Our latest story
The trees in this part of the Dragonwood are thin and lanky, like growing boys, like her own willowy limbs, but Lina has no interest in the trees, or young men, or the body that conveys her, stomping feet falling where they will. Her thoughts are for the great lizards, those remote majestic beasts sunning themselves on the high rocks jutting from the tree line. She looks up to patches of hot blue sky through the canopy of green leaves far above. Her feet are bare. It is the hottest part of the day, and everyone else is resting in the stone-coolness of the house. Around Lina the air is thick, dark, and green, sitting on her skin, sinking into her hair to run down her neck in rivulets. Every time a twig or stone digs into the sole of her foot, her heart leaps. Soon, she tells herself. Soon. Please.
She pauses her stomping to lift her hair against a light breeze. Heavy and thick as her arm, the braid falls to her feet and even a little beyond, dragging on the ground, pulling her head back until her scalp aches. Strands escape constantly, wispy things flying about her face. She wishes she could cut it off, pluck the hairs from her head, shave down to smooth unburdened scalp like her grandfather, like widows and oracles, bald beneath wimples. If her aching scalp were bald as a dragon’s egg, she would throw the bones and divine her own path, be reborn from that egg and fly away with the dragons. But she cannot—Lina is not an oracle, a widow, an old man, or a great lizard. She is not free to do as she pleases. Lina was bought from a witch, on the promise that her hair remain unshorn. Lina was seen by the oracles as the wife for the Prince. She will marry him in a week’s time, and become not only a wife and a princess but her family’s greatest honor. The Prince’s tower looms in the distance, beyond the Dragonwood. No matter which direction she walks, the tower grows closer.
Familiar in Her Angles – E.A. Brenner
The Yarnball Woman – Michael Milne
Graven Image – B. Morris Allen
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost – Douglas Anstruther
Oana Popescu lives in Bucharest, Romania and works as a freelance illustrator specializing in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle genres. With a creative drive she was drawing, and painting starting from at an early age, developing an interest in fine arts.
Oana Popescu‘s image “Swing” is the cover art for our October 2018 stories.
Q: What’s an idea you’re dying to write but haven’t, and why?
A: An idea I’ve been dying to write is a Mission Impossible-style magical thriller. I adore over-the-top spy movies and magic-in-modern-times fantasy. I haven’t even started such a story yet because I don’t have a character or plot to hang the genre on. I’m waiting for the day my main character drives through my mind in an incredibly sexy muscle car and orders me to get in.
Q: What’s the story no one else thinks is as good as you do?
A: “She Waits, Seething, Blooming” by Dave Eggers is a perfect capsule of a story. It is the thinnest sliver a short story can be, a perfectly defined cross-section of a character’s life. It’s so, so good because it’s so, so short: the story itself is complete, and has a definite arc over its tiny wordcount. But it contains multitudes, and you can absolutely sense the world before the story takes place and the world after. We never learn the main character’s name, nor her son’s, but we get such a perfectly shaped glimpse of her life that we don’t need to. I remember reading this story years ago and suddenly being convinced of what short fiction can do, and I reread it (it doesn’t take long to read again) a few times a year when I need to edit!