The second season of Tor’s horror anthology, Come Join Us By The Fire, has just launched on Google Play, where it’s available for free. Chapter fourteen features my short story, “The Prodigal Son,” an early draft of which appeared in this newsletter several months ago; it’s a bit longer now, and reworked on several fronts, and you can hear me read it, should you like. I hope you do!
If you’d like a transcript for accessibility purposes, you can either download the accompanying PDF (instructions here); if for any reason that doesn’t work for you, let me know (dannymlavery at gmail) and I’ll be happy to send you a copy of the text directly.
To whet your interest, here’s a brief excerpt:
“I am ten feet tall,” his father said. “I am nine-hundred and sixty-nine years old, and older than that. I was born to terrible hunters, men of renown and mighty in the earth. There were giants on the earth in those days, and afterward, great giants of Gath who took to themselves beautiful daughters of men. Their wives split open like cantaloupes in birthing giants, and their sons covered the plains of Shinar and Assyria in white Baal-towers stretching up to the moon, by which the giants passed back and forth between the heavens and the earth, and from the steps of their sandals trailed stars. My thighbone is cast in bronze and my arm is of cedar. I am a mighty hunter, terrible on the earth. I am a terrible man, renowned among wives. I am a tower, and still giants climb down from the moon every night and clamber across my back onto the plains of Shinar. My cattle and my servants are thickly lashed with wealth-fat. All you have to say is: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ Crawl before me on your hands and knees. Place your hand under my thigh and swear you deserve nothing, have no birthright, and I will sweep you up. I will throw my arms around you, tight as the bands around the earth, and kiss you before everyone, and declare a feast, for you were dead but live again, full of wickedness but now a sweet and perfect infant, as little as my little finger and only one day old. I will buy you gold shoes and a pony. Come to your senses and come home, little one. I will tuck you under the hem of my garment and hide you in the curve of my littlest finger’s nail. By night you will sleep in the curve of the moon’s bow, and by day I will dress you as a prize pig. Speak, and you shall be healed.”
But the young man stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard him not.
“Even now I still offer much,” his father said. “Even rebuffed, thusly, with a pig’s obstinance, and a pig’s mind: Weep, once, and grasp my thigh, and I will restore you to homewealth.”
And again the young man stooped down, and wrote on the ground with his finger: NO DICE.
“All right,” his father said. “Sharper than a serpent’s tooth. Squeal like a pig, then. Fifty denarii, for one good, strong squeal, and I’ll go home.”
Fathers and pigs! May both be roasted with all possible speed.