Sunfast, Shadowplay and Saintswalk
A young girl watches her older sister go through a coming-of-age ritual in a mysterious and fantastic city.
“Sunfast” is set in the same world– same city, even– as both “Moonless” and the novel I’ve been working on for the past couple years.
Read it here.
On the second day before the sunfast, we gathered rose hips and angelbane out on the dunes between the river’s last bend and the beach. Sand in my clogs, I followed Philomella up and down through the thickets and the long grass. The wind was cold, and colder still with all the dampness off the water. I had to put my hands in my pockets every few minutes. We each filled two big canvas bags before the sun was completely down. We headed back to the city, talking about what kind of saint she might become.” Maybe you’ll be one of the slinky ones, in the long dresses, breaking candy-glass jars in the street,” I said. “Or maybe you’ll get to be one of the lonely ones, and you’ll holler around outside of town, and you’ll get to sing in the evening.”
“I don’t know,” said my sister. “I’m not sure what I’d want to be.”
“Maybe the Saint of Coins and Candles or maybe the Saint of Hands and Thunder. . . .”
“I don’t know,” she said. “I won’t really have any choice in it, so I don’t know if I should try too much to guess.”
“Sunfast, Shadowplay and Saintswalk,” appeared in the September 8, 2003 edition of the online magazine Strange Horizons.