Issue 43 of Uncanny Magazine

Picture of rose in hand with text: White Rose, Red Rose "They say the dead see the world as a nightmare. Love and shock and pain are one merged, hungry thing." a short story by Rachel Swirsky, Uncanny Magazine

How cool is it to be back in Uncanny Magazine for the second time this year?

Earlier this year, they published my (very) short story, “Thirteen of the Secrets in My Purse.” (I’ve been thrilled to see that folks are enjoying it. I think it’s a good year to read something funny and a little exciting.)

My newest short story, “White Rose, Red Rose,” is a shivery–perhaps even uncanny?–fantasy about a seamstress in a war-torn city.

That morning, there was a white rose on my windowsill, and my heart cracked.

I took it inside. I knew well the only things that mattered were that it was a rose and it was white, but I examined it anyway. It had been in full flower recently, but was quickly withering. Several petals were gone; another came off in my hand. The petals wore traces of dirt that browned them, and I wondered if that had been purposeful. A missive of death: white for the bone, earth for the grave. I was probably thinking overmuch.

I plucked the petals into a bowl and washed them, then put them to boil to make a sweet tea. As far as we knew, the armsmen didn’t know our resistance codes, but I didn’t like to leave evidence.

How? I wondered, and chastised myself for wondering. There couldn’t be another message until tomorrow; our communication process came in slow trickles, frustrating but necessary, according to the resistance leaders. I wondered anyway. Throughout the day, as I patched uniforms for the occupying armsmen, and baked bread to bring my neighbor with the broken leg, and scrubbed every floorboard in the house, I wondered: how?

Quick? Painful? Bloody? Horrible? Unlucky? Slow?

How had my brother died?

Uncanny Magazine Issue 43 CoverThe full story will be freely available online on December seventh (I’ll post a link!), but Issue 43 is already available for purchase now.

The first part of the issue is already online. There are some great writers for you to peruse now:

That Story Isn’t the Story” by John Wiswell

For Want of Milk” by Grace P. Fong

The Stop After the Last Station” by A. T. Greenblatt

I hope you enjoy the issue, and I look forward to being able to share my story online, too!

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