Brian Hugenbruch’s story “Heartbeat of the Seasons” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 11 February 2022.
“Heartbeat of the Seasons” started its life years ago as a flash fiction prompt around the word “Ouroboros” (the serpent that devours its own tail). And as a Star Trek nerd, the TNG episode “Cause and Effect” always brings a smile to my face. (Go stream it. I’ll wait.)
Every time I thought it was done writing the story, I’d ask alpha and beta readers for their thoughts… and they’d find one more hole in either the world-building, or the magic system, or the motivations. Boom: need another thousand words. Because they were right: I hadn’t painted the whole picture. (It started to feel a bit like its own loop, to be honest.)
The story took some detours as it evolved. Some versions focused more on village politics; some included the wizard as a character on-screen. Sophienne’s agency and resourcefulness increased in every draft. But in my mind, this story has always been, at its heart, a story about helping other people: the risks of trust, the dangers of butting in, and the desire to do the right thing. With an explosion as a punctuation mark. And I’m thrilled to see it out in the world, and I hope folks enjoy it.
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