Light of the Last Day
Edited by Nyki Blatchley & Natalie Millman
Cover art & design by Mette Pesonen
Print edition, EPUB edition, Kindle from Amazon.co.uk, Kindle from Amazon.com
(also available on Kindle from other regional Amazons)
The anthology of the online writers’ group Fantasy-writers.org, Light of the Last Day features stories and poems by thirteen members, some (though not all) based around the theme given in the title.
Besides co-editing the anthology, I have two stories in it:
In Lari’s People, a ritual outcasting from a village proves not to be what it seems.
Dayglow illustrates the problems when a kind-hearted giant adopts a human baby.
Excerpt from Lari’s People:
Waking to the light of the last day she’d spend as a human, Lari tried to convince herself that she was still asleep, that the whole sixteen years of her life had been a nightmare. Her earliest memory was of being told the day would come when she’d be cast out from the village. From all the villages that clung to the fields and pasture around the skirts of Darkwood.
What would her life have been like without this day hanging over her? No-one had been unkind to her, it was true, and any teasing from other children had been quickly hushed by the older ones, who treated her with a mixture of fear and pity. Even the repeated reminders of her destiny were inspired not by cruelty, but by the belief it would be easier if she could prepare. It was always done that way, but there was no-one for Lari to ask whether it had worked for them.
She couldn’t lie in bed any longer, though. If she didn’t go out to them, they’d come and bring her out. What she faced would be bad enough, without being dragged screaming from her home.
Lari washed in the bowl of hot water her mother had left – her mother, who’d be waiting with the rest and look at her like a stranger – and dressed in her finest clothes. She wanted the village’s last sight of her to be impressive, but her hands shook too much to make herself neat.
A howl cut the air, followed by two more, as she struggled with the ribbons in her hair. The others. Lari had never seen one, but it was said they always gathered near the edge of the forest on such a day. Maybe they’d tear her to pieces. That might be for the best, though the idea of dying sent a shiver through Lari. Then again, maybe she’d tear them to pieces.