Posts Tagged ‘Sylvia Anna Hivén’

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Cast of Wonders 108: The Cardinals of Ever-June


The Cardinals of Ever-June

by Sylvia Anna Hivén

I put up with much when I was a boy. I had no choice, really, because I was orphaned at the age of eight, and an orphan has less of a voice than a mute.

I had no say when my sister and I were shipped off to a poor-house, run by a cruel man. I accepted that I had to work most of my waking hours and face hard fists if I refused. I endured the lice-infested beds, watery broths and poverty seeping into my very pores. That’s just the way life was. But no matter how much I could withstand, I couldn’t accept a life of misery for my little sister. This is the story of how in order to save her, I let her die.

Hearing me say that might leave you cold. I won’t blame you if it does. But in the end, when you’ve heard the whole story, I still hope you’ll find it in your heart to say a prayer for me.
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Cast of Wonders 101: Custom Made


Custom Made

by Sylvia Anna Hiven

The first time it happened was with a button.

It was gold and shaped like an acorn, and snapped loose from a man’s overcoat as he bumped into Valenka on the street. Clattering into the gutter, it came to a stop against her scuffed boot.

Valenka hadn’t experienced much magic in her life—only gray days spent tugging at sleeves for coins. Still she understood that something special happened when she picked up the button. All the walls of her mind fell away, and into her head, accompanied by the chilly Prague breeze, swept the man’s past.

That man is good, she thought, holding the button in her little fist. He has a wife and two daughters whom he kisses goodnight each day. He kissed another woman once, but only once, and he regrets it still. He gives coins to a lame man in Petrin Hill Park on Sundays. And he loves God. Yes, the owner of this button is a good man.

After that, it happened more frequently. People’s pasts came to her uncalled as she brushed against shoulders in the market, or when she picked up someone’s forgotten glove in an eatery. When she was seventeen and found employment as a seamstress in Dvorak’s Tailor Shop, it became an unavoidable part of her life. Each piece of silk had a story to tell, and each strip of macrame whispered a past. Valenka learned about grief through black funeral gowns, and understood the meaning of passion as she mended ripped lace blouses. Lives, although she did not live them, passed before her eyes.

Mostly, experiencing memories was effortless and her ability showed her everything there was to know. Other times, the past only seeped into her mind in elusive glimpses. But never had Valenka seen someone’s future.

Not until she touched the hem of a murderer.
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