I’m a huge fan of Kickstarter which enables individuals who have a vision to make something, to gain support monetarily to see their vision through fruition. One of those Kickstarter projects was the creation of an anthology of speculative history called Long Hidden – Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. It’s a short story collection of heroes we can all relate to – its individuals recalling their personal family history – a look at their past – the myths they have heard and the wonderment of it all.
When I read these short stories, I am reminded of my family history and the stories we have passed down over the generations. Many of these stories have changed as the generations have ceased each adding a little bit more to it all and in essence changing and explaining our past a little more. It’s a unique history that may not always be clear and defined, but it’s my history and it’s the best I’ve got.
And sometimes with history adding a little more to a story makes the truth shine a little more clearly.
In the case of Long Hidden those truths shine in a multitude of gems, each standing on their own – brilliant storylines and narrators each shouting out to you.
One story in particular intrigued me the most; it was Sabrina Vourvoulias’ Dance of the White Demon.
Sabrina Vourvoulias moved the United States when she was 15 and grew up in Guatemala. She is a Latina newspaper editor and writer and studied writing and filmmaking at Sarah Lawrence College. Her writing has been published in many anthologies including Dappled Things, Graham House Review, Crossed Genres Magazine; with several short stories slated for Bull Spec and GUD magazines.
Dance of the White Demon is bittersweet and tragic – its magic lies in its flow, its movement gently sways you toward the ending – it encompasses what we see as storytelling and creates a myth so large and real. It’s wonderfully written and poetic.
In Guatemala culture, Tekun Umam a warrior befriends an albino named K’antel, who is given up at birth and raised by an older woman.
“The old woman is not my mother. She is not my grandmother, nor any relation that can be traced in straight lines. But the tree of life has crooked lines too, and her crossed eyes and my ghostly appearance tie us together in more worlds than just the one under our feet. My father brought me to her still tinted dark by my mother’s blood, but that old woman knew me anyway. The gods have made us family.”
We sense the loss for K’antel – the loss of family, of acceptance, of friends. Isolation speaks so loud here and because of it, Tekun Umam befriends her. A friendship is forged and then severed for life takes on greater meaning.
It’s a beautifully written myth filled with truth.
Edited by Rose Fox and Daniel Jose Older