Gift of the Goddess released in the Carved in Flesh anthology
Storm Moon Press has just released the anthology [book:Carved In Flesh|16002569] – one of the six stories in this collection is my 21K fantasy story Gift of the Goddess.
People often say that the true perfection in the human form is in its imperfections. Scars are visceral reminders of a person’s past, a sign of an event that can never fade. Whether it was gained in combat, a traumatic experience, or part of a ritual with a lover, scars are the ultimate labels. They leave a permanent mark on the body and spirit that, one way or another, change a person forever.
The other stories in the anthology are:
“Oren’s Right” by Blaine D. Arden
“Scar Therapy” by Logan Zachary
“Faded Love” by M.A. Church
“Tiocfaidh Ár Lá” by Angelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks
“Sojourn Home” by T.C. Mill
I’m looking forward to reading them and seeing where the anthology call led these authors.
In my story, Garvin’s scars are a Gift of the Goddess, seared into his skin as a beacon to find his kidnapped love, Nyle. Rescuing him, though, may entail a deeper wound than even the Goddess would bestow.
This story goes to a fairly dark place before reaching its HEA. It’s the first story I’ve written with non-consensual sex on the page. The episode is short and not explicit, but I know some readers will avoid this one for that reason. I hope those who try it will enjoy meeting Garvin and Nyle.
You can get Carved in Flesh from Storm Moon Press.
It hurt like hell! He’d thought he was prepared for anything, but this was like a shower of molten iron on his skin. Garvin clapped his hands over his eyes, pressing hard until he saw flashes of light. He froze in that position, unwilling to move. It was as though his body was being scorched and charred, up both arms and across his chest, but there was no sound and no smell of burning flesh. He didn’t dare look at himself.
He’d begged for help, implored Rima for guidance, something, anything, without really expecting his prayer to be answered. Clearly, he’d gotten attention from the goddess herself. But by all the gods, it hurt! Somehow, he forced his lips to complete the ritual blessing. “All thanks, Rima Who Made the Stars, for answering my prayer. All hail, Rima Who Made the Earth, to your power. All praise, Rima Who Bore the First Man, for your love toward your creations.”
As he spoke the final word, he felt a touch like a cool hand on his burning forehead. After a moment, the sensation faded and was gone. There was only silence and the near-unbearable fire that spread across his skin.
Garvin drew in a ragged breath. He’d never dared approach Rima before. He wasn’t one to petition the gods for anything. He preferred to live his life, do his work, keep to himself, and take the arrows of fortune as they came. But this had been for Nyle. For Nyle, he would storm the very gates of the heavens…