Beth Lumen (she/her/hers) has been writing both fan fiction and original fiction forever, and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to this anthology as her first published work. She’s written in various book and TV fandoms since the mid-2000s, most recently for queer contemporary novels. In addition to reading and writing happy gay love stories, Beth loves volleyball, traveling, hiking, and making a mess in the kitchen. She lives in St. Paul, MN with her lovely partner and the two best dogs.
Story Title: Breaking Bread
tags: agender character, angst (mild), fraught family dynamics, iceland, merpeople, off-screen death of a parent, politics, pov third person limited, speciesism
The swim to the bakery always felt long when she was running late. Adla broke to the surface of the water, scanning the shoreline. The serving counter, built from dark ocean stone, jutted out of the sand, oddly tall, with rows and rows of drawers and serving displays to keep the baked goods protected depending on the varying tides. Tables for patrons dotted the shoreline. On calm days, water lapped at their feet, nicely warmed by the volcanic gasses burbling up through the sands. But, on days like today, water crashed over the tables, leaving only the bravest humans to laugh and shriek as they attempted to eat their bread and scones. The rest complained, having driven hours to experience the marbendlar bakery, yet too scared to enjoy the bread how it was meant to be enjoyed—damp with salt water. It was fine dry, Adla supposed, but if the point of visiting was to experience life like a marbendlar, she didn’t understand why they clung so strongly to their own cultural norms.
A high, clear laugh skimmed over the surface of the water, drawing Adla’s eyes. There Saeunn stood on the black sand shore in the shadow of the nearby volcano, her skin glacier-pale, with a long shock of dark hair and legs that went on and on. Adla was accustomed to seeing legs, now, but she always needed an extra moment when it came to Saeunn’s to ponder how someone could possibly move with such graceful ease despite such disproportionate anatomy.
Will Adla get the chance to learn more about those fascinating legs? Back our Kickstarter, get the book, and you can read all about it!