Dark Faith: Invocations Devotional – Lucy Snyder

Posted by on Feb 25, 2013 in Apex Publications Blog: Matters of SF, Fantasy, and Horror | 0 comments

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Dark Faith: InvocationsLucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the novels SpellbentShotgun SorceressSwitchblade Goddess,  and the collections Sparks and Shadows, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. Her writing has appeared in the Apex anthologies Dark Faith and Appalachian Undead as well as Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Hellbound Hearts, Doctor Who Short Trips: Destination Prague, Chiaroscuro, GUD, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Lucy is the author of “Magdala Amygdala,” which has been selected to be in Ellen Datlow’s The Best Horror of the Year volume 5 and nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.

Buy Dark Faith: Invocations from one of our retailers.

Who are you?

I’m just another person who wears a lot of different labels, depending on the circumstances and on who you ask: writer, wife, geek, agnostic, dreamer, optimist, cynic.  It’s possible that you could learn everything there is to know about me from my fiction; it’s equally possible that you would read everything I’ve ever written and still see an utter stranger when you finally meet me in person.

Tell us about your story.

Eighteen months ago, I was working the weekend graveyard shift in a computer data center. The night shift can do terrible things to your brain after a while, because often you just don’t get the right kind of sleep (if you can sleep at all during the day; I never got the hang of it), and it kills your social life dead. I felt disconnected and zombified, and my short-term memory was starting to slip.

My story came out of that experience, specifically my wondering what if I’d been put on that shift precisely because I was some kind of monster who couldn’t be allowed around normal people.

How does your story tie into the concept of faith?

My story deals with the human need for faith, the need to believe that things will get better, the need to think that we as people each have a good and worthy purpose behind our existence.

Every year, Maurice Broaddus throws a convention in honor of himself (Mo*Con). How do you feel about this fact?

It’s a fun weekend! Plus, Maurice’s birthday is just a few days from mine, so I always get cake.  Mmm, cake ….

Excerpt from “Magdala Amygdala”:

I sleep fitfully. When my alarm goes off, I call in sick, shower, dress, and check my phone. Betty’s texted a cryptic string of letters and numbers for my directions. And so I drive out to a hotel we’ve never visited before, drinking Aquafinas the whole way. It’s a dark old place, once grand, now crumbling away in a forgotten corner of downtown. I wonder if she’s running short of money or if the extra anonymity of the place was crucial to her.

Still, as I get out my car and double-check my locks in the pouring rain, I can’t help but peer out into the oppressive black spaces in the parking lot, trying to figure out if any of the shadows between the other vehicles could be lurking cops or CDC agents. The darkness doesn’t move, so I hurry to the front door, head down, hands jammed in my raincoat pockets, my stomach roiling with worry and anticipation. I avoid making eye contact with any of the damp, tired-looking prostitutes smoking outside the hotel’s front doors. None of them pay any attention to me.

My phone chimes as Betty texts me the room number. I take the creaking, urine-stinking elevator up four floors. My pace slows as I walk down the stained hallway carpet, and I pause for a moment before I knock on the door of Room 512. What if the watchers tapped Betty’s phone? What if she’s not here at all? My poised hand quivers as my heart seems to pound out “A trap — a trap — a trap.”

I swallow. Knock twice. Step back. A moment later, Betty answers the door, wearing her Audrey Hepburn wig and a black cocktail dress that hangs limply from her skeletal shoulders. It’s appalling how much weight she’s lost; her eyes have turned entirely black, the whites permanently stained by repeated hemorrhages.

But she smiles at me, and I find myself smiling back, warmed by the first spark of real human feeling I’ve had in months. I have to believe that we’re still human. I have to.

“You ready?” Her question creaks like the hinge of a forgotten gate.

“Absolutely.” My own voice is the dry fluttering of moth wings.


Buy Dark Faith: Invocations from one of our retailers.

Friday and Saturday look for devotionals from Nisi Shawl and Michael Ehart as they discuss their collaboration on “In Blood and Song.”

Don’t forget to read our past devotional posts.

LaShawn M. Wanak

Brian Hatcher

Richard Dansky

Tim Pratt

Jennifer Pelland

Richard Wright

Alma Alexander

Matt Cardin

Lavie Tidhar

Nick Mamatas

Jay Lake

Katerina Stoykova-Klemer

 

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