When her mother is killed by a roving militia, Silende struggles to survive in a harsh world of scarcity, and sudden, violent death. She is taken in by the itinerant Don Coyote, but soon discovers that his guise of easygoing, feckless detachment conceals far more calculating and complex motives.
Though “Don Coyote” is a stand alone novella (11K words), “Jemelle’s Exile”, which is included in “Persephone’s Library and Other Short Stories”, is a separate, sequel story that returns to the characters from “Don Coyote” several years later.
NOTE: Persephone's Library and Other Short Stories is $2.99, and comprises five stories: two novellas and three short stories themed around different visions of post-apocalyptic worlds. The stories included are: "Don Coyote de la Merika", "Jemelle's Exile", "Persephone's Library", "What Rough Beast?", and "The Talents".
Excerpt from “Don Coyote”:
Silende had to listen hard for the early warning: a heavy, deep rumble that she always felt first under the soles of her feet and in the depths of her chest.
When she was little, Meme had treated it as a game. “Go on and play Tires ‘n Twine. Hurry now! If you’re quiet like I said, I’ll give you a surprise when you get out.”
Then Silende would scramble under the stilts of the old shack, and hide herself in the dugout, between the worn out tires and the piles of old twine.
And she’d pretend like she was one of them.
Like as not, the rumbling would just stay off in the distance, barely audible, but for the deep feeling of the earth vibrating beneath her. Sometimes, a convoy of Mershants would happen to find their dusty old road. They’d stop by the shack and try to sell Meme something, before going on their way.
* * *
That afternoon, when Meme said, “Go on and play Tires ‘n Twine, baby,” her mouth turned all tense and white the way it usually got when they heard the rumbles.
Seeing that, Silende didn’t protest that she wasn’t a baby anymore—she just slipped out the back of the shack, crawled underneath and settled herself under a pile of twine.
The rules for playing Tires ‘n Twine were as follows:
Rule number 1:
Hide. Cover up with the twine. Stay quiet, no matter what you hear or see. Pretend like you’re one of the tires, or like you’re another big old pile of twine.
Rule number 2:
Only respond if Meme calls you by your own name. If she says anything different than your own name, then pretend you’re just tires ‘n twine.
Rule number 3:
If she doesn’t call your name, then stay hid. Stay hid no matter what. Until the rumbling is long gone. All night if need be.
Rule number 4:
Stay hid except for when you have to sneak out for food. If there’s any rumbles, be tires ‘n twine and wait for Uncle Coyote. He’s gotta come sooner or later.
Rule number 5:
Don’t come out for anyone else.
About Kathryn Anthony
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Published October 7, 2011
by Crow Girl Publishing.
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction.