Cicada Song, in a Country since Long Gone

A story about cicadas, death, refugees, and the cost of fleeing a war… A surprisingly hard one to write–I hadn’t expected it to be so personal!

Published in Zombies Need Brains’ The Death of All Things ed. Laura Anne Gilman and Kat Richardson.

On the last evening before they leave the old country, Giang finds Cousin Ly in the courtyard, disconsolately staring at a large, heavy box of sandalwood.

“No space for it?” she guesses.

Cousin Ly grimaces. “No.” She lifts the lid; stares, for a while, at the keepsakes inside: all the remnants of her life before she came to live with Mother and Giang, the faded photographs of her dead mother, the letters her parents wrote to each other when her mother was posted in the provinces, cramped handwriting on rice paper that’s turned opaque and brittle with age. “I’ll have to pack them inside a bag.”

Giang kneels by her side. The air reeks of the smoke of burnt flowers, and in the distance is the thunder of bombs falling over the city of Thu Huong. “Want some help?” she asks.

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