Once upon a time, in a valley in Lower Saxony just south of Meppen town, there lived an old woman and her two grandchildren.
Helene had been a weaver in her younger days, but over the years the damp of the fens had stolen into her joints, twisting her fingers until they grew as gnarled and useless as the roots of the scrubby trees that crowded the river bank.
Katarin and Klaus had come north with the Spring floods, refugees from the labor pains that accompanied the birth of French democracy. Their father had gone off to fight Napoleon, and their mother, always sickly and lovelorn, wasted away for want of him.
• Narrated by Katherine Inskip
• Audio production by Jeremy Carter
• Banned Books Weeks 2016 photograph courtesy of Jeremy Carter
• A Cast of Wonders original!
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Shannon Connor Winward is the author of Undoing Winter from Finishing Line Press. Her poems and stories appear in Analog, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Star*Line, Flash Fiction Online, The Pedestal Magazine, Gargoyle and PANK, and have been nominated, placed, or earned mention for many nifty awards. In between writing, parenting, and other madness, Shannon is also an officer for the Science Fiction Poetry Association, a poetry editor for Devilfish Review, and founding editor of Riddled with Arrows Literary Journal (set to debut in early 2017). Learn more on her website.
Katherine Inskip, assistant editor of Cast of Wonders, teaches astrophysics for a living and spends her spare time populating the universe with worlds of her own. She is addicted to chocolate and Japanese logic puzzles. You can follow her on Twitter or her website.
Learn more about Stop Hate and their work to challenge all forms of hate crime and discrimination based on any aspect of an individual’s identity.
Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.