Rated R for violence
Five Bullets on the Banks of the Sadji
by Keffy R.M. Kehrli
My city is at the fork of two rivers, where the Sadji, river of my people, flows into the Koretl, a river that brings the rest of the world to us, brings empire to us, brings new spices and fabrics and magics to us, and flows away with our old selves, shed like snakeskin on the banks.
Sadji water runs thick with silt; it is the same red-brown as clay and the four unripe cocoa beans that my younger brother, Naje, brought to us from the north. Naje is dead now, dead of five bullets, one for each of the Northern Houses, the past-due payment earned by traitors.
The Koretl is a deep and sodden green, the color of glaciers tempered by the additions of a hundred southern rivers, each devoured by the hungry waters until they run as one. My older brother, Esha, said the color of it was more beautiful than the Sadji. He is also dead now, having caught a fever from the sick men he tended.
And now I am the last surviving brother, too violent to heal and too soft to fight, fishing from Sadji’s waters with my hands gone calloused from the nets.
About the Author
Keffy R. M. Kehrli is a speculative fiction writer who currently lives on Long Island, where he’s working on a PhD in Genetics. He attended Clarion UCSD in 2008 and since then, his fiction has appeared in magazines such as Lightspeed, Apex, and Uncanny. In 2015, he launched GlitterShip, a podcast featuring LGBTQ short fiction.
He is also a former editor of Shimmer Magazine.
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.