The Beast that Laid the Crystal Eggs

My short story appears in Aurealis Magazine, edition #103.

Beast

Artwork by Dion Hamill (www.dionhamill.com)

It was inspired by an Instagram post by Australian author, Alan Baxter, in which he had captured a row of large round bales of hay in a paddock at the bottom of a hill. He captioned it with a line about how they were like eggs, speculating on what sort of beast might have laid them there. It was a familiar scene to me, having grown up in rural Victoria, and so my mind set to working. That was some time ago now.

As the story was percolating in my head I was also hearing about my maternal grandmother’s experience. She was a Sydney girl who fell in love with a soldier returned from World War II. My grandfather’s service granted him the opportunity for a settlement on a dusty patch of dirt up by the Murray River, and so my grandmother found herself out on a red-dust vineyard, far from the city, with five children under five and few modern conveniences. I wondered about how that experience had shaped her, and how it had shaped her children, and how the strength of her will had been passed down through generations.

These ideas coalesced around an ambiguous setting, a rural Australia in which a strange beast and a headstrong girl might meet one night in a rain-soaked paddock.

If you’d like to check it out and support Aurealis (a great Australian SFF publication) you can purchase it for a couple of bucks here. It sits alongside a cool debut ‘AirBnB for bodies’ story by Mitchell Salmon and the tale of a brand-aware Superhero by Brian C Baer. You’ll need a (free to register) Smashwords account.

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