New Story! By Me! "Shadow Transit," At Buzzy Mag

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 14.472% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

I wrote this story because I do not know how to play with children.
I was, however, spending time with my um-daughter Carolyn, so named because her parents are Jewish and don’t have a tradition of Godchildren, but we’re pretty much her Godparents.  And she was playing “Teacher” with me.
Carolyn is creative at the best of times, but at this stage in her life she was very big on broken bones and operations.  Every time we played, someone shattered a femur or was in a cast.  And Carolyn, like all children, gets a bit tyrannical when handed the power of teachers, and was barking orders at me of what I was to do, and the awful injuries that might occur if I didn’t obey.  And I wondered: is her school like this at all?  Is she making all of this up, or is this some weird reflection of a hideously overprotective class? 
Then: what would it be like if her school really was full of terror? 
And so I wrote Shadow Transit, a story devoted to how impenetrable the inner lives of children are… especially when they’re special children, tasked with saving the world from otherworldly forces.  Here’s your obligatory sample:

Last night’s blizzard had choked the roads, leaving the cabinet factory short-handed for the Friday shift. So Michelle’s boss had called to give her a choice: she could come in for an emergency shift today and keep her job, or she could keep the day off she’d requested to visit her daughter at Shadow Transit, in which case she’d get her ass fired.
“Thank you,” Michelle whispered, glad beyond belief. “I’ll come in. Just…call them for me? Please? I’ll give you the number; they won’t listen to me. Make sure they tell Elizabeth that Mommy’s sorry.”
Jackson made his apologies, saying how he was sure Lizzie was needed wherever she was, but he had quotas to meet. Michelle barely heard him. She felt the giddy relief of a kid hearing that school was cancelled. Her boss had made the choice for her; she didn’t have to play with Lizzie this month and pretend that everything was okay. No three-hour drive out to the Colander. No watching teenaged guards struggling to remember how to pronounce English words. No worrying about what Lizzie had meant for days afterwards. She was free for another month and hated herself only a little for it….

But I should warn you: this is one of those stories that builds.  It’s one of my best finishes, I think.  I’d get all the way to the end if I were you, and make sure your children aren’t too close when you’re done.

1 Comment

  1. Crystal
    Jan 16, 2016

    Hi!! I adore this story. I heard it on pseudopod, and I have listened to it several times. I even quote it to my husband on occasion (yes, I had him listen to it as well). I was wondering if you had written anything else in this universe? We would love to see more!

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