4 of 5 stars.
Magic runs in Elizabeth’s family. Her father has it; she has it. But, their relationship has been contentious going back to at least when her mother died. Now Elizabeth is ready to get out of the house and out from under her father despite still being a teen. There are too many emotional memories littering the homestead. Literally.
Elizabeth’s magic mainly arises at times of heightened emotion spawning an Echo–an echo of herself trapped at the age of spawning and in the emotion that precipitated the spawning. Each Echo is a form of Elizabeth sharing her name. Bethie, aged 6, usually hangs out by the stream. She’s bubbly and optimistic, spawned on a particularly great birthday. Eliza, aged 13, stalks the front porch. She’s angsty as to be expected at her stage of development. Elizabeth usually avoids Elly who stays hidden under the dining room table. She’s from the day Elizabeth’s mother died. But today, Elizabeth is seeking them all out: Libby, Betty, Liz. She is saying goodbye to those that remain, as many have faded from memory and existence.
And then a stranger appears that strongly resembles Elizabeth’s mother . . .
The concept and writing of this short story is haunting and brilliant. The story is illustrated by artist contest winner Megan Kelchner. As a quarterly short story contest winner, “Half Past” merited inclusion in the anthology Writers of the Future Volume 31 by L. Ron Hubbard. I received the anthology through Net Galley.
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