An essay by Elise Tanner, as provided by Deborah Walker
Art by Luke Spooner
My sister came to my mother’s funeral. She stood at the gates, watching my uncles carrying the coffin from the flower-lined hearse. She was a pale ghost, standing apart from the rest of the mourners.
Rose looked exactly as I remembered her. I hadn’t seen her for twelve years, but she hadn’t aged. I touched my hand to my hair, streaked through with grey. Terminal cancer does that, slowly pulling its victim toward its breast and swiping its vicious claws at the grieving family, bleeding the life of out them. I had sent word to Rose when my mother was first diagnosed. She was late, too late.
When she tried to enter the church, Reverend Joyce stepped in front of her. He stood with his arms crossed at the threshold of the church. “Your kind will not enter here,” he said.
Dad came to reason with him, and there was a scene. Reverend Joyce had always seemed such a tolerant man. It surprised me to see him spluttering with righteous hatred.
The cold-lifers spark the most astonishing feelings of passion.
After the service, I had a quiet word with Rose and asked her not to attend the grave. I didn’t want Dad upset, any more than he had to be.
“I’ll go straight to the Green Man,” said Rose.
She remembered, then. My mother had enjoyed a drink, and the Green Man had been local for nigh on thirty years.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2017 collection.
With her husband, Derrick, Elise Tanner runs Maid Marion 4 U, a professional domestic cleaning business offering services throughout Nottinghamshire. The Tanners have two young children: Rosie and Caleb.
Deborah Walker grew up in the most English town in the country, but she soon high-tailed it down to London, where she now lives with her partner, Chris, and her two young children. Find Deborah in the British Museum trawling the past for future inspiration or on her blog: http://deborahwalkersbibliography.blogspot.com/ Her stories have appeared in Nature’s Futures, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction, and The Year’s Best SF 18.
Luke Spooner a.k.a. ‘Carrion House’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.
“The Frozen Hive of Her Mind” is © 2010 Deborah Walker
Art accompanying story is © 2017 Luke Spooner
This story originally appeared in Nature’s Futures.