3 of 5 stars.
This tale melds a couple folk tropes, that of a lady waiting for a love to return from away at sea and that of a lady spurned and replaced by a new love, with a subtle shading of Lovecraft’s Innsmouth where some humans have morphed into sea-beings. The mash-up rightly downplays the Lovecraft to mere evocative local color in favor of the speaker’s growing desperation at losing her love to the lighthouse keeper’s daughter. The forthcoming wedding consumes her thoughts:
And so, as the sun sizzled and burnt, day after day, I burnt inside with anger, seeing them coo and prepare for the great event. Not a thought was spared for me. It was as though I had disappeared and did not exist. It was as though I had not been paraded in similar fashion three years ago, wearing a veil made from fishermen’s nets, a veil decorated with starfish and urchins.
The tale builds much like a folk song, with repetition and escalation as the speaker sends notes out to sea to her love marked with her blood drawn by her own hand. As the emotions grow from confusion to sadness to desperation, the cuttings go from 1 to 3 to 5 slashes drawing blood in self-sacrifice/self-mutilation. And still, she is not satisfied . . .
This tale appears in Whispers from the Abyss edited by Kat Rocha. I received this new anthology directly from 01 Publishing through bookreviewdirectory.wordpress.com. I’d previously read this author’s “In the House of the Hummingbirds”.
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