About Mari Ness

Speculative fiction writer and poet

Double reprint day

It’s not often that I get to talk about even one reprint, much less two, but today is that day, with two pieces finding new homes.

First, my flash fiction story, “We Need To Talk About the Unicorn in Your Back Yard,” which originally appeared over at Daily Science Fiction, is now available at Toasted Cake, a podcast focusing on flash fiction pieces.

And second, my poem, “Do Not Imagine,” which originally appeared in Future Lovecraft, is now available in A Visitor’s Guide to the Void, a guidebook to a larger performance project which also includes a rather cool interactive poetic oracle.

Enjoy!

Happy Watermaidens Day

Today is, by decree fee, the day of the watermaidens – and this year, the watermaidens intend to invite a unicorn or two to their celebrations.

Such invitations are rare events – sometimes happening only once a century, if then.  It is not that the watermaidens dislike unicorns, precisely – indeed, some have even opened their springs and ponds and lakes to the delicate yet wild creatures from time to time, when the unicorns need to refresh themselves in cold water.  A few watermaidens have even entered into long friendships with unicorns, guarding the creatures with their magics, or beckoning young people to come closer, and place their chests against a unicorn’s horn.

But watermaidens, like unicorns, tend to be solitary creatures, and when not solitary, tend to enjoy certain activities not entirely approved of by the more proper unicorns. Not that all unicorns demand chastity – far from it – but many of the older and more traditional unicorns do feel that it is their duty to uphold the standards associated with them. And although few watermaidens continue to practice their ancient art of dragging mortals down into the water depths – in part because many of them have no depths to drag mortals into – the very existence of that tradition causes even the most frivolous, unconventional unicorns to shudder. Nor do watermaidens, for the most part, care to venture into the deepest parts of the forests and meadows where unicorns hide or dance – they are not comfortable leaving their waters for long.

(Indeed, even on this day, many watermaidens will remain under their frozen lakes, or hide in seafoam – they prefer their comforts, those watermaidens.)

This, of course, makes it rather hard to invite the unicorns to their celebrations.  Without knowing precisely where the unicorns live – and with no safe way to travel there – messages must be sent instead. And the watermaidens, of course, have never been overly fond of paper and pen – paper tends to disintegrate, if in their hands for too long. A few of them do have cell phones – but those phones rarely survive long in their watery grasps. Most birds cannot be trusted to send messages.

Still.

The watermaidens have their ways of leaving messages on starlight and the wind, on moonlight and clouds.

And they know how to sing to the unicorns.

So as you travel today, keep an eye out. That white flash – that gleam of light – it might be nothing more than a reflection of sunlight, or some creation of mortals, or an optical illusion.

Or it might just be a watermaiden dancing with a unicorn.