short stories

Eating Hearts

“It’s about not seeing,” Chuan explained to her just after he brought the meal to the table. “The perfect magician is all-blind, all-unknowing. No sound reaches a wall to wake an echo; no touch bridges distance.” He leaned back against the wall where, Horanga imagined, the cloth of his shirt hung over the hollow curve of his back. He lived in a house in the city, by the river, and long ago the sound of fish swimming endlessly in that river would have distracted her from her purpose.

Fantasy. This is loosely based on Korean folklore/legend (those who speak Korean or know a particular foundation myth will find one of the names a dead giveaway). Despite the title, it’s not gruesome. Thanks to Rilina, Jacqueline A. Lott, and my sister. Dedication: to the tigers in my family. F&SF June 2005, also reprinted in Year’s Best Fantasy #6, ed. David Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer and Best New Fantasy, ed. Sean Wallace. And finally, reprinted in Korean translation in Fantastique 2007 vol. 1.