by Alix E. Harrow
read by Stephanie Morris
Previously published by Shimmer
Isa died in a sudden suffocation of boiling blood and iron cinder in her mouth; she returned to herself wearing a blue cotton dress stained with fresh tobacco. She was younger and leaner, as she’d been when she first met Leslie Bell. Her skin shone dark and warm without the black dust of the mill ground into it. After death, ghosts are sculpted like cold clay into the shapes they wore when they were most alive. Some people are taken awfully by surprise. Women whose whole lives were about their husbands and homes are, without warning, precisely as they were when they met a stranger’s eyes on a crowded streetcar. Men who had the kinds of careers that involved velvet-lined train cars and cigar smoke are suddenly nine years old, running their spectral fingers through the tall grasses and thinking of nothing at all.
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Alix is a part-time historian with a full-time desk job, a debilitating re-reading habit, and authorial ambitions. She and her husband live in Kentucky under the cheerful tyranny of their one year old. Her most recent story—“The Autobiography of a Traitor and a Half-Savage”—is available on Tor.com.
Stephanie is a professional fangirl by day and the lone library assistant staffing a college circulation desk at night. She has narrated short stories for PseudoPod, PodCastle, Escape Pod, Cast of Wonders, and StarShipSofa, guest-blogged on subjects ranging from book recommendations to zombie turkeys, and performed Shakespeare in a handful of weird churches. Until she suppresses her inner perfectionist enough to create a website, you can find her on Twitter at @smaliamorris.