Excerpt from the short story “Persephone’s Library“:
“This morning, I walked up past the new subdivision to the end of the world. Or at least, to the beginning of the end, just at the edge of the mud flats.
It’s deceptive, when you stand there, where the asphalt breaks off in that jaggedy line and the flats begin. They look like they spread out forever, but actually, it’s just a couple of hundred yards. And then the world ends.
They’ve set up patrols along the edge at night, so people don’t wander out there accidentally and fall off. They also try to catch the jumpers when they can, but they don’t always succeed. People still slip through.
Take this morning, for instance. I mean maybe I just got lucky, but there was no-one in sight when I walked up. Even the watchers in the houses along the edge weren’t around. I could’ve just kept right on going and maybe even jumped if I wanted to.
But I didn’t. I just wanted to see the flats.
They look a little like I imagine a beach must have looked, back in the day, except of course there would have been ocean, instead of nothing.“
Persephone’s Library and Other Short Stories is a collection of five stories centered around themes of social dis-integration. They are stories in which things fall apart, and the centre cannot hold. But, rather than the drama and flash of apocalypse, in each of these stories, the end of society as we’ve known it comes not with a bang, but a whimper. The world is changed, and what remains of civilization is left ragged and flailing–the result of forces that the protagonists find inexplicable, even as they struggle to find meaning and build lives in the context of these ravaged landscapes. Stories included are: “Don Coyote de la Merika”, “Jemelle’s Exile”, “Persephone’s Library”, “What Rough Beast?” and “The Talents”.
In “Don Coyote de la Merika”, a young girl, after losing her mother to a violent death at the hands of a roving militia, struggles to survive in the harsh and ravaged land of Merika. She is taken in by Don Coyote, but soon learns that his cool and laid-back exterior conceals secrets and hidden motives. “Jemelle’s Exile” is a sequel story to “Don Coyote”, featuring the same characters six years later.
In “Persephone’s Library”, when a subdivision finds itself literally isolated from the rest of the world, the community bands together under the sway of a charismatic but increasingly sinister leader, while two friends struggle to find explanations for what has happened.
“What Rough Beast?” is set in the same world as Don Coyote. When he learns that his mother is dying, a troubled young man returns from his self-imposed exile and must face down the guilt that caused him to leave the community years before.
Also, “Don Coyote de la Merika”, the first of two novellas in the compilation, is also available for FREE at Smashwords. Readers can get a taste of a full, novella-length story from the collection!