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The Seers’ Table June 2024

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The Seers Table!

Linda D. Addison, Member of the Diverse Works Inclusion Community

You can see any of The Seers’ Table posts since inception (March 2016) by going to the HWA main page and selecting menu item “Our Blogs / Seers’ Table.”

 

Megan Starrak recommends:

Rebecca Cuthbert is a dark fiction and poetry writer living in Western New York. She loves ghost stories, folklore, witchy women, and anything that involves nature getting revenge. Her debut poetry collection, In Memory of Exoskeletons, is out from Alien Buddha Press (March 2023), and Creep This Way: How to Become a Horror Writer With 24 Steps to Get You Ghouling is available now from Seamus & Nunzio Productions (January 2024). Look for her hybrid poetry and story collection, Self-Made Monsters, in the fall of 2024, also from Alien Buddha Press. News about a children’s horror picture book, a spicy gothic novella, and a ghost story collection will be out soon.

Recommended Reading: A poem entitled “It’s Always a Demon,” published in the January 2024 issue of Dusty Attic Magazine.

It’s Always a Demon

I want to believe
in second chances, but
necromancy’s a dressed-up
hoax.

Your mom’s dead for good, bitch;
that there’s a demon—
can’t you tell her eyes aren’t right?
Don’t you know she never called you baby?

I get the temptation, girl, believe me.
Who wouldn’t want to find again
what they had lost?
Who wouldn’t want
just one more moment,
if only to say goodbye, I love you?

It’s better, though, to shout into the dirt,
into the hole of a fresh-dug grave,
into the yawning maw
of lonely decades you’ll outlive her.

I can’t promise you an afterlife. No;
I can’t promise some far-off reunion.
But I promise you this, with all my grief,
with all my sincerity:
That isn’t your mother.
That’s not your mom.

Follow Cuthbert on Site: https://linktr.ee/rebeccacuthbertwrites; Instagram: rebecca_cuthbert_writes/, Facebook: rebecca.schwab.988, and Twitter: @RebeccaJCuth.

 

Nicole D. Sconiers recommends:

Tobi Ogundiran is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed collection, Jackal, Jackal, and the upcoming In the Shadow of the Fall. He has also been nominated for the British Science Fiction Assn., Nommo, and Shirley Jackson Awards. His short fiction has been featured on the hit podcast “LeVar Burton Reads,” but also appears in journals such as Lightspeed, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and in several Year’s Best anthologies. Born and raised in Nigeria, he now lives and works in the U.S. South.

In his debut short story collection Jackal, Jackal, Ogundiran has crafted eighteen mesmerizing fables about characters searching for hope in a bleak world.

In the titular story “Jackal, Jackal,” a man escapes from death row and reunites with his family, only to discover the horrific consequences of wearing a mask. “Maria’s Children” is a haunting tale about young boys trying to prove their manhood and the danger that descends on their small fishing village when one of them steals treasure from a ghost ship. My favorite, “Drummer Boy in a World of Wise Men,” explores the unbreakable bond of a father and son and the latter’s quest to protect his family and keep his father’s memory alive through their shared love of drumming.

Tobi Ogundiran is a brilliant storyteller whose tales of longing and abandonment, greed, lost family connections and resilience in the face of tragedy will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.

Recommended Reading: Jackal, Jackal (Undertow Publications, 2023)

Excerpt from Jackal, Jackal:

The mob chases me. I don’t know where they came from, but they are there, hot on my tail. Terror in my heart, confusion in my mind, I bound through the streets, a beast far from home, a beast caught in the rain.

It is a while before I lose them, and I find myself, frightened and exhausted, on the deserted bay, the ocean a dark void in the distance. I want nothing more than to return home to Aisha, to Tunde. I want very much to know that they’re alright, that they will be alright. But I can’t return to them. Not while I’m like this. Not when they see me as the monster.

My phone starts to ring in my pocket, and I fumble for it, thinking, hoping, it is Idris. But phones are designed for hands smaller than mine, for human hands, and so it rings and rings until it goes to voicemail.

Mr. Lai’s normally oily voice is taut with barely repressed panic. “Listen, Funsho. We’ve all been trying to reach you. Idris tells me you’re not picking up his calls, and you’ve all but vanished. I need the head back, for your sake. Shit, I hope to God you’re not wearing it all the time. They’re not meant to be worn for extended periods. The head is not … it was procured from a beast not of this world. Even though they’re parted with their heads they don’t truly die, at least not in the way you and I understand death. They always want to come back. Do you understand? They want to come back. The longer you wear it, the more it feeds and the stronger it becomes until—”

Follow Tobi on Twitter @tobi_thedreamer or visit his Web site tobiogundiran.com.

Linda D. Addison recommends:

Jessica L. Sparrow is an author specializing in Puerto Rican Gothic fiction, supernatural thrillers, and poetry, drawing inspiration from her Afro-Borinquena heritage. Her cultural pride shines through in her short story Burning Slumber, a tribute to the Tainos. Debuting in the cosmic horror anthology by Raw Dog Screaming Press, Beyond the Bounds of Infinity, set to launch in July 2024.

This year, she released her collection of poems, Visions & Nightmares of a GothicRican, which is now available for purchase on Amazon. She will also be releasing the first book of her Sangre Mia series, The Amber Within, a 19th-century gothic thriller infused with Puerto Rican witchcraft, love, and matriarchal strength.

Among her collegiate community, Sparrow is recognized as a Puerto Rican Speaker, Educator, Author, and Bomba dancer. She enjoys sharing her Puerto Rican heritage with those eager to learn. In addition to her cultural endeavors, Sparrow also enjoys fostering the writing community. When she is not writing, speaking, or performing, she organizes and hosts Author Events in the DMV area.

Recommended Reading: “Words,” a poem from Visions & Nightmares of A GothicRican released April 2024.

Words

What are words but just steppingstones
that wedge themselves in the way
clumsily falling into place
of the great big crevice, we created.

Sweet but poisonous.
Endearingly,
pouring
out
with jagged phrases
that slice
open the elephants in every room.

Not meaningless nor malicious.
Just things never mentioned.
Hoping to icepick and break
the glacier between us.

Follow Jessica at: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheNestDesk/; Instagram, Twitter, & Threads: @SparrowsInkwell.

Tish Jackson recommends:

Jamison Shea is a U.S.-born Finnish citizen writing horror for the globe. Their first novel I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast is Me explores the competitive world of Parisian ballet, and what lengths a dedicated participant will go through to succeed. However, when those lengths include blood sacrifice, someone is destined to suffer. Maiming and murder abound in this novel that weaves issues of race and class with Greek gods from the underworld. Jamison extolls the beauty of the ballet alongside the pain of never being accepted, making the lure of ungodly power irresistible. This Final Girl is feral indeed.

The response to Shea’s first novel was overwhelming, prompting their second novel I Am The Dark That Answers When You Call. The main character returns with her motley crew of power seekers only to realize they are not the only ones roaming the streets of Paris. Coming out November 12, 2024, Shea’s sequel is not to be missed!

Recommended Reading: I Feed Her To The Beast And The Beast Is Me (Square Fish, August 29, 2023).

Excerpt:

The air changed. I fixed on Flora’s swirling form, watching along the edge of the crowd. She may have been older, a soloist, but soon she’d realize I didn’t need Alain or anybody to cover for me. And though I knew I could be better than even her, it took years to land a solo, so she wouldn’t know. Years of them doubting me, when I could just prove it here and now.

In a flash of fury, I seized the wicked dark and struck her down.

One moment, Flora was caught up in fouettés, whipping her leg rapidly, her heart pounding against my fingertips. The next, my blood called to hers, all me, all fury, so strong I didn’t even have to command her, and she tilted like a spin-top. Her foot slipped. She cried out and crashed to the floor with a wet snap.

Aiko flinched.

I loosed a steady breath.

The crowd surged forward and then grounded to a halt. Through slippers and pointe shoes, blood pooled on the floor. Vanessa clapped a hand to her mouth and turned away, looking green, retreating. Meanwhile I admired the view: Flora curled up and clutching her leg, jagged white bone jutting out from flesh and tights, painting her shin and the floor red.

“She just fell!” Olivia uttered with a grimace.

Panic sparked through me before quickly being shoved back down and replaced by something dark, twisted. Wrong as it was, my toes curled with delight. Want came alive in the pit of my stomach as seeing exposed marrow and her face carved in a painful wail. Even if no one understood that it was me, it still felt as life-sustaining as any applause.

My fingertips throbbed as my nails elongated.

I did that.

I gave in to the dark, and I felt good.

You do remember another world exists. They hunt, they speak, they make kingdoms.

 

Jamison Shea’s debut novel I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast is Me can be found on all platforms, and you can follow their exploits on their Web site; Twitter: @wickedjamison; Instagram: @wickedjamison.

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