Rated R. for morbid themes. Happy Halloween!
The Man Who Carved Skulls
By Richard Parks
“I married your mother for her skull. It’s no secret.”
Jarak put aside his rasps and gouges for the moment, resting his eyes and mind from the precise, exacting work his trade demanded. He didn’t mind his son’s persistent questions at such times. Akan was at an age when he should be curious and, if curiosity was a duty, Akan was a dedicated boy. It wasn’t as though Purlo the Baker, whose skull rested patiently on Jarak’s workbench, was in a hurry.
Akan nodded. “Mother is pretty,” he said. “Often men of the village speak about what a fortunate man Jarak the Skullcarver is.”
“Letis is indeed the most beautiful woman in Trepa and for seven leagues around. But that’s not the same thing. The ugliest man alive during your grandfather’s time turned out to have a skull of exquisite beauty, as your grandfather knew all along…
About the Author
Richard Parks’ stories have appeared in Asimov’s SF, Realms of Fantasy, Fantasy Magazine,, Weird Tales, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and numerous anthologies, including several Year’s Bests. He is the author of the Yamada Monogatari series from Prime Books and The Laws of Power series from Canemill Publishing. His work has been nominated for both the World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. An ex-pat Mississippian now living in central New York with his wife and a varying number of cats, he plays guitar (badly) and collects Japanese Shin Hanga woodblock prints in whatever time he has left.