OTHER OF BEETLES:
A quarterly publication of stories that interrogate both spirit and flesh.
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.”