There was a time when Arianne could not see over the rows of her father’s grapevines. At the height of the summer the vineyard became a vast maze and she would follow her mother, watching her taste the grapes, her skirts swaying as she walked, a fine haze of dirt collecting on their hems. The world then was black soil and green life and her mother striding ahead, head held high, lips and fingers stained crimson from the juices.
All of that was years ago. Yet there are days when Arianne goes far into the rows, searching for anyplace where the leaves are green and dense still, where the fruit grows plump, not mildewed and shriveled. When at last she finds a patch she goes down on her knees in the dirt until she can see nothing but blushing fruit and green leaves and the blue sky above.
L.S. Johnson was born in New York and now lives in Northern California, where she feeds her cats by writing book indexes. Her stories have appeared in such venues as Strange Horizons, Interzone, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, and Year's Best Weird Fiction. Vacui Magia: Stories, is her first collection. Find her online at traversingz.com.
About the Narrator:
Josie Babin was lucky to grow up with wizards and fey mentors and hobbits and fawns for companions. Keeping her head in the clouds allowed her to always be looking up and out and ahead, leading to an over-developed curiosity that she freely indulges to this day. As a grown up, she gets to play in the ever curious sandbox of medical science, on a quest to cure evil diseases. In her spare time she can be found keeping company with the San Diego sun or tormenting her two cats with attempted belly rubs."