by

Rhonda Parrish and Beth Cato

you can hear it
the cracking, the slurping
(the screams cut short)
you know what it means
but you mustn’t look back

you can feel it
a whisper of fabric
light as thought
whooshing behind you
but you mustn’t look back

the fragrance follows you
cloying floral notes mixed with
the stench of iron
memories almost make you smile
but you mustn’t look back

you recognize the hummed lullaby
unheard for a decade
you don’t know how Mom
returned, how she found you
but you mustn’t look back

Like a magpie, Rhonda Parrish is constantly distracted by shiny things. She’s the editor of many anthologies and author of plenty of books, stories and poems. She lives with her husband and two cats in Edmonton, Alberta, and she can often be found there playing Dungeons and Dragons, bingeing crime dramas, making blankets or cheering on the Oilers.

Her website, updated regularly, is at http://www.rhondaparrish.com and her Patreon, updated even more regularly, is at https://www.patreon.com/RhondaParrish.

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Beth Cato

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She’s the Nebula Award-nominated author of the Clockwork Dagger duology and the Blood of Earth trilogy from Harper Voyager. Her short stories can be found in publications ranging from Beneath Ceaseless Skies to Uncanny Magazine. In 2019, she won the Rhysling Award for short speculative poetry.

Beth shares her household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and three feline overlords. Her website BethCato.com includes not only a vast bibliography, but a treasure trove of recipes for delectable goodies. Find her on Twitter as @BethCato.

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