By Margo Lanagan
As a part of a public execution, a tender boy forlornly is helping to sing his sister down. . . . A servant learns approximately grace and loyalty from a mistress who might fairly dance with Gypsies than sit down on her throne. . . . A terrifying stumble upon with a demonic angel offers a tender guy the power he must break away of his oppressor. . . . On a bleak and dreary afternoon a gleeful capturing spree results in tragedy for a determined clown not able to flee his fate.In each one of Margo Lanagan's ten notable tales, human frailty is placed to the attempt through the implacable forces of darkish and light-weight, guy and beast. black juice deals glimpses into wide-spread, shadowy worlds that push the limits of the spirit and depart the brain haunted with the data that black juice runs via us all.
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There at the edge of the farmlands spilling along the valley floor, in the golden whirl of the rag-tags’ camp, that’s her dancing, that’s the spinning, sparkling skirt of her. There are other women, of course, but none have cause to move so fiercely. Tiny shouts come up to us, miniature cheers, scrapings of music, fine as crickets’ wheezing. And Mullord pauses. I thought he would cry her name out and rage down the hill, dagger drawn. I thought he’d be set afire by the final sight of her, after all this riding, after all this strife.
Well, he could keep that place to himself; I wasn’t curious. We were just umming and ahhing between the passionfruit mousse and the chocolate salami when a woman called out, ‘Gerald! ’ in a true Big Top voice. Jelly looked past me and wilted. ‘It’s my mum,’ he muttered. ’ He put on a weak smile and stood up. ‘Mother! ’ Ew, the accent on him. ’ She kissed Jelly on both cheeks. She was quite a sight in her stage-pancake and tutu and her auburnised croquembouche hair. And she smelled, too—one of the clean, old, bottled scents, magnolia or something.
Heading for the park. Swilling drink. ’ ‘If I could make it look natural. But you don’t jump two metres sideways in the middle of coughing. He’s okay now, anyway. That’s it, Tat, give him a good thump on the back. ’ Despite that monstrous gob, Jelly’s voice still had major rattles. ‘Tif just hoiked and gobbed in perfect time with you. ’ ‘So they’re in the park? ’ ‘Blow ’em anyway. Let’s finish here and get some dinner. ’ ‘They’re heading for that little glade, with the fountain. ’ ‘You better. ’ He got up and shrugged on his backpack, slapped his pockets.
Black Juice by Margo Lanagan