To promote the release of our special multiethnic issue this June, we will be posting little bits of all the stories included in this mega-issue. Today, we begin with a glimpse at a tale from Ekaterina Sedia, author of The Alchemy of Stone and the editor of the World Fantasy Award-winning Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy.
The Great Performance of Kadir Bey
By Ekaterina Sedia
When one’s every day starts with the tortured howling of the inmates of an insane asylum, one becomes quite resistant to surprise. At least, Abbé de Coulmier flattered himself with the thought that very few things, be they of divine or secular origin, had the power to rattle his calm demeanor. Smiling as cheerfully as ever, he headed outside, to the garden, where a visitor was waiting for him.
The visitor was a small, wormy man, of the variety that had proliferated to alarming numbers after the Revolution, and continued to grow during the Republic. His poorly-fitting clothes had an air of disregard about them, even though they were quite new. But the collar and the cuffs had an unclean feel to them, and the buttons seemed to remain attached to the fabric of his waistcoat via pure strength of will. The too-closely-set eyes of the man darted from the Abbé’s face to his hunched back, and a slow smile spread on his face like an oil stain. “Good morning, Father,” he said. “I have business with you.”
“So you’ve said in your letter,” the Abbé agreed. “You have a friend who is in need of Charenton Asylum’s services?”
The Multiethnic issue will be online June 1, 2010. Mark your calendar!