The Lowdown

Hi. My name is Uche. I write mostly science fiction and fantasy with a healthy dash of romance. Here’s what I’ve published so far:

Recent Stories

Emery Ink

Your brain will feel so heavy, the witch had said, in whispers. You will know everything you need to know.

Supposedly, the spell was simple. An old witch sold me the ink—pure, she’d assured me, ground down from emery bones. When I opened the jar, it stank like nothing I have ever smelled, and suddenly the spell seemed a lot less simple.

The instructions were clear: buy the emery ink, boil it, eat it, then bask in your gained knowledge. Your brain will feel so heavy, the witch had said, in whispers. You will know everything you need to know.

I almost broke when the smell filled my borrowed kitchen, seeping into the worn cupboards and silk-smooth tile floor. I closed my eyes, trying to steady myself, trying to accustom myself to the stench. By the time I thought to open my eyes, I was so overwhelmed that I expected to see that the inky smoke had blackened the air within.

Everything around me, however, was just fine. The yellow curtains behind the sink were just as ugly as they had been a moment ago. The saucepan the ink was bubbling in could have been mistaken for a pan full of watery dark chocolate, except for the stench.

The flame beneath the pot died. Smothered, I thought, by the smell. The cool wood of the pan’s handle shifted in my sweating fingers as I poured the ink into a waiting cup. The ink steamed as it slopped in, and the smell hit me again, like a blow to the head.

Shaking, I set the pan down on the stove. The ink shifted as I caught up the cup, eager to have this over with, eager to know.

It was like drinking gray water. A trickle of steaming ink escaped the cup, burning past my lips and staining my chin.

The cup ended. When I dropped it, it was as dry as if the ink had never been, ink that was cool on my face, amazingly so. I touched the drying spot on my chin, and knew the day the emery bird had died. I touched my cheek, and saw the moment of my death.

I smiled.

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