“Even in this Skin” by A.C. Wise
Reviewed by Christos Antonaros
Mar, the protagonist in “Even in this Skin” by A. C. Wise, punishes herself in a brutal way because of guilt, after her brother’s, Jame‘s, incarceration for a crime she thinks she committed instead. Then, one night she meets a man by the name Fox, who will make a peculiar offer to remove her sorrow and guilt.
The story is full of colorful descriptions, emotional and physical, but what makes it even more interesting is the protagonist’s extensive character development.
“In the Pines” by K. M. Carmien describes the unique relationship between Harry Kang, a young Witch, and a magical creature of the forest, also known as the Woods-Thing. Despite her mother’s warning, Harry will fall in love with the creature so much that she will risk everything she possesses to protect it from a monstrous evil.
The author successfully presents the characteristics of a young Witch, as well as the natural and supernatural details of an enchanted forest and the creatures that lie in wait in its shadows.
Willa and Lea in “To Sleep in the Dust of the Earth” by Kristi DeMeester, discover a way to find lost items with the help of their friend Beth. When Lea loses her mother’s favorite aquamarine ring, Beth comes to dig it up from the earth. As Beth keeps exhibiting her ability to dig up from the same spot any lost item, it occurs to Willa and Lea that their weird friend hides a dark secret behind the doors of her household.
The mysterious and dark atmosphere of this short story is captivating from beginning to end. The author executes the development of the characters successfully, starting from their childhood up to their late thirties, by using interesting dialogue throughout the story.
“A Drop of Ink Preserved in Amber” by Marina J. Lostetter is SF that teaches us that humanity will always create stereotypes and that the people who are not following these stereotypes will have to keep their true nature a secret. Amber, a genetically modified girl with her organs replaced by drawers, has to conceal her modified nature from a society that hunts and terminates any creature like her. Her parents are using her for smuggling artifacts, and her friends to hide all of their secrets. Growing older, though, Amber becomes fond of history, and realizes that her purpose in life should be more meaningful than the one she lives.
In this story, we can see how history can quickly eliminate the existence of anything that opposes conventionality. Amber’s secret drawers, reminds us that all of the against-the-ordinary cases destroyed by scared masses in the past should never be forgotten.
Christos Antonaros is a dark fiction author with a love for European mythology.