Posts Tagged ‘Gwendolyn Clare’

EP558: Holding the Ghosts


AUTHOR: Gwendolyn Clare

NARRATOR: Dionne Obeso

HOST: Tina Connolly

about the author…

Gwendolyn Clare is a New Englander transplanted to North Carolina. She holds a BA in Ecology, a BS in Geophysics, a PhD in Mycology, and
swears she’s done collecting acronyms. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, Analog, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, among others.

about the narrator…

Dionne Obeso is a freelance editor and a writer of science fiction and fantasy. Her awesome flash fiction can be found at SpeckLit.com and Daily Science Fiction. When she isn’t adventuring in fantastical worlds, exploring alien environs, or trekking through the high Sierras, she returns to her home base in the California Bay Area to remind her husband what she looks like. She has purple hair, a secret identity, and a strong position on the Oxford comma.

 

 

Holding the Ghosts

By Gwendolyn Clare

Abby was in control of the body the first time a glitch occurred.  She was “home from college for the long weekend”–that’s what the imprinted memories showed, at least–and her mother was pouring dollops of blueberry pancake batter onto the sizzling cast-iron griddle.

Her father had found an excuse to go into work on a Saturday morning, as he often did ever since Abby “went off to college.”  She assumed this was her father’s strategy for coping with empty nest syndrome and tried not to feel hurt by his avoidance.  Her interpretation wasn’t entirely incorrect, but of course she did not comprehend exactly how empty the nest was.

When Abby stopped living with them full time, the body stopped being Abby full time.  Leasing the body was quite expensive, so this was the only logical decision.  But Abby’s father could not reconcile himself to the idea that Abby only existed on the weekends when they rented the body, never mind that the techs would fabricate memories for her so that she believed she had experienced all the intervening days.

The body shouldn’t have known this.  The body should only know what Abby knew.

“Do you want another one?  We’ve still got some batter here.”

Abby looked up from the purple-and-amber swirls of blueberry juice and maple syrup she was prodding with her fork.  “Um… no thanks, Mom.  I think I’m full.”

“I wish you wouldn’t worry about the freshman fifteen,” her mother fussed.  “If anything, you look like you’ve lost a few pounds this semester.”

“I’m not your daughter, you know.  I’m just carrying her ghost for a while.” (Continue Reading…)

EP361: Ashes on the Water


By Gwendolyn Clare
Read by Mur Lafferty
Discuss on our forums.
Originally appeared in Asimov’s, 2011
All stories by Gwendolyn Clare
All stories read by Mur Lafferty
Rated 13 and up

Ashes on the Water
by Gwendolyn Clare

I hoped that Ranjeet’s friends were as disreputable as promised.  Ranjeet himself was late, of course.  I’d asked him to park his car out on the road and meet me behind the house–my cousin is, shall we say, out of favor, and I couldn’t afford to get caught with him.  So I sat on the dry, cracked ground in the shadow of the house, waiting where Father wouldn’t think to look for me.  A meter away, heat rose off the sun-baked earth, wavering like water, as if the dormant land dreamed of monsoon season.  I shut my eyes against the image.  For years now, each summer has come harsher than the last.

Soft footsteps in the dirt, and Ranjeet strolled around the corner of the house, calling, “You’ll never make it across the border, kid.”

I stood up and brushed the dust off my jeans, annoyed. Seventeen and he still calls me a kid.  “Why don’t you say that a little louder?  I don’t think the neighbors could hear you clearly.”

The closest neighbors live on the other side of a one-hectare vacant field that used to be the mango grove, before the mango trees withered.  I used to sit on Father’s shoulders to help with the harvest when I was small.  He keeps saying we’re going to replant the grove, but nobody’s all that eager to dig up the dead roots.

Ranjeet folded his arms and leaned back against the side of the house.  “You know it’s true.”

“Did you get the papers for me, or not?”

He pulled a thick envelope out of the inner pocket of his cream-colored sportcoat, but he held on to it, turning it over in his hands.  “What are you planning to do, smuggle it in your shoes?
You’re going to get caught.” (Continue Reading…)

EP319: Driving X


By Gwendolyn Clare
Read by Mur Lafferty
Discuss on our forums.
First appeared in Warrior Wisewoman 3
All stories by Gwendolyn Clare
All stories read by Mur Lafferty

Driving X
by Gwendolyn Clare

Carmela wouldn’t have stopped if she had known that the kid was still alive.

She spotted the body lying under a creosote bush, maybe ten yards from
the road, and she hit the brakes.  She grabbed the roll cage of the
old dune buggy and pulled herself up, standing on the driver’s seat to
scan in both directions along the unpaved road.  A dust devil twirled
a silent ballet off to the southeast, but hers was the only man-made
dust trail in evidence for miles.  She raised her hand to cover the
sun and squinted into the bleached, cloudless sky–no vultures yet,
which was good, since vultures attract attention.  Minimal risk, she
decided.

The dune buggy itself wasn’t that valuable, but the newer-model solar
panels powering it would be enough to tempt any sane person, and the
carboys of potable water were worth a small fortune out here.

Carmela swung out of the dune buggy and jogged over to check out the
body.  It was tall but skinny, with the not-yet-filled-out look of a
teenager.  Pale skin, a tint of sunburn, brown hair cropped at
chin-length.  The girl was lying face down in the dust, so Carmela
rolled the body over and checked her front pockets for anything of
interest.  A month ago, she would have felt ashamed, but scavenging
was the norm down here; after all, dead people don’t miss what you
take from them.
(Continue Reading…)