My new fantasy short story, The Year of No Foals, will be released by Xchyler Publishing in their new fantasy anthology The Toll of Another Bell, coming January 31, 2015.
Here, just for my loyal readers, is a sneak peek at:
The Year of No Foals
You asked for a story about when I was a little girl like you, a true story. Well, I know a good one! I shall tell you of the Year of No Foals, about how the world changed forever. And not just my family’s world, either, but everybody’s. Especially yours.
Once upon a time there was a girl who was crazy about horses. Now, you may be thinking, ‘What’s so special about that?’, since most every girl is crazy about horses at one time or another. But the girl was me, and I was the princess of the horse crazies. I say ‘princess’ because my Papa was the king—he owned the thoroughbred horse farm where I grew up.
When the Year of No Foals came I was not so young as you—not young enough to need a bedtime story, but young enough that I still wished there were someone with a story to tell, one that would whisk me away to someplace fantastic. At least in my mind, at least for a little while. Sometimes I feared I would never have bedtime stories again, and at the same time I was old enough to think I just might not need them anymore. But here’s the thing: I was not yet old enough to have learned that everyone needs bedtime stories. Everyone. Whether they’re little girls like you, or old grannies like me. We all need our stories. What changes is who we choose to have tell them to us.
That’s why you come all this way to stay with your Granny, right? To hear stories? And to learn how to fly, of course.
In the Year of No Foals there were no words. At least, I didn’t have any. None I wanted to use, anyway. I had words at the beginning, and then I lost them. Mama died and I lost them all. First I refused to use them. Then I couldn’t remember how.
When I finally got to come home from the hospital after the accident, I was angry about being alive, about being alive without my mother, about being alive when Mama died and I didn’t. And angry at Papa. But he was angrier, deeper, in ways I couldn’t understand.
At first I thought Papa had lost his words too, because he used very few of them for a long time after Mama died. He would get out of bed in the morning and go out to the stables to do what needed to be done, because that was how he had always made his living. He had a few words for his horse trainers and stable hands, when words could not be avoided. He had a few words for the veterinarian and the owners of the horses that he boarded and trained. But precious few.