Saturday, July 16, 2016

Excerpt from "Confinement" by Kenneth Schneyer

This week's excerpt is from "Confinement", by Kenneth Schneyer.

He stood motionless in a cream-colored suit, frozen as he bent to pay a seated news seller, but his head jerked up and he glared into her face as if Tamara’s glance had pulled him on a string. His golden hair, twisted back out of his face, glinted fiercely in the merciless sun. His skin was polished and sallow, yet with a blush at the cheeks, small mouth and smaller, down-pointing nose. Delicate, impossibly delicate hands. He stared at her, unsmiling, appraising, ruthless, taking the breath out of her. She almost stopped, almost acknowledged him; then she hurried on.
That was the first time.
On the first chill day of autumn he appeared again, at the blustery Saturday farmer’s market near the North End, as Tamara was looking for apples. His thin, strong fingers stacked pomegranates on a table, a white-and-gold apron constraining him. The cool air made his skin look waxen; the breeze did not stir his hair.
He looked up from the red-spackled fruit and said, “You are well-favored.” She thought his voice was masculine, but only barely so, and she had the irrational feeling that he hadn’t actually made a sound; when she tried, later, to recall the timbre of that voice, nothing came.
Again his face was solemn, intent, imperious; his eyes burned into her. She could not answer, but turned away and went to find, instead of apples, some bitter watercress or radishes. When it came time to pay the other vendor for them, as far from the golden man as she could manage, involuntarily she looked back in his direction. He wasn’t there.

Kenneth Schneyer received a Nebula nomination, and was a finalist for the Sturgeon Award, in 2014. His stories appear in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, the Clockwork Phoenix series, all three Escape Artists podcasts, and elsewhere. By day, he teaches humanities and legal studies to undergraduates in Rhode Island.


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