New thing-what-I-don’t-feel-comfortable-calling-a-podcast. Turns out I’m feeling a lot better this week. Also I wrote a story that I actually like. I read a bit of it. Text of the excerpt is under the cut.
As always, please get in touch with me with any questions, anything you want me to read or talk about – really anything.
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There are the houses of bodies in the district of the dead, an entire section of the city marked off to stand in silent evidence of what happened. But then there are also the memorials at the city center, and we go there in the first warm swell of the afternoon before second sunrise. We’re accompanied by a Lejshethri guide; her name is Shairovin, and even for a Lejshethri she is long-limbed and graceful, floating rather than walking and making me feel heavy-footed and clumsy. At the memorial she stands quietly aside, her hands tucked into the folds of her light tunic. I note that it is the same color of blue as the cloth that wrapped the spine in the house of the dead.
The memorial itself is a single black spike one hundred feet high. It impales the sky. Shairovin has told us, in a tone that subtly suggested apology, that her people feel that it is too aggressive. Too accusing. They worried that it might maintain the terror that followed the killing weeks, when the colonists began preparing for the war of Lejshethrai retribution. The war that never came.
But we wanted it, so as with everything else, they stood aside and allowed it. “I think it is for you more than it is for us,” Shairovin said on the ride to the memorial. “All that business, what good it is to remember? It can’t be undone.”
She said that some of the Lejshethrai would just as soon bury the dead, clear the houses, and make use of the space. “We don’t wish animosity.” In the groundcar, she leaned forward, her narrow eyes widening to show her earnestness, her three-fingered hands outstretched and open. “All we want now is peace.”
It puzzles them, our need to remember what we’ve done. The way we seem to treasure it, to hold it close like something precious.
Aaron and I stand in the shadow of the spike, looking up until our necks are sore and our eyes ache. “It’s bigger than I thought,” Aaron murmurs. I just nod.
The spike is bounded by a circular plaza dotted with stone benches. There are no trees. Besides Shairovin, we’re the only ones there. After fifteen minutes, we get back in the car and roll back to the hotel in silence.