A Quintana dos Mortos in Love
By Rosemary Thorne
Click here to listen to this story on the Kaidankai podcast.
He had crossed A Quintana dos Mortos at the same place and the same time for years, yet he had never seen that woman before. Dressed in white light, she was sensually laid down on the magnificent stone floor. Almost levitating, her feminine figure created an absorbing and mesmerizing visual. Those huge and primeval slabs covered the plaza generously from the nunnery to the back side of the cathedral, creating the most enchanting atmosphere. La Berenguela, the watch tower, oversees it knowingly. Her bells had just struck midday, composing a supernatural echo that liquefied the surface of the sturdy old pavement just for an instant.
She was so alluring in her pearly dress that he couldn’t feel but smitten. A bright magnetic field originated from her, and he couldn’t, and wouldn’t, avoid its embrace. He descended the stairs with stars in his eyes, and approached her in a direct and candid manner. “My name is Jonathan. And yours?” She welcomed him as if he were her sweetheart. She pronounced a distorted sound, but by the power of the stones, her utterance was turned into a name he had always loved, Mina. Had his name been Tristan, he would have heard Isolde. And if Dante, Beatrice.
Whatever this eerie creature said, it was transformed into exactly what he expected to hear. They talked all the afternoon, and in the evening they saw together how the blue moon, the one that occurred on August 22nd 2021, rose above the cathedral escorted by Saturn and Jupiter. He was so enchanted he couldn’t see himself away from her soft feather-like presence, carefully caressed by the sparkles she naturally emanated.
Minutes before midnight, the memory of all the chores he had failed to do that day fell on him like a bucket of cold water. He felt overwhelmed but charmed, not at all bad for being so obviously absent-minded. He asked her for a way to reach her in the morning, and she promptly wrote a number on the palm of his hand. Pressing the figures close to his heart he ascended the stairs with intimate joy, not realizing she had just jotted down his own phone number.
As soon as he turned the corner of Via Sacra, the watch tower imposed the witchy hour throughout the entire city and valley. Like tears of white sap she slowly melted down through the pores of the monstrous carcass, thinking of how much she liked ascending to the surface every blue moon to conquer a human. Of all the hobbies a ghost could entertain, infatuation was no doubt her favourite. She took up scaring for a while, but quit because others were more gifted and would cause deeper frights, persistent like lethal wounds. Her snowy eyelids lovingly held images of Jonathan until the contours of our visible world became blurry and non-existent. She descended more and more into the lands belonging to the dead. There she remains, gathered and dreamy like a precious moonstone looking forward to the next blue moon on August 30th 2023.
Rosemary Thorne is a Spanish bilingual writer living in Madrid, Spain, who has spent her entire life producing fiction in her mother tongue, with not much local professional encouragement. That’s why in 2019 she became a HWA member and began to think Horror in English terms. It’s worth mentioning that she was born in 1968, year of shocking revolutions, beautiful women and great red wine, and that’s why she doesn’t give up: she has published her first novel in Spain in December 2021, and her goal for 2022 is to have it translated into several languages and to populate the world with her monsters. Find out more about her: https://linktr.ee/Rosemary_thorne
A SPECIAL, SPECIAL THANKS TO THE JUDGES OF THE HAUNTED HORROR CONTEST:
Catherine A. MacKenzie's
writings are found in numerous print and online publications. She writes all genres but invariably veers toward the dark—so much so her late mother once asked, “Can’t you write anything happy?” (She can!)
She’s published two novels: Wolves Don’t Knock and Mister Wolfe. Two volumes of grief poetry commemorate her late son Matthew: My Heart Is Broken and Broken Hearts Can’t Always Be Fixed. She has also published other books of poetry and short story compilations, all available on Amazon or from her. Her latest publication is an anthology with 75 authors: No One Should Kiss a Frog. She’s also compiling stories for two anthologies about loss. Check her website for submission details - http://writingwicket.wordpress.com
Cathy lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
is a published poet and author of 25 published books. Her stories have been featured on the Kaidankai podcast and by Sweetycat Press, Ravens Quoth Press, Clarendon House Publications, Spillwords, and other publications. She served as Editor for Valkyrie Magazine. She was selected as “Best In Collection” 2023 by Ravens Quoth Press and she also won the Emerald Award for her poem “Dancing Girl” awarded by Sweetycat Press. She prefers writing horror but also writes science fiction, paranormal mystery and fantasy. She lives with her family in Florida.
is Deputy Director for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and Smithsonian Affiliations (SITES | SA), where she provides executive leadership and direction for overall planning, development, and management of SITES | SA programs and activities. She is currently leading the organization in the implementation of a new strategic plan to catalyze public engagement and spark learning, enjoyment, and wonder by connecting the resources of the Smithsonian to a vital network of museums and other educational and cultural organizations. Prior to this role, she served as the Deputy Director for Smithsonian Affiliations and Interim Deputy Director for Exhibits, Finance & Administration for SITES.
Bram Stoker Award nominated author and editor, Douglas Gwilym has been known to compose a weird-fiction rock opera or two. His short story "Year Six" is on Ellen Datlow's recommended reading list for Best Horror 14. He co-edits The Midnight Zone—forthcoming edition, Novus Monstrum, a collection of never-before-seen monsters, featuring original stories by greats, and new voices, in strange, dark fiction. He reads classics of the proto-Weird on YouTube and has been guest staff at Alpha Young Writers workshop. His short fiction appears in LampLight, Lucent Dreaming, Dark Horses, Shelter of Daylight, Tales from the Moonlit Path, Penumbric, Creepy podcast, and Tales to Terrify.
hosts the Kaidankai. She is a journalist and author whose fiction and non-fiction work has appeared in outlets around the world. One of her fondest memories is hanging out summers in a tree or in the back corner of the library reading ghost stories.