My story "After the First Comes the Last" is up at Daily Science Fiction today.
Read it here.
This piece was written in a flash fiction class by the queen of flash, Kathy Fish. I really would suggest anyone wanting to generate some new flash to take one of her online classes, which sell out very fast. (ba-dum-cha.) When I wrote this piece, I was playing with the prompt of "firsts and lasts". Somehow, that got to be the question of "What if a witch only had a limited amount of spells in her lifetime? How would she use them?" It's a personal story for me. Someone in the DSF Facebook page has already called it a #MeToo story, but I think if we think in terms of that it limits how we view the world. This isn't just a today story.
When I wrote it, I was thinking of Haruka Weiser, a freshman at UT who was raped, strangled, and killed, her body left in Waller Creek. I went to UT back in 2003-2007. The campus holds a very special place to me. It was one of the few places I felt safe and comfortable. I felt like the trees were my friends and that the other students were people I could talk to and relate to. I'd never had that experience in a school before. Waller Creek, for those of you that don't know, is a beautiful creek that runs below campus (Most of the paths are built above it.) For my Victorian lit class, we went down to Waller and looked at the footprints of dinosaurs that are preserved there, and wrote while sitting on the rocks. It's like a hidden world. So I was devastated to learn of a student's death and assault in that sacred place. I was even more devastated to learn that the person arrested was a homeless man with mental illness. There are no easy solutions to these problems. When I went to UT, the homeless population was everywhere. I never would have thought to be afraid, but I never walked the campus at night because I lived off-campus. Every so often when parent's weekend came, the police would round up the homeless population and get them off the streets for a while, for show. But they never seemed to care about finding a solution that worked in a human, caring way.
For me, we can make big choices and try to change things on a larger scale, but it all starts small. With tiny choices. Tiny actions that reverberate. We are humans living in this place together. How we help each other can mean more sometimes than the stalled work of congress. I really believe that by helping one person you can make a big difference.
Anywho, I've gotten off topic, but I hope you read my story and enjoy it.
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Holly Lyn Walrath is a freelance editor and author of poetry, flash fiction, and short fiction. Find her on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath
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Holly Walrath's books on Goodreads
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Our Space: Shorts & Poetry from the Houston Community
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In Medias Res: Stories from the In-Between
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The 2017 Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Poetry of 2016 Selected by the Science Fiction Poetry Association
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