PodCastle 167: Portage
Rated R. Contains Adult Themes.
by An Owomoyela
When it came time to carry her father’s soul down from the mountain, she had nothing to carry it in. The bowl her mother had carved from heirloom ivory, fit together like a puzzle mosaic and watertight without needing glue, had been shattered just that morning in an argument with the father’s retainer. No other bowl had been carved with the requisite love for him. But her father’s soul couldn’t be left up at the temple on Mount Ossus, so she went with the pilgrims to claim him before the sun did.
She stood in rank with them as the soul-preparers poured distillations from the cleaned skulls of the dead. When they came to her, a girl whose name was soonafter forgotten, she set her jaw and cupped her hands out like a beggar. “Give me my father,” she said.
They did. She took him down the mountainside cupped in her hands, tightening her fingers until they ached against every drop, until the piercing blue sky gave her terrors because it, too, was the color of soul water and it had spilled across the horizon, out of her hands.
About the Author
An (pronounce it “On”) Owomoyela is a neutrois author with a background in web development, linguistics, and weaving chain maille out of stainless steel fencing wire, whose fiction has appeared in a number of venues including Clarkesworld, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Lightspeed, and a handful of Year’s Bests.
An’s interests range from pulsars and Cepheid variables to gender studies and nonstandard pronouns, with a plethora of stops in-between. Se can be found online at an.owomoyela.net.
About the Narrator
Elizabeth Green lives in Austin, Texas, where she works in communications, hobbies in knitting, moms a hilarious 15-year-old man-child, reads nonfiction voraciously, and does her level best to keep her midlife super-queer.