Blindness, fiction by Dimitra Nikolaidou

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“Sometimes you do a thing because it is the only arrow you have left in your quiver. You do it, not because you have a brilliant plan, but because if you do nothing your soul withers and dies.”

“I NEVER THOUGHT it would be her.”

Plato’s grandmother said the same thing every time they opened the window. She had been blinded early on in the days of the new regime, when taking the eyes of artists was more common than the rain. The violence had also taken most of her words away. And yet, every time the shutters unlatched, this single sentence emerged, to float in the air between them.

Plato glanced at his grandmother, then turned towards the small part of the city square still visible among tall buildings, weighted clotheslines, and rusted antennae. The statue of the masked woman was the only shade of white in a sea of dirty concrete.

Almost a thing of beauty.

Plato lay against the windowsill, looking down. His grandmother could not mean any of the passersby. Every woman walking in the street looked the same, the bones of their faces twisted to form the exact same flower-like mask. Hands covered under gloves, clothes of a similar cut—even his own healthy eyes had trouble telling strangers apart. The policewoman on the corner was not the same one as yesterday, judging by her height and the way her uniform fit her.

No, Grandmother had to mean the statue. Brave Lady Manya, the first to free herself from the tyranny of beauty that had held all women captive before the new regime took over and elevated them—whether they wanted it or not. Read more »

Cover Reveal, See the Elephant Issue 4, Beyond Death

Letter from the Editor

Another year, another issue! I started this magazine intending to do two per year. Now, festooned with a multitude of hats, I am grateful for the time to do one. Such is life, which evolves as it grows—we all know that. But what about death? My culture of origin, Anglo-America, isn’t so good at addressing that side of the equation. And here we are, still gobbling resources and burning fossil fuel like there is no tomorrow. Like there is no end to our empire. Like there is no death.

But, deep down, we all know that isn’t true. The blazing certainties of summer inevitably give way to the dusky meditations of fall. Contemplating death, whether of our bodies, our eco-system, or our culture requires humility. It requires time for reflection. It requires courage.

The old traditions of Europe hold that the veil between the living and dead is thinner on October 31st, a belief that has devolved into Halloween, where children dress up and demand candy, and adults dress up and get drunk. In Mexico, my adopted culture, the rituals honoring death remain a bit more intact. Many people celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, by holding parades and festivals, going to visit their ancestors in cemeteries, and creating shrines where they offer bread, skull candies, and flowers. Katrinas, such as those on the cover of this issue, provide blunt and fearless reminders of what lies beneath the temporary skin of our human existence.

I am pleased that Issue 4 of See the Elephant features more international stories than ever before, from a diverse group of authors. As is our custom, the stories run the gamut from serious to whimsical, literary to fantastic.

Here in the Western Hemisphere of North America, ’tis the season to curl up by a fire with a good read, contemplate the change of seasons—and the delicious possibilities presented by death, the ultimate change. Join us, if you dare.

 

With Gratitude,

Melanie Lamaga

 

See the Elephant, Issue 4, Beyond Death will be available for purchase later this month … stay tuned for a sneak peek story here on the website!

To request a review copy, email editors@metaphysicalcircus.com.