An excerpt from "Black Silk":

Three black shapes move on Emma's dining room wall, serpentine bodies with spines that swing like lethargic silverfish.  They arrange themselves into filigree designs against the cranberry paint.  They are the Aal.

Cilia pulsate in waves down the sides of the Aal.  Emma watches, motionless.  Even as her mind tells her to smash them and run, her muscles relax and her body wilts into the nearest red velvet chair.  The undulating hair gives the design a haloed effect and Emma thinks of snake angels, terrible and beautiful.  Unknowable.

A need fills her.  She must make note of the creatures' design, to feel it flow out from her own fingers so she will understand.  Her sketch pad is in the other room.  Her charcoals are in her hand.

The pulsing of the cilia slows as Emma draws, allowing her to see the translucent hairs that run down either side of each sinuous body.  Two creatures branch from a single stem.  The third is by itself, a black silk rope that has begun to fray.  The pattern reminds her of Turkish writing, or a piece of ancient lacework pulled out of context.

As she finishes her drawing, the cilia move faster again and Emma feels a deep sense of pleasure, as if the room is filled with praise for her.  She draws another and the pleasure grows.  She fills her sketchpad and sets up her easel.  She paints until her arms will move no more, then drifts into a sated sleep.  She is barely ten feet from the silent motion of the Aal.


About the Anthology:

A Collection of Short Stories Inspired by Works of Art. Paintings, sketches, sculpture, fiction, film, music, photographs, graffiti. 38 new stories from 38 writers.

38 writers, 38 stories – each inspired by different works of art, and 38 images – inspired by each story, and created by Marcolina Design, Inc. Edited by Stephen Soucy.