Monday, July 13, 2015

Jackalope Wives, by Ursula Vernon

Apex Magazine, January 2014

A 2015 World Fantasy Award nominee for short fiction.

http://www.apex-magazine.com/jackalope-wives/

A rather foolish young man watches the jackalope wives dancing in the woods near town, and decides he has to have one to marry. Not too long after, he's banging on his grandmother's door, bringing his terrible, tragic mistake to her.

The jackalope wife is caught halfway between rabbit and human. When the young man tossed her rabbit skin into the fire to burn up and keep her human, she screamed in horrible, heart-rending pain, and he snatched the partly burned skin out of the fire.

And the jackalope wife, in desperation rather than thought, put it on.

So the young man, who is self-absorbed and unthinking, but not intentionally bad, has brought her to his grandmother for help. Grandmother sends him away, takes care of the jackalope wife's injuries, and then brings her to some resources her grandson could not have reached.

In the process, we learn long-hidden secrets of this respected grandmother.

It's quiet, moving story, well worth the time to read.

Recommended.