Reading Dead Lips
By Dustin Steinacker
Nouelle had always thought that she’d feel a sense of homecoming when she returned to the country that had birthed her. But after eight years, it was already a foreign land. Her first day back she risked a hostel, near the border, and the shower water was wrong; it stung her flesh with its force but never seemed to rinse off the lather. The loudest voices in the common room all spoke the occupiers’ dialects and she stayed silent rather than mark herself as a Czir. The cooking smells too were unfamiliar.
After that she slept out of doors.
She was wiser than she’d been when last she breathed Czir air (this she told herself, and sometimes she believed it too). She now knew occult sciences, after all, and had acquainted herself with the many stages of corpse-stink. So yes, she was standing on ground that she’d had to sell herself to escape, occupied ground. But she was also prepared. She’d lost everything she ever had in this country and now, dammit, she had the chance to take just one thing back.
Somewhere within these borders was her sister. (Continue Reading…)