By Caroline Yoachim
Read by: Heather Welliver
Originally appearing in Asimov’s
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All stories by Caroline Yoachim
All stories read by Heather Welliver
Nominated for the
Hugo Nebula Award for Novelette, 2011
Rated appropriate for older teens and up for adult imagery.
Stone Wall Truth
by Caroline M. Yoachim
Njeri sewed the woman together with hairs from a zebra tail. Her deer-bone needle dipped under the woman’s skin and bobbed back out. The contrast of the white seams against her dark skin was striking.
“The center seam makes a straight line,” Njeri told her apprentice, “but the others flow with the natural curves of the body, just as the Enshai River follows the curve of the landscape.”
Odion leaned in to examine her work, his breath warm on the back of her neck. Foolish boy, wasting his attention on her. Njeri set her needle on the table and stood up to stretch. The job was nearly done — she’d repositioned the woman’s organs, reconstructed her muscles, sewn her body back together. Only the face was still open, facial muscles splayed out in all directions from the woman’s skull like an exotic flower in full bloom.
“Why sew them back together, after the wall?” Odion asked. “Why not let them die?”