Rated PG. Contains schemes, cheats, and tricksters.
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Individual Author Pages:
Ada Milenkovich Brown
K. Tempest Bradford
C. G. Furst
The Grand Cheat
by Hilary Moon Murphy
My finest cheat started long ago, before India was even a country. Most of us were still under British rule, one way or another. I was apprenticed to Sri Ghare, one of the greatest negotiators in the princely states. I lived with him and his wife in a fine manor. Though I was from a poor family, he always treated me like I was his own son.
When Sri Ghare’s wife was great with child, he was called to negotiate for the local rajah. Sri Ghare made me promise to take care of her while he was gone. When my master’s wife went into labor, the female servants shooed me out of the house, knowing that I would only be in the way. But I had promised my master, and I was very worried. What if something should go wrong with the birth?
So I cheated. I sneaked back into the house when the servants were too busy to check for me. At first, I only listened through the sheer, blue draperies that curtained off the women’s quarters, but all I could hear were screams, sobs, and muffled assurances. I crawled under the draperies, coming as close as I dared. The sounds were so awful, I was certain that she must be dying.
I meditated in the doorway to her rooms and prayed deeply for safety of mother and child. I prayed harder than I ever had before. I prayed so hard that I became aware of the god who was trying to slip past me into the rooms don’t ask me how I knew it was a god, I just knew – and I cried, “Hold!
“No one says ‘Hold’ to me, mortal,” the god rumbled.
About the Author
Hilary Moon Murphy writes and sells fantasy stories in Minneapolis and runs MinnSpec — Minneapolis Speculative Fiction Writers.
About the Narrator
Rajan Khanna is a fiction writer, blogger, reviewer and narrator. His first novel, Falling Sky, a post-apocalyptic adventure with airships, was released in 2014 from Pyr. Sequels Rising Tide and Raining Fire came out in 2015 and 2017. His short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, and several anthologies. His articles and reviews have appeared at Tor.com and LitReactor.com and his podcast narrations can be heard at Podcastle, Escape Pod, PseudoPod, Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Lightspeed Magazine. Rajan lives in Brooklyn, NY where he’s a member of the Altered Fluid writing group. He is represented by Barry Goldblatt of the Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency.