By Margo Lanagan
As a part of a public execution, a tender boy forlornly is helping to sing his sister down. . . . A servant learns approximately grace and loyalty from a mistress who may quite dance with Gypsies than sit down on her throne. . . . A terrifying come upon with a demonic angel supplies a tender guy the power he must cut loose of his oppressor. . . . On a bleak and dreary afternoon a gleeful capturing spree ends up in tragedy for a determined clown not able to flee his fate.In every one of Margo Lanagan's ten notable tales, human frailty is positioned to the try out by way of the implacable forces of darkish and lightweight, guy and beast. black juice bargains glimpses into frequent, shadowy worlds that push the limits of the spirit and depart the brain haunted with the data that black juice runs via us all.
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Ah, Your Highness. ’ Thunk, said the Fiore gently, as if it knew it had to stay secret. ‘And Blackety Blackbird, lighting up at the park gate? ’ Thunk. Could I ever be patient enough to save up for a Fiore of my own? Jelly stood back, coughing. ‘Here, you better get those Dice—they’re heading Dugald’s way. ’ I caught them in the cross-whiskers just as they stopped and baulked. Thunk-thunk. ’ ‘But we won’t have chosen. ’ I shrugged. ’ I didn’t care, as long as painted people were falling. ’ But he sounded unhappy.
She gives a tiny, mirthless laugh. We round the bend beside the Seat. Up among the trees a horse greets the master with a whinny. ’ ‘My lord sees something in me, you say. ’ She’s not jesting; she’s asking me for a piece of myself, without telling me how she’ll use it; whether she’ll toss it away, and Berry with it, or hold it in her heart to fester and poison my life with. I stroke the bay’s head for comfort. There’s no care inside that great skull; nothing will ever come out of those tunnel nostrils, that soft-leather mouth, but grassy air.
The Plunge by starlight is a dire place, and not something you hurry. You hold yourself by teeth and ears and your horse’s toenails to that cliff, and promise Nature anything if she’ll let you out the other side. You ponder nothing but getting step to step; there’s no time even to curse the lady who brought you here. 24 black juice-text pages 12/2/04 3:27 PM Page 25 my lord’s man And then I’m wobbling with relief on the flat, and the paler darkness of the road swings out of the trees and into our path, and I think we have a chance again.
Black Juice by Margo Lanagan