Girl with Ears & Demon with Limp is an experiment in selfpublishing, and it’s also the first part of a series. It came from a simple idea but has grown into its very own story, and I really love it. I’m happy with it and proud of it. I think it does exactly what I wanted it to, so I’m very happy to share it with all of you kind people.
It’s set in the same world as Twilight of the Wolves, but it’s more action oriented and focused on a single event. It’s also intended for a YA audience. It’s about a young girl who is kidnapped and thrown into a surreal castle that expands endlessly. Within the castle, she meets a lame insane man, and together they try to escape the castle and return to the light of the world beyond. Along the way they fight demons and the structure of the castle itself.
The cover art was done by the amazing Jazmyn Mares.
What makes me even more proud of it is that writers I greatly respect have had such amazingly kind things to say about it:
Girl With Ears & Demon With Limp is a fast-paced, surreal rendition of a Medieval tapestry. Set within an infinite castle, from which a young wolven girl and an insane man wish to escape, it’s Kafka turned inside out. And like Kafka, these characters are seeking to make meaning for themselves in a world where meaning has vacated for other lands.
—Christopher Barzak, author of Before & Afterlives
edward j rathke has given us a fable bright with language, an adventure story, a coming-through-pain endurance test – but most of all, a lovely and touching tale about the place two forgotten outcasts make for themselves in the world.
—Amber Sparks, author of May We Shed These Human Bodies
I hope you love it, and I hope you write a review, regardless how you feel. It’s only available on Amazon. I’d love it if you could review it on Amazon or Goodreads. There may be an illustrated paperback version coming in a few months, with more awesome artwork by Jazmyn Mares. I’m even more excited for that.
The redsun woke her and birds sang away her dreams. She came to the window again and saw the calmed world beyond her, so far below, so far away. There was nothing but grass where the man screamed and was eaten last night by the wolves. Her ears flicked and drooped, a pressure round her heart. A sweet groaning reached from the depths of the world and punctured the sky, the tiny hairs of her body standing on end, her tail tight between her legs. Both suns shined but their light corrupted, and from nothing and nowhere came a great winged beast swimming across the sky. The sky tore open along an unseen seam and the beast flew through, the seam closing behind it, the light twisting and creaking round its entrance, but when it was through the sky returned to its normal color and sensation. Pressed against the stone of the castle’s window, she stared at the monstrous thing: darkly colored but ever shifting in hues, an enormous round head with a mouth large enough to swallow the town she was stolen from, wings longer than rivers are wide, its body stretched perhaps hundreds of meters and it bellowed from its gigantic skull, a moaning call terrifying but musical. Sonorous, the sound wrapped round it, pushing against the sky and the world beneath. Its great tail was not like a bird’s but like a fish, long and reaching to a narrow ending where wings fanned from the edge, but never flapped. The beast lumbered across the sky and when it moaned again the seam opened, the light bending and breaking, and from it emerged a smaller beast whose moan was slight against the great beast. Its call like a lullaby, high where the mother’s was low, delicate where the mother’s was monstrous. The little one was perhaps one tenth the size and completely smooth, a faint light blue against the sky. The mother moaned as if speaking from the belly of a mountain, and as it turned away she saw the craggy land sprouting from its back. Rocky and mountainous, covered in grass and trees grown from its back. Trembling, her mouth hanging open, ears low, clutching her tail, she watched the things fade into the distance, the call of the mother stuck in her throat, crumbling her own heartbeat.
Did I not tell you? I tripped through a hole in reality and tumbled past moons and stars and landed here. I crashed into this world but that’s not where I got my limp. But sometimes I don’t even know if that’s still true. My heart beats in a different way since I’ve been gone so long and felt the same. It beats in a different way and my body grows in a missing way, and I miss my world but wonder often if that world I believe was mine is just a memory invented to dream to escape this castle. I’m from a land called Scotland and it feels so real but I no longer know. I used to speak Scottish but I feel like I speak English still, though you understand me. I don’t know if what I speak is the language I believe it is. I’ve been here now longer than I was there but I have not aged. I cannot see myself but if I’ve lived for centuries as I believe I have then I should’ve died long before you were even a twinkle in your ancestor’s eye. It’s possible even that I’m the man you descended from and that’s why you’re here now to save me. I was cursed. I was cursed but I don’t remember for what or why. I know the moons don’t shine on me and the suns burn me. I know the darkness captured me and hopes to kill me someday. I know you’re here and you’re a figment of a dream I once had in another life, in another world. I don’t know, Tao, but I feel so many things that no longer exist. I am a husk of a man and maybe I’m a demon. Maybe I’ve always been and it’s my curse to believe I’m yet human. I do not know, girl with ears, but I belong to you now, and I’ll be your demon with limp, if you like.