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Today is Friday, April 1st, 2022.
We have come to the end of CHROMOPHOBIA‘s table of contents showcase. And what a fitting end we’ve been given! Poetic, colorful, macabre, yet hopeful… this is as good a closer to this anthology as we could have ever hoped for.
by Nu Yang
On cold nights, Death sat on rooftops and peered into the windows that belonged to nameless living souls. Families settled into their beds. Couples made love on clean sheets. Hungry children crept down the stairs for a late-night snack. Like the living was obsessed with death, Death was obsessed with the living.
It was during those nights when he first saw the Outsider. The girl walked like the living, she breathed like one, but she was missing the color of a soul. Time for Death was infinite, and in all his time, he had never once met anyone like her.
The girl was young, still a teenager. Her hair was the color of straw and her eyes, blue, but they were as dark as a storm and outlined with heavy black eyeliner. She walked with a boy her age. Each step she took had a bounce and a skip to it. Their arms were wrapped around their waists. She smiled and laughed, her head resting on the boy’s shoulder. The dark-haired boy radiated a mixture of silver and gold. There was so much life there.
Death descended from the rooftop and fell in step with the girl and boy. They walked for a few more minutes before they stopped in front of a house. The boy leaned forward, but the girl giggled and turned her head away. The boy reached out for her, grabbing her arm, and anchoring her to him. She tugged again and freed herself. They separated, and the girl walked into her home. Death followed.
The girl greeted her parents, who were waiting up to hear about their daughter’s date. She dismissed them with a wave of her hand and went into her room. There, Death watched as she called someone on her phone. That evening she spent hours talking about the boy, letting the words “love” and “forever” slide easily off her tongue. As she spoke, she laughed. There was enough life in that sound to make Death wonder if her soul was indeed missing a color.
Even though Death knew of the existence of the Outsider, he was not going to let her distract him of his duties.
Death had wings the color of a radiant sunset on a summer day. He wore white like his other comrades, but that was where the comparisons ended. He performed a duty unlike the Guardians: the protectors of life, and the Cherubs: the messengers. He often had to remind himself his duties were just as necessary as theirs.
While he waited for his next assignment, he observed the living souls.
The toddler taking her first steps illuminated a golden yellow. Her proud and smiling mother sparkled like a clear ocean’s reflection. The man riding his motorcycle charged down the street. He was a vibrant red; the color streaked past a car that had just run through a stop sign. He had no time to react. He jumped the curb, and his motorcycle came onto the sidewalk. The front tire crushed the toddler beneath him. The mother’s screams, sprinkled with colors, exploded from inside her.
Death slid through the colors and emerged on the other side. The little girl’s yellow glow began to fade. Her cries were filled with pain and confusion. He granted her wish for mercy by touching her bleeding head. Her chest rose, then fell. The color around her diminished, so did her cries. He gathered her into his arms. Here, she was still golden.
A quietly powerful rumination on life and death, told beautifully by Nu Yang, “Elegy” ponders the colors of a human life, and what a lack of color could possibly mean. This short story tackles an immense narrative in but a handful of pages, and does so masterfully. “Elegy” will stick with you.
Nu Yang’s experience as a journalist and editor certainly pays off in her fiction. You can read more about her work and accomplishments via her website, HERE. Count us among her fanbase. We certainly look forward to whatever comes next.
And that, as they say, is that. Twenty-five short stories previewed over the course of five straight weeks. CHROMOPHOBIA is simply teeming with talent. How incredibly proud we are of this book. Sara Tantlinger has far exceeded our expectations with this assembly of horror fiction. We very much look forward to seeing and hearing what readers think.
Over the course of April, we will begin showcasing the artwork (exclusive to the hardcover edition), as well as the introduction by Tantlinger. We will have a full jacket wrap to show you, too. And, perhaps, some looks at the realities of producing a book like this from the perspective of an indie publisher.
There are three months left to pre-order our hardcover edition of CHROMOPHOBIA. A trade paperback will be released later in the year. We do not as yet have plans on releasing an e-book version of the anthology.
If you missed previous CHROMOPHOBIA showcases, just scroll through and click a title:
Pre-order the special hardcover edition of CHROMOPHOBIA HERE.
Check out part four of editor Sara Tantlinger’s CHROMOPHOBIA roundtable HERE.
Thanks so much for your support. It means a lot to us, but more importantly, it means a lot to these authors.