Tulliæn spans a fractured mountaintop, where the locals lie and the tourists come to die.
Try the honey.
Briskwater crouches deep in the shadow of a dam wall. Ignore the weight of the water hanging overhead, and the little dead girl wandering the streets.
Off with you, while you still can.
In Haverny Wood the birds drink blood, the dogs trade their coughings for corpses, the lost children carve up their bodies to run with the crows, and the townsfolk stitch silence into their spleens.
You mustn't talk so wild.
The desert-locked outpost of Boundary boasts the famed manufacturers of flawless timepieces; those who would learn the trade must offer up their eyes as starting materials.
Look to your pride: it will eat you alive.
Sooner or later, in every community, fate demands its dues — and the currency is blood.
Winner 2015 Aurealis Award (Best Horror Novella) and 2015 Aurealis Award (Best YA Short Story)
Shortlisted in 2015 Shirley Jackson Awards, 2015 Aurealis Awards, 2016 Ditmar Awards, & 2015 Australian Shadows Awards
The Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood
Shortlisted Best Horror Novella in 2015 Aurealis Awards and Best Novella in 2016 Ditmar Awards
Claudia Andraste and her mother Anika were the poorest residents of Haverny Wood, having but a single ageing she-goat to call their own.
Anika, a seamstress known for her deft but sadly unique hand, had in her youth indulged the unthinkable folly of leaving for the lowlands, and out of her recklessness had sprung Claudia.
The only extenuative lay in the prodigal's eventual and suitably rueful return — happily still in good time for her daughter to be tight laced. Goedman Harald threaded the charm, which was of great comfort to all, for if any stitching could overcome the length and strength of the mother's shadow, it would be wrought by his expert laececraft.
What Harald Brun never mentioned was how Anika had wept, the heartbreak of proffering up her babe quite undoing her; and he, moved to pity and not liking to lace such a small creature, one still weak from poverty and the lowlanders' lack of charity, had suggested a wait of one scant year would surely cause no harm, and give the babe time to quicken and thrive first. He enjoined Anika to secrecy on the matter, because fear led to restless minds, which of course did no one any good. Grateful for his compassion, Anika naturally agreed.
Two months later, he disturbed a den of coffin dogs and, in the confusion, tumbled down an outcrop's jagged edge. His shield got him home, but the fall had snapped his shin, and the blood took toxic, and swifter than speech Goedman Harald was gone from them.
And so, through chance, kind-heartedness, and a slight omission her mother at first didn't know how to correct, and later did not wish to, Claudia Andraste grew up unlaced: a cuckoo in the crow's nest.
Volume 12 of the Twelve Planets
The Twelve Planets are twelve boutique collections by some of Australia's finest short story writers. Varied across genre and style, each collection offers four short stories and a unique glimpse into worlds fashioned by some of our favourite storytellers — See more/subscribe at Twelfth Planet Press