by K. A. Laity

When they set off across the desert, the world was still young and rivers flowed at the edge of the sand, where the oasis refreshed travelers with water as well as the sweet fruit of the fig tree and the pomegranate, which filled the mouth with days of sun and nights of stars and you could never be the same again after you had tasted them. The red bulbous flesh of the pomegranate had set them on that path, for she knew (not dreamed, not wished, not wondered, but knew) that in the heart of the desert a jewel awaited that would seal their hearts as one so that not even death could tear them apart and they would live forever in the mirror of the other’s soul. He doubted, but she would not hear his so-called logic and purchased all they would need for the journey—water, flatbread, jams and jerky—loaded it on the fleet small horses and left the city edge in twilight and rode through the night, guided by a quilt of stars that pocked the night and showed their path with crystalline clarity that could not be doubted, not even by him. Days passed in a darkened tent, but nights passed in steady travel up and down the endless dunes, further than he could believe they could go and not perish, not lose their way, nor come upon people once more—yet the stars did not lie: they changed and proved progress and the winds whispered how near they had come, nearer yet if they dared, for it was not skill nor patience nor greed that could lead them to the heart but only the bold daring that she had. And when the snake rose from the rocks where they had camped, bit his flesh and left its poison, blackening his skin and stealing his breath, she fought his body onto the horse and rode into the night. For a blue gem glittered just beyond the horizon.


K. A. Laity is an award-winning author, scholar, critic, editor, and arcane artist. Her books include Chastity Flame, Lush Situation, Love is a Grift, Satan’s Sorority, How to Be Dull, White Rabbit, Dream Book, A Cut-Throat Business, Owl Stretching, and Pelzmantel. She has edited My Wandering Uterus, Respectable Horror, Weird Noir, Noir Carnival and Drag Noir, plus written many short stories, scholarly essays, songs, and more. Her podcast Is It Funny? can be found here.