Here you’ll find merch, Issue #2 story excerpts, interviews, the issue’s Spotify playlist, & links to reviews. So take a look, and make sure you haven’t missed anything!
SO-COMMAND\TEMPLAR-NAVCOM-INFO: All systems functioning within normal parameters
Peacekeeping missions were always the most difficult assignment for Lieutenant Macia Branson. Not that she longed for the combat which had been much of her duty in the Service of the Order, but the reality was that it was still war conditions only with the setting lowered to a slow broil.
The Ouje villagers sat around a fire. Led by one of the church novices, their idols and totems were piled high and lit aflame. Several members pounded out a rhythm that was both mournful and hopeful. The drumming tugged at a part of Macia’s soul, the way an old vidgraph of distant relatives was both familiar and alien.
I was eight years old the first time I spoke to cancer.
It had metastasized and my mother’s belly was swollen with tumors. I took care of her because she needed me, and I needed her, and also because father was always at work or visiting his friends or Aunt Diane.
I tried to feed my mother. I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or sometimes tuna, because I wasn’t allowed to use the stove. She rarely ate more than a bite or two. I used an old halfway-working electric tea kettle, bright copper sparks flashing through its frayed cord, to make cups of tea.
You’re gonna hear things about me. Fabrications. Exaggerations. Tall tales cooked up by deadbeats about my so-called “instability.” About how “depressed” I was. How “uneasy.” Yellow journalism with splashy headlines: Humpty Dumpty Exposed! Tabloid titles with terrible puns: Eggsistential Meltdown!
Don’t believe the hype. It’s all lies, understand? Lies, lies and more lies. Part of the king’s smear campaign to disgrace me. Plain and simple. Was I under pressure? Yes. I can admit that. But I never cracked! So do me a solid, will you? Don’t listen to them. Listen to me.
Let me tell you how it all went down…
Overwhelmed by the intermingled scents of jasmine, wisteria, and gardenia, the girl slammed shut the sash window in her tiny room. The lace-trimmed curtains still reeked of the four-o-clocks that bloomed in the window box the evening before. From the kitchen she could hear the woman –she would NOT think of her as Mother Bea– humming her song as the kettle whistled. The girl knew after the woman had her tea, made weak with milk and sweetened with honey, she would take out the straightening comb and place it on a burner until it glowed a dull red…
The tiny droplets of carbonic acid rain descended onto the crystalline terrain below us softly, soundlessly, almost like they were caressing the planet’s surface, trying to coax it into yielding something; hyaline grass or fractal flowers or vitric worms, perhaps. The rain here is nothing like the rain back home in Lagos, millions of miles and millions of memories away, where heavy grey curtains of cold water attack everything relentlessly, loudly. Everything I remember of Nigeria is stormy and loud.
It was the twenty third of Aries, which meant it was the first of October back on Earth; Independence Day back in Nigeria…
There was a small, dumb bird in the woods today. It sang as though the world wasn’t ending. The rock was cold and sharp in my palm, and the bird long gone by the time the rock hit its perch. But I threw the rock, and I can’t remember if “You might hit the bird!” raced through my mind as a warning, or as encouragement. I raised my eyes to watch its wings clear the tops of the trees and mar the cloudy sky. The cottony sky.
The cottony clouds.
I’ve had a long time to review the sequence of my life…
I pried apart the corpse’s lips, their slackness telling me she’d been dead more than two days, and worked the tip of my finger inside her mouth. It opened enough for me to wedge the funnel in, its tip clinking on her teeth. I tipped my porcelain-lined hip flask—metal was a no-no—to spill the tea into her mouth. She didn’t have to swallow; enough would make its way down for the magic to work. I leaned back from the shallow hole she lay in, my aged joints protesting something fierce, then recapped the hip flask before hiding it away with the funnel inside my stocking. Wasn’t nobody looking up these skirts.
Indie Spotlight – Constance Burris: Our self-published spotlight feature interview for this issue is with Constance Burris. A segment of her novel COAL, can be found in the SPILLING TEA issue of FIYAH.
Quick Sip Reviews: It’s the second issue of Fiyah and the theme this issue is Spilling Tea. Actual tea does feature in a number of the stories, but more than that is a sense of conversation and community…
Pretty Terrible: After reading the first issue of Fiyah, I knew I was going to have to buy the second as soon as it became available—and luckily for me, I only had to wait about a week. For once, my slacking ways have paid off! Now, though, I get to wait along with everyone else for the next one…