from Astrologica: Stories of the Zodiac edited by Allen Ashley, Alchemy Press, 2013.
"Dark Matters" is a literary slipstream short story around the star sign Sagittarius, mixing myth, astronomy, and psychoanalysis.. Read my interview about the story here. Two excerpts from the story are below.
call Me the time that is no time. The scorpion’s already
stung itself and the goat hasn’t started its vulgar,
goatish bounding. For a space, I stand alone. I draw; I aim;
My muscles tremble. Everyone sees My mighty rearing body and
My arrow poised for flight. No-one thinks to wonder what I’m
aiming at. They see My arrow as ambition, aspiration, all
the arrogant little plans they cherish in their arrogant little
Arrows kill. That’s what they’re for. And no, they don’t “kill the self” or any of that prettified New-Agey bullshit that makes a self-indulgent nonsense of what the little two-legs once strained to understand. It’s not about “following your star” or “believing in your dreams”. It’s about death. Specifically, someone else’s. And still, no-one looks where the goddamned arrow is pointing.
An extraordinary thing happens that dawn.
She’d gone home to shower in the mutable purple-skied
light of neither night nor day and, still wired from playing
in the stars, decides to walk back into town for her early
breakfast with Hannah. She lets herself out, fresh and tingling,
into the white of dawn before the sun’s fire. The earth
clutches itself tight and hard with cold; frost holds the
fertile soil in stasis. Port Meadow expands in shimmering
floods, echoing the empty sky, she feels herself teeter in
the fragile cusp between elation and the last of PMT, and
she strides harder. A cantering beat runs alongside the music.
The Port Meadow horses gallop in a herd towards the gate and
swing round in single file to canter alongside her. All of
them have come, speeding past her but more behind them, and
they keep it up all the way to the bridge, like an honour
guard. As she climbs the bridge, they wheel back out across
the meadow. She stands on the apex of the bridge, watching,
and laughs with wonder at it.
She arrives – late, but only by half an hour – and bursts into the steamy fug of St Giles’ café like the sun, saying “So sorry I’m late, but the strangest thing happened, you wouldn’t believe it…”
She stops, brought up by the unexpected sight of a tiny baby nestling in a carry cot. She doesn’t want to see a baby.'