At last, my Dread Seasons Quartet – comprising Naked Azure Sky (Summer), The Rustle of Autumnal Leaves (Autumn/Fall), Wisps of Pallid Snow (Winter), & Rainbow Speckled Field (Spring) – is complete.
Today, it was Winter’s turn, as I put together Wisps of Pallid Snow.
There is a very high level of verisimilitude between these four stories, a very high level. I have tried to give each a unique flavour, but the structure is very much the same for each, and they all come in at 500 words (or just over). And of course, the titles are derived from the very last sentence of each.
In the breakdown, I notice some striking themes in these stories. The Spring and Autumn stories feature children (girl and boy respectively). The Summer and Winter stories feature a man and woman. It is all very balanced out.
While the seasons are incarnated, and form the essence of any challenge/creepiness, I realise it is the actions of the main characters that drive the ending.
Hayden and Mindy, (from Autumn and Spring) are cautious. Kids who do not contravene the spirit of the seasons. For instance, while Mindy’s friends are chasing butterflies or picking flowers (i.e. interfering with nature), she makes no impact on her surroundings, and therefore is spared the fate of the others. Similarly with Hayden. Of course, they both may have a few mental scars to bear…
Jake (Summer) is an adventurer setting out to conquer the elements. That in itself is not a big deal, but it’s his arrogance that gets him in trouble, and ultimately sees him pay the price.
On the contrary, Sara (Winter) is angry at her husband’s betrayal, and bears no direct malice to the season, just some indirect invectives. Ultimately the spirit of winter gives her what she wants, but takes away just as much. In a twisted way, her fate could be construed as a reward.
Now, as for submitting these stories, I have already subbed ‘Rustle’ to Ideomancer, but as they have a Jay Lake homage happening at the moment(yeah, he had the foresight to do a 12-part series, not a 4-part one like me! And yes, like on their discussion board, I honestly don’t ‘get’ most of his stuff, it comes down to the rant I had about Chizine’s contents about a month ago [somewhere in the April archive I’m sure]), the story may be rejected. They certainly spun Practical Joke out quick enough.
My plan is, if Ideomancer accept Rustle, then I’ll send the other 3 to them. If not, I’ll send the 4-set to Amazing Stories in the US. If that fails, I’ll try Weird Tales (once I hear on the progress of Hear No Evil).
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