the top of her foot, its spiny legs pricking her exposed skin. Under the streetlight, moths danced in the circle of brightness on the otherwise dim road. Heat ebbed from the asphalt, making her wish she’d worn flip-flops.
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Eden Royce is descended from women who practiced root, a type of conjure magic in her native Charleston, South Carolina. She’s been a bridal consultant, reptile handler, and stockbroker, but now writes fiction about the American South from her home in the English countryside.
Eden is the recipient of the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Diverse Worlds grant and is a regular contributor to Graveyard Shift Sisters, a site dedicated to purging the black female horror fan from the margins. Her fiction has appeared in or is forthcoming from FIYAH Literary Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, Truancy, and Abyss & Apex.