OTHER OF BEETLES:
A quarterly publication of stories that interrogate both spirit and flesh.
EXCERPTS Volume I, Issue III—Spring Equinox MMXX
I. PALM OF SMOKE: An Altar to the Anti-Mother
By Patricia Cram
Two wanderers with the gift of seeing hands open a vein of ore, unleashing mortal consequences.
"Eha let go and crouched down, fingers first, dipping into ancient, gritty red. As her fingers began to ride the primordial silt, she reached up and pulled Se-ahn’s hand. A hunger instantly exploded across their senses—a teeth-baring, tongue-hanging, eyes-rolling hunger that had them each panting, ravenous for blood."
II. THE MENA-GERRHIEAN, PART I: An Apologue
By Heatherlie Allison and Patricia Cram
When a girl is found murdered, two impulsive shapeshifters lust for immediate revenge—with disastrous results to their collective.
"It was of a young familiar—they knew. They could smell the animal hidden in her, and their cycles reflected in tune: when the collective blood broke, it was at first foul and cloying in them all."
III. THE MENA-GERRHIEAN, PART II: A Tale in the Astral
By Patricia Cram and Heatherlie Allison
From the spirit realm, through offering and sacrifice, the shifters atone for lives lost.
"Avenge, Wives. Wake the code. We take all the light you offer on this enduring night of no moon. We lick the blood smoking, the fat glistening. We cup the char of your sacred cleansing. Release the others. Yes, kindred, We take your pyre."
IV. CROSSING SOL by Heatherlie Allison
Assuaging the ache of a grieving lover, a practitioner calls upon ancestral ways, of flesh and blood as medicine.
"Replace me, I say, with the sweeping tongues of The Dead. Of all The Dead, and with all the Love you’ve ever accepted. They will lift him, the Beloved Dead. I know this, and as I spread for him, he says it feels wrong but takes to burying himself anyway. Because he knows how I can resurrect them."
EXCERPTS Volume I, Issue II—Winter Solstice MMXIX
I. 靈: THE THOUSAND-YEAR EGG by Patricia Cram
A small village receives rare bounty from the bottom of a lake.
“Ling brought her incense to her nose. The fragrant smoke spiraled around her, mirroring the shape of the beast. As it masked the stench that had summoned all the villagers to the lake, Ling closed her eyes and sought out the soul of the being on which they would all soon feed.”
II. THE CHILDREN’S TREE by Heatherlie Allison
Tree-as-creator binds her children to perpetual return.
“Tree’s tissues will hold The Children, sculpt their direction. Descending to Root, they will be fed of Earth. Ascending to Branch, they will be lifted to Sun. Here, the portal-fruit flowers; its star-angled blossoms unfold like moon-pale gossamer.”
*Includes digital download of audio component:
Read by Heatherlie Allison with Soundscape by Brad Mowen
III. IXTI XOIHL by Patricia Cram
In need of water, three sisters take their ancient rite to a cave.
“Cave urges its own shadows out to feel the greased pinpricks of theirs. Where black earth-clouds nuzzle, there is pulling. The vibrating sisters draw in, one step closer to mouth of cave.”
IV. REST YE MERRY by Heatherlie Allison
At a crossroads, a scarlet mother-to-be finds revelation in a sacred grove.
“In some ways, the miniscule seemed larger than life, unrestingly. She contemplated. And for certain, this corpse was a hallowed universe of unseen systems. To the fallen, she gave thanks, its flown soul now sainted.”
EXCERPTS Volume I, Issue I—Autumnal Equinox MMXIX
TO DEI: A MORNING RITUAL by Heatherlie Allison
A mortification-of-the-flesh practice unveils an early imprint unorthodox.
“Pang of seed yields to trembling. Endorphins scatter, bring color to vision. Drilling into husk, the rubied blood of Other—No, blood of Mother. He sighs long, shifts to skittish laughter. Her roots, her fruits: all panacea.”
ELIXIRS EIGHT AND WREATHING by Patricia Cram
Resurrection grants animistic union to a band of seers—and terror to their killer.
“She intoned a low, extended wail, a chilling call, bringing her soul and flesh into realignment, howling her purpose into form. The trees shook with birds landing. As she narrowed the miles between her grave and his life, she licked at shadows, ingesting, gleaming.”
THE SACRAMENTALISTS by Heatherlie Allison
An artist purifies her subjects in offering to her lover: Death.
“When I hear the call, my womb contracts in devotional rhythm. Where She spreads, so do I. We are One—maddening as it may be. But the cry of Art runs deep in blood, and Art is a faithful thing.”
PREDATION by Patricia Cram
The bestial encounter you’ve awaited delivers both an end and a new beginning.
“And then the door opens, and the candles you have lit shine upon her exoskeleton. You cannot help but release a shaking moan of assent. She is so much bigger than you imagined, so much sharper, the blades of her edges immense.”