My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon (anthology)
...with a story that is part of the Dirk & Steele universe…
Join Kelley Armstrong, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Caitlin Kittredge, Katie MacAlister, Lilith Saintcrow, the late Ronda Thompson, and editor P.N. Elrod in an anthology that follows the (mis)adventures of the newly wed (and undead).
“Where the Heart Lives” is my contribution to the anthology, and takes place in the Dirk & Steele universe, long before the events of the series.
“Marjorie M. Liu proves to be especially adept, providing the evocative and folkloric “Where the Heart Lives.” - Publishers Weekly”
When Miss Lindsay finally departed for the world beyond the wood, it meant that Lucy and Barnabus were the only people left to care for her house and land, as well as the fine cemetery she had kept for nearly twenty years outside the little town of Cuzco, Indiana. It was an important job, not just for Lucy and Barnabus, but for others, as well, who for years after would come and go; for rest or sanctuary. Bodies needed homes, after all – whether dead or living.
Lucy was only seventeen, and had come to the cemetery in the spring, not one month before Miss Lindsay went away. The girl’s father was a cutter at the limestone quarry. Her brothers drove the team that hauled the stones to the masons. The men had no use for a sister, or any reminder of the fairer sex; their mother had run away that previous summer with a gypsy fortuneteller, though Lucy’s father insisted his absent wife was off visiting relatives and would return. Eventually.
When word reached the old cutter that a woman named Miss Lindsay needed a girl to tend house, he made his daughter pack a bag with lunch, her comb, and one good dress from her mother’s closet – then set her on the first wagon heading toward Cuzco. No goodbyes, no messages sent ahead. Just chancing on fate that the old woman would want his daughter.
Lucy remembered that wagon ride. Mister Wiseman, the driver, had been hauling turnips that day, the bulbous roots covered beneath a burlap sheet to keep off the light drizzle: a cool morning, with a sweet breeze. No one on the road except them, and later, one other: an old man who stood at the side of the dirt track outside Cuzco; dressed in threadbare brown clothes, with a thin coat and his white hair slicked down from the rain. Pale eyes. Lost eyes, staring at the green budding hills like the woods were where his heart lived.
In his right hand, he held a round silver mirror. A discordant sight, flashing and bright; Lucy thought she heard voices in her head when she saw the reflecting glass: whispers like bird-song, teasing and sweet.
Mister Wiseman did not wave at the man, but Lucy did, out of politeness and concern. She received no response; as though she was some invisible spirit, or the breeze.
“Is he sick?” Lucy whispered to Mister Wiseman.
“Sick and married,” said the spindly man, in a voice so loud she winced. He tugged his hat a bit farther over his eyes. “Married, with no idea how to let go of the dead.”
“His wife is gone?” Lucy thought of her mother.
“Gone, dead. That was Henry Lindsay you saw. Man’s been like that for almost twenty years. Might as well be dead himself.”
Which answered almost nothing, in Lucy’s mind.