EXCERPTS: The Kindly Light of the Setting Sun/Dante’s Inferno

Oh, the curfew bell’s tolled,

 When the sun goes down;

And the sheep seek the fold,

When the sun goes down;

And the churchyard tower grey

Calls life’s children home from play,

At the closing of the day,

When the sun goes down

– Edwin Waugh

 

5:55AM.

IT WAS HER LAST DAY, AND TSEHAY HAD BIG PLANS.

When dawn bloomed over the jagged edge and steel-blue water of Winter Harbour, Maine, she was there. The sun kissed his way through the clouds and found her face already turned up to reciprocate, hands outstretched, her whole body arching in welcome.

Tsehay did not look three thousand years old. Not a single gray graced her short-shorn hair, and the laugh-lines around her eyes and lips only emphasized the smoothness of her umber skin. She closed her eyes and smiled her promise: today would be a very special day — one which, she hoped, would leave its footprints for years to come, when she was only ash. When the echoes of the bad still sounded, perhaps she could chime them out with the good.

She would do what she could. It might not be enough, but it would be all she had.

The sun’s bottommost curve cleared the horizon. It was time to begin.


Dante’s Inferno

DANTE WAS FAIRLY SURE he wasn’t supposed to be looking down  at the princess right now. Sure, the heteronormative pattern dictated he’d be a little taller, but not like this. This was wrong. About two stories’ worth of wrong.

“Eek!” screamed the princess.

“Wait a minute,” Dante said, startled to find his voice transformed from croaky to sonorous. “Wait! It’s me!”

“Eek!” screamed the princess, and then she passed out.

At least his new claws (Claws? Really?) were nimble enough to catch her before she hit the floor.

Claws weren’t heteronormative. Neither were red scales. Neither was the bizarre yet pertinent understanding that he needed to lay an egg really soon or things were going to go terribly wrong.

An egg?

Oh.

“So it turns out I’m female,” Dante said to the slumped princess, and laid her gently on a desk.

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