Rated R: Contains Some Violence
Five Ways Jane Austen Never Died
by Samantha Henderson
I buck out of the timestream, recover, and bend over, retching air. That’s why you don’t eat for 24 hours before you make a jump, and a purge or two’s not a bad idea, either. I learned that the hard way.
When I can straighten up, I back against the damp plaster wall (the walls at Chawton were always damp, though Edward never believed it) and wait, listening. In the late summer afternoon, heavy with heat, the ticking of the clock in the study sounds loud and portentous as a drumbeat. Scant golden light lies sluggishly against the drapes on the other end of the hallway.
Cassandra is away, visiting our brother and sister and their innumerable brood. My mother is nursing a migraine with her feet up on the best sofa in the parlor.
And Jane is coming up the stairs.
I draw my modified Glock and stand, waiting in the shadows.
About the Author
Samantha Henderson lives in Southern California by way of England, South Africa, Illinois and Oregon. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit and Weird Tales, and reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Science Fiction, Steampunk Revolutions and the Mammoth Book of Steampunk, as well as being podcast in Podcastle, Escape Pod, and The Drabblecast. She’s the author of the Forgotten Realms novels Heaven’s Bones and Dawnbringer, and is currently working on a novel based on her short story “Cinderella Suicide.“
About the Narrator
Amal El-Mohtar is an award-winning author and critic. She is the science fiction and fantasy columnist for the New York Times Book Review and the co-author, with Max Gladstone, of This Is How You Lose the Time War, which to date has won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards for Best Novella. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Ottawa, and you can find her on Twitter @Tithenai or subscribe to her newsletter at amal.substack.com.