“Slaked Lime, Iron Knife” by Aparna Nandakumar
Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf
Three tales of fantasy inspired by food appear in the latest issue of this magazine of very short stories.
“Slaked Lime, Iron Knife” by Aparna Nandakumar features a demon in the form of a lovely woman. She follows a priest who has the power to dismiss her from the world, but is reluctant to do so. If she can tempt him into offering her a specific edible item, she can feast on his blood. Although intriguing and evocative, this story has a resolution that will not surprise the reader.
The main character in “A Good Egg” by Shawn Proctor resembles Humpty Dumpty. He sits on a wall sadly after the king’s marriage. The reader soon learns the reason for his misery. The fantastic content of this story is minimal, and not relevant to the plot. The protagonist is only metaphorically similar to the character from nursery rhymes. The setting is that of a modern fairy tale, but this simple story of heartbreak does not require it.
In “Ghost of the Pepper” by M. K. Hutchins, a woman grows hot peppers that contain the sorrows of the dead. When the living eat them, the deceased find peace. She discovers a pepper so full of anguish that it is much too hot to eat. The solution to this problem provides an important lesson about mourning. This allegorical tale is an effective fable about the nature of grief.
Victoria Silverwolf would like to mention that this issue also contains a mainstream story about food.