The Hungry Ghosts

“We aren’t here,” Lindsay said. “We’re just echoes of ourselves. Shadows.”

Kate watched Lindsay thrust her arm into the pedestal of one of the lion statues. Like the rest of her, the arm appeared solid, but when she pushed it into the stone it went in as if she–or the statue–were only a projection.

“If I still existed, I’d be able to feel that,” Lindsay said. Her brown eyes were rimmed with thick black liner, and she wore a navy hooded sweatshirt with “#Resist!” scrawled across the front in white fabric paint.

Whether she existed or not, listening to Lindsay made Kate tired. “If you didn’t exist,” Kate said, “you wouldn’t notice that you didn’t feel anything.”

“Consciousness is an illusion even when you’re alive,” Lindsay said. “It’s been proven by science.”

“So,” said Vicki, floating a few steps higher, “how do you know that you don’t feel anything? Maybe you’re deceiving yourself when you think that you can’t feel your arm going into the stone.”

When Lindsay didn’t answer, Vicki laughed. Vicki’s laugh always made it sound like she was delighted with whomever she’d been talking to, never mocking. “Watch out! I lived with a philosophy professor for five years.”

“When was that?” Kate asked. Like her and Lindsay, Vicki had been living alone when she died.

Vicki didn’t answer right away, giving Kate time to regret the question. She always asked either too much or too little.

“Until four years ago,” Vicki said at last. “He died of a heart attack.”

While Kate was trying to mumble an apology for having brought the subject up, Lindsay burst in with her usual tact. “When you say ‘lived with,’ you mean you two were a couple, right? Do you ever wonder what he’s doing now?” Ghosts could only see and hear others who had died within a few days of them. Those who died farther apart saw each other as increasingly indistinct apparitions, and those whose deaths had occurred more than a week apart could not perceive one another at all.

“It has crossed my mind,” Vicki said.

“Really?” Lindsay seemed not to hear the dryness in Vicki’s voice. “See, I think dying has been easier for me than for you two, because I didn’t have any false expectations about what the afterlife would be like. I thought we’d just, like, die, and there would be nothing.”

“How is that not a false expectation?” Kate asked. “Is that what happened?”

“Fuck you!” Lindsay said. “At least I didn’t think I was getting into heaven for not having sex with my boyfriend.”

Kate couldn’t even count the number of times she had tried to explain to Lindsay that her relationship with God was not quid pro quo, but Lindsay seemed unable to grasp any worldview outside her own narrow experience.

“See, I knew religion was crap even before I died and stayed right here,” Lindsay said. “You must feel pretty stupid now.”

Kate unfolded her limbs and stretched into an upright position, hovering inches above the floor. “The only time I feel stupid is when I realize I’ve wasted another hour listening to you.”

A few people had ventured out onto the wide plaza in front of Trinity Church, most wearing surgical masks over their noses and mouths even though the worst was over. The shopping center across the street still showed signs of looting, but the broken glass had been trucked away. A few of the shops seemed to have re-opened; Kate saw two prospective bargain hunters walk through the large hole where the doors had been. A uniformed security guard eyed them with suspicion, but let them pass. Like the people on the plaza, the shoppers and the security guard were careful not to get too close to one another, careful not to touch.

Be thankful you can still touch each other! Kate wanted to yell out at them. But they wouldn’t have heard.

The Shouters had started up again. From outside the library, Kate could hear the ones all the way over at the Christian Science church.

“Our place! Our place! Stay away! Stay away!” About thirty Shouter ghosts had laid claim to the Christian Science library and its three-story globe map of the world. Another gang had taken over the Museum of Fine Arts, and one or two hundred occupied Fenway Park.

It didn’t make a lot of sense. But who wanted to stay in their own house watching their bloated corpse decompose? Or watch people they loved doubled over coughing up blood; or worse, surviving on their own?

Kate wasn’t sure where her body was. Collectors had come four days after her death to take it away to some makeshift morgue, and she hadn’t been able to float quickly enough to follow the truck.

Across the river, past tall, wood-framed multifamily houses, along streets still eerily quiet, Kate drifted, giving a wide berth to the small gallery exhibiting two of her paintings. When she reached her destination, the familiar triple decker with its cracked paint and splintering steps, she hesitated. She shouldn’t be here.

Inside, a baby was crying. More faintly, she could hear the familiar jangle of strings, the scratch of distortion.

Kate passed through the front door and willed herself up the staircase to the third level, passing the apartment with the crying baby on the second. She hadn’t known Shane’s downstairs neighbors; maybe she had passed them on the stairs once or twice.

Shane sat on the edge of the couch, hunched over his guitar. Kate felt a sudden, selfish bubble of disappointment. If only he had died soon enough after her, they could have been reunited. Never to touch one another again, true; but it would have been better than nothing.

Stray copper strands glinted in the sunlight as his brown hair fell over the side of his face. Standing next to him, Kate reached out to push it away, but her hand went right through him.

And yet, was that a faint shudder, a sigh of recognition? Shane’s hands seemed to falter on the strings. A moment later, he stopped playing and leaned his instrument between the couch and end table.

“Shane?” Could he hear her? Kate hardly dared to hope. Everything she had seen and heard in the three weeks since death confirmed that nothing the dead could do had any effect on the physical world, or on the living. But maybe, just maybe, if will and emotion were strong enough…?

Shane slouched deeper into the couch, his long legs stretched out under the coffee table, his face listless.

“Shane?” Once more, Kate tried to touch him, leaning over from behind, trying to rest her hands on his shoulders. She breathed in the scent of his hair, almost drowning in it. But once more, her hands passed through him as if he were made of air.

“You can drive yourself crazy doing that,” said Vicki’s voice from behind.

Kate yanked her hands away. “Yes,” she said, with forced lightness, “but would I really be crazy, or only think I was?”

Vicki laughed. She floated closer, her Birkenstock-clad feet about four inches above the floor. Ghosts had no conscious control over what they wore in the afterlife, and Kate was glad that her own subconscious had not dressed her in such an unflatteringly sack-like sundress. It made Vicki look heavier and dowdier than she really was. Whereas Kate’s expensive jeans and close-fitting black top of variously textured fabrics accented her slight curves and marked her as someone who cared about the face she presented to the world.

“This is your ex-boyfriend?” Vicki said. “The one you told us about?”

“Yeah.” They were silent for a few moments, watching Shane. At one point he reached for his guitar, but then changed his mind and picked up the TV remote instead.

“You know,” Vicki said, “after I died, I spent the first four days at a friend’s house, trying to make her notice me. I jumped up and down and waved my arms, I tried to put my hands through her head. I even shouted, as loud as I could, once for an entire hour.” Her lips twitched with amusement. “I was lucky no Shouters came by to challenge me.”

Kate did not smile. “Did your friend ever see you?”

“It’s not easy to say. I kept convincing myself she had. She looked up a couple of times, right after I’d done something to get her attention, and once it seemed like she was looking straight at me. But now, thinking back….” Vicki shrugged. “I think I saw what I wanted to see.”

Kate glanced around the living room, craning her neck to look into the kitchen. The apartment was a mess, unwashed mugs and dirty clothes everywhere. There was no sign of Shane’s roommate. Kate’s painting still stood in its corner, propped against the wall. She didn’t know whether to be happy that he still kept it out, or resentful that their breakup had meant so little to him that he could stare every day at a picture she had painted and not be overwhelmed by grief.

“Is it okay if I ask what happened?” Vicki said.

It felt uncomfortable to be talking about Shane while he was in the room. “He didn’t break up with me because I wouldn’t have sex with him, no matter what Lindsay thinks. I was the one who broke up with him.”

True, technically, but it left out a lot. The long silence when Kate first told him she wasn’t willing to have sex until she was married. The sudden spark of anger that flashed in his eyes every so often when she would finally pull away from his roaming hands. Lying awake worrying about when he would decide to abandon his experiment with celibacy and move on. The fear of losing him had been making her physically ill, affecting her work at the office, sucking her dry of inspiration when she tried to paint. It had seemed that the only way to be free of the fear of losing him was to walk away.

Vicki’s eyes were the same shade of brown as Lindsay’s, but hers were sympathetic instead of mocking. “Did you love him?”

Shane was watching a music video and mumbling along with the lyrics under his breath. The corners of Kate’s mouth lifted. He couldn’t carry a tune to save his life.

“Yeah,” Kate said. “I did.”

She had never told him so. Don’t say it until he says it first, all her friends counseled, and she hadn’t, afraid to stretch out a hand where there might not be one to receive it.

On their way out, Vicki paused on the landing outside the second floor apartment. The baby was still crying.

“We can’t do anything,” Kate cautioned. “Maybe we don’t want to know what’s wrong with it.” Children made her uncomfortable, and the smaller they were the less she liked them.

Instead of answering, Vicki floated through the door. Kate followed.

The infant was in one of the bedrooms, lying on her back in a crib, on a bare mattress. There were no adults anywhere. The baby was screaming like someone was murdering her, her tiny hands clenched into fists near her head.

“Where are the parents?” Kate demanded. “You can’t leave a baby alone like this!”

“Kate,” Vicki said. “Look.”

The baby’s wailing faltered, breaking off at the sound of Vicki’s voice. And, as if that were not evidence enough, Kate looked, and saw a hint of translucency, not so that she could see through the girl to the mattress beneath, but just a bit of blurriness around the edges of her form.

“She’s dead,” Kate said, her voice dull. She hadn’t died the same day as Kate and Vicki, or she would have looked solid, but it couldn’t have happened more than three or four days in either direction.

“Don’t cry, little one,” Vicki said. “It’s going to be all right.” She reached out a hand. The baby tried to grab it. But of course the tiny fingers went right through Vicki.

The baby’s face screwed up. She reached again, and again her hand went through Vicki’s. She scrunched her eyes shut tight and started to wail.

“Hush, hush,” Vicki murmured, waving the hand around. “Look at me, sweetheart. Look!” But the ghost baby wouldn’t open her eyes. She just kept screaming. No tears, though. Ghosts could only make the sound of crying, they couldn’t cry real tears.

Kate felt a rising pressure in the back of her throat and behind her eyes. She tried to swallow, to make the feeling go away, but she couldn’t, ghosts had no saliva either. Her eyes burned.

Vicki was singing now. Her soothing voice tried to rise above the baby’s anguished wails, but the discord of the two sounds together made the ghostly hairs on the back of Kate’s neck stand up.

Kate fled.

Much later, she found Vicki and Lindsay floating cross-legged above the library’s front steps, outside the main entrance. With the library still closed, it got pretty dark inside once the sun went down.

A young man loitered nearby, talking into his phone in a low voice between drags on a cigarette. Lindsay eyed the cigarette with undisguised lust.

Vicki didn’t have the ghost baby with her. She looked sad. Vicki had mentioned always wanting children, but never being in the right relationship at the right time.

“How was your evening?” Vicki asked.

Kate shrugged. “Fine. I stopped by my church. I guess they’ve started holding services again.”

“The live people or the dead ones?” Lindsay asked.

Kate glared at her. “The live ones.” She made a face. “I ran into a bunch of ghosts who want me to join their Bible study.”

Vicki frowned, puzzled. “How are they going to–”

“Hold the Bibles? They’re not. They’re going to find a Bible study group of live people and haunt them.”

Lindsay snickered. “Are you going to go?”

“What? When I could spend that time listening to you brag about your sex life?”

Lindsay gave her the finger.

“It’s not such a bad idea,” Vicki said, after a few moments. “Most of us are even more isolated from others than when we were alive, and anything that helps build community….”

“Like the Shouters?” Kate asked, sparing a glance for Lindsay. Lindsay had spent some time as a Shouter before latching on to Kate and Vicki.

“Those aren’t so much communities as mobs,” Vicki said. She considered the question. “But maybe even the Shouters are better than nothing. After what Lindsay and I heard.”

“While you were gone, these other ghosts came by,” Lindsay said. “They’ve been trying to warn people. I mean ghosts when I say people, of course.”

“Ghosts have been disappearing, apparently,” Vicki said.

“Yeah,” Lindsay said. “But just the ones who stay in their house by themselves and won’t socialize with anyone else. Other ghosts who knew about them would go over to say hi, and they’d be gone. The antisocial ones, not the ones who went to visit.”

“Maybe they’d just gone out for a while,” Kate said.

“No! Fuck, you’re not listening. These are ghosts who never went out, because they were, like, depressed, or because they were afraid to stop watching their live kids, or something else like that. They vanished.”

“One of the people who came to talk with us thought he felt an unhealthy aura inside the house where a ghost friend had disappeared,” Vicki said.

Kate made a skeptical face. “Ghosts can’t feel heat or cold or gale force winds, but we can feel someone’s spiritual aura?”

“It’s no dumber than believing in the afterlife,” Lindsay said.

“Anyway,” Vicki said, “these ghosts suggested we should try to stay together as much as possible. Ghosts who have companions don’t seem to disappear.”

“I wouldn’t mind disappearing,” Lindsay said. “This afterlife blows. Maybe the next one is better.”

The new ghosts stopped by the library to visit several times over the next few days. On their fourth visit, they stayed to watch Lindsay perform a one-woman play she had been working on in school.

Even Kate had to admit that Lindsay had talent. The bratty, foul-mouthed twenty-year old was switched off, and in her place sprang up a shy, bookish teenager; a harried young mother with a drinking problem; an arthritic old woman with an astonishingly sly and subtle sense of humor. It’s too bad she’s dead, Kate found herself thinking.

Lindsay must have been thinking the same thing. “I guess this is the closest I get to Broadway.”

“Or Hollywood,” Vicki said.

“Nah, you need a fucking boob job for that.” Lindsay mimed hoisting herself to emphasize her lack of natural film appeal. “And mega plastic surgery.” Her face brightened. “Maybe we can start a ghostly theater company. We could do performances on the Common, like those Shakespeare plays.”

“Who’s going to come?” Kate asked. “Shouters?”

Lindsay turned on her. “Who fucking asked you? Maybe some of us care enough about our art to keep doing it even though we’re dead. Just because you didn’t care enough about yours to do it while you were alive!”

“Kate has two paintings in a gallery in Somerville, Lindsay,” Vicki said. The three visiting ghosts all looked embarrassed, but intrigued enough by the unfolding drama not to leave.

“Yeah, I went and looked at them,” Lindsay said. “They’re good. Just think what you could have done if you’d been willing to make some sacrifices.”

“We don’t all have rich parents who can bankroll us through four years of theater studies.”

“Fuck my parents! I’m not talking about school, I’m talking about the rest of your life. I’m talking about your nice safe engineering job.”

Once again, Vicki tried to play peacemaker. “Kate made a lot of personal sacrifices so she could set aside time to paint.”

Kate heard a surprising edge in Vicki’s voice. Or perhaps not so surprising. Vicki had admitted to doing a lot of writing in high school and college in the 70s, but had confessed that as time went on, and life and relationship demands became more complex, it became harder and harder to find time, and by the time of her death her efforts had been limited to journaling and the occasional poem.

“Kate made stupid sacrifices of things she didn’t even want so she could waste time pretending she was an artist.” Lindsay turned to Kate. “That’s the easiest thing to do, isn’t it? That way you have an excuse for failing as an artist, and for failing in all your relationships, because you weren’t really trying at either one.”

Shane was out, but he had left on enough lights in the living room that Kate could study the painting she had given him. I’d rather have you, he had said, and at the time Kate was irritated, assuming he was talking about sex, and hadn’t they been over that enough already? But now she wondered. Was it too far-fetched to think that sex had been only a small part of what he was talking about? Was he, perhaps, also talking about her zealously guarded painting time? Her unwillingness to adjust her vacation plans once he came into the picture, even if it meant a three-week trip to Ireland without him? The way she always answered invitations to tell what she was thinking with “you first”?

The painting showed a young woman staring at her reflection in the bathroom mirror, one hand against the glass, trying to communicate with the image. But the reflection was oblivious, half-turned away, distracted by something outside the frame of the picture. Oddly enough, the woman looked like Lindsay, although Kate was sure she had never seen Lindsay while the two of them were alive.

It was easy for Lindsay to talk about continuing in her own mode of artistic expression after she was dead. She had one of the few vocations in which that was possible. Kate couldn’t even hold a paintbrush now. She had all the free time in the world–she didn’t even need sleep–but couldn’t use that time to do anything she cared about.

As morning began to push away the darkness in the rest of the apartment, Kate realized that she had not heard the crying ghost baby from the second floor, not for the past several hours. Had the baby been wailing when she arrived last night? Kate couldn’t remember. She didn’t always notice what was going on around her when she was feeling sorry for herself.

The second floor apartment was empty, the silence oppressive. The curtains were drawn and the sun had not quite risen, so there wasn’t enough ambient light in the rest of the apartment to brighten the child’s bedroom. The shadows cast by the dressers and changing table felt menacing.

Kate crept over to the side of the crib. It was as empty as the rest of the room.

Had the shadows in the room grown darker? Kate glanced around. Nothing moved. Was this what that other ghost meant when he talked about unhealthy auras?

Something rustled in the kitchen. It was probably only mice. But Kate didn’t wait to find out.

Shane finally came home around noon, hungover. He dropped his guitar and amp in the living room, drank a quart and a half of Gatorade, and collapsed facedown on his bed without taking off his shoes.

Kate hovered near the door. Something stirred inside her as she watched the rhythmic rise and fall of his shoulders.

She moved closer, closer, until she stood over him. In the room’s deep silence, she could almost hear his heart beat.

“Shane? Can you hear me?”

He didn’t respond.

“I shouldn’t have run away. I could have taken the chance that you wouldn’t leave me.” As crazy and implausible as that chance might have been. “I was afraid.”

She ran her hand down the back of his head, over his shoulders and back, her fingers disappearing inside him. She couldn’t feel him any more than she could feel her own flesh.

Desire was another phantom pain. It felt as real as it ever had when she was alive, alive and in this bed, half her clothing forgotten on the floor, every brush of his lips against her bare skin making her crazy with the sweet agony of restraint.

“I wish I had stopped saying no,” Kate told him. “God would have understood.”

Kate didn’t know if she believed that or not, any more than she knew if she believed what she kept telling Lindsay, that she hadn’t expected anything from God in exchange for her good behavior.

She reached for Shane again, crouching low beside his bed. She put her face next to his head, so close that she could smell the reek of his breath. She stretched her hands out into his side. She wished she could feel something, anything, even the warmth of the blood in his veins. But he was like air to her.

She was tempted to try and wrap herself around him like a lover, to sink into him until they occupied the same space. But she held back. Something about that impulse struck her as obscene, like groping a stranger in his sleep.

On the street below, a truck rumbled by. The hundred-year old windows rattled in their wooden frames.

Shane woke. He shot up in bed, his eyes wide.

Kate pulled away, alarmed.

Shane glanced around the room as if he were afraid something was about to leap at him out of a corner. “Kate?”

The pressure in Kate’s chest and head rose, unbearably. “I’m here,” she said. But even when he looked right in her direction, he couldn’t see her. After a few moments, he lay down again and slipped back into sleep.

Kate watched him sleep until early evening, imagining lines of charcoal on a page delineating the shadows his face cast, the curve of his shoulders. Later, she hung just inside the bathroom door while he showered and brushed his teeth. She tried speaking to him again, but he gave no sign that he heard.

Logic told her that it had been a coincidence. The noise of the passing truck had woken him. He had been dreaming about her. Why wouldn’t he dream about her? She had been his girlfriend for six months, broken up with him, and then died three weeks later in a flu pandemic. There was no reason to believe that he had sensed her leaning over him, heard her words through the darkened glass of sleep.

And yet. What if he had? What if the dead really could communicate with the living, if they wanted to badly enough?

Shane called his parents and talked briefly with each of them. Then he ate a bowl of dry cornflakes. When he left the apartment, Kate followed, but he took his car instead of walking, leaving her standing on the sidewalk, staring mournfully at the street.

Alone in the apartment, Kate tried to make things move. If she could rearrange the furniture, or even tip over a glass left on the coffee table, wouldn’t Shane have to suspect some sort of ghostly presence? But it was no use. No matter how hard she stared, even pushing at something with both hands–even praying to the God who seemed to have forsaken her–she could not make even the comforter on Shane’s bed move even a fraction of an inch.

Shane came back just after the clock on the microwave showed 2:00, but he did come back. Good; if he had slept with someone the night before, it hadn’t been love at first sight.

He smelled of beer and cigarettes. “You shouldn’t be drinking so much,” Kate told him. She watched as he changed into sweatpants and an older t-shirt and crawled into bed. He didn’t fall asleep right away. He lay curled slightly on one side, his head and shoulder uncovered, his eyes wide open.

All she had intended was to bring her lips next to his, to kiss him as if he were a sleeping prince. But when the magic didn’t wake him into awareness, as she had half-imagined it would, desperation took her. She stretched her body out over his, inside his, like two insubstantial projections merging into one. She tried to fit herself to him, curve for curve. Again and again, she tried to touch him wherever he was most likely to notice, if he could notice anything she did.

And none of it mattered. Eventually, he fell asleep, without noticing, and eventually Kate withdrew from him, sick with shame.

Would God understand this? she couldn’t help thinking. And did it make any difference, if he did?

If it didn’t, if in the end it all came down to this….

Shane had turned the lights off in the living room this time. As morning approached, and the darkness began to creep away, Kate stood at the east-facing windows. She held up a hand to the pink glow coming in through the blinds.

I still look real. She could almost see the framework of bones beneath her skin, the traceries of blue veins, caught in the new day fire of the sun.

“What the fuck are you doing to yourself?”

Kate spun around.

Lindsay, followed closely by Vicki. Vicki’s brown eyes were all motherly concern. Lindsay’s were pissed.

“Have you fucking looked at yourself?” Lindsay demanded, pointing.

Vicki floated forward, passing right through Lindsay in her haste. “Kate. You’re disappearing. You have to get out of this apartment.”

Kate held up her hand again. She really could see the bones of her fingers and wrist. Her flesh had gone transparent, like a bad projection.

Her eyes met Vicki’s. “The baby downstairs is gone.” The baby, wailing its heart out, alone in the only place it knew.

“You’re going to go the same way,” Vicki said. “If you stay here.”

“But he heard me!” Kate protested. “I was talking to him, and he woke up in the middle of the night and said my name.”

Vicki hesitated.

“So what?” Lindsay demanded. “It’s not worth it. You’re disappearing. Maybe if you try hard enough, you can make him see you once before you’re completely gone.”

Suddenly, there was Shane, standing in the entrance to the hallway. Kate froze in place. He seemed to be staring straight at her.

“He’s only looking out the window, Kate,” Vicki said gently. “The sun is coming up.”

Kate forced herself to take her eyes off him, to turn and see what he saw. The sun was indeed coming up, the entire eastern sky gently afire from within. It was a gorgeous fall morning, perhaps gorgeous enough to make someone forget that his ex-girlfriend, and maybe his roommate, and who knew how many other friends, were dead of something so innocuous as the flu. That the world had seemed poised on the edge of collapse, and it was still unclear which direction it was tumbling over into.

After a moment, Kate heard the slap of Shane’s bare feet down the hallway and into the kitchen. The fridge door opened and closed.

“He’s nothing special,” Lindsay said. “I was expecting some fucking Greek god, the way you talk about him.”

She walked across the room to examine Kate’s painting.

“This painting’s just as good as the other ones.” Apparently Lindsay didn’t notice the subject’s resemblance to her. “You should have been in your studio emptying your soul into trying to make a paintbrush move. It would have been more worthwhile than hanging around here moping over your drunk-ass loser ex.” She straightened from her inspection, looking Kate straight in the eyes. “Are you coming with us or not?”

Kate didn’t answer.

Lindsay shrugged. “Fuck if I care. I’m out of here.” And she slipped outside right through the wall, never mind that they were on the third floor.

Kate watched as Shane stumbled back down the hallway to his room. He didn’t look in their direction this time, neither at Kate nor out the window.

Vicki moved closer to her. Concern wrinkled her brow.

“You realize it, don’t you? The ghosts who disappeared did it to themselves. They poured so much of themselves into trying to interact with the physical world that there was nothing left.”

“Like the baby?” Kate demanded. “It’s the baby’s fault that she disappeared. Is that what you’re saying?”

Vicki didn’t have an answer for that. “We’ve missed you,” was all she said. “I hope you’ll decide to come back.” And she was gone.

Left behind, Kate stood for a moment in the entrance to the hallway, staring at the open door to Shane’s room, listening to the sound of his breathing. She could see her painting out of the corner of one eye, its oils glowing in the light of the new sun.

In the end, she went the way Lindsay and Vicki had, straight through the third-floor wall to the street beyond, heedless of stairs and doorways she no longer needed.

She could see them in the distance, flying through the air. The ground could not hold them.

Kristin Janz is a Canadian writer who has lived in the Boston area since 1998. She is a Clarion West graduate whose fiction has appeared in Escape Pod, Daily Science Fiction, and On Spec. Along with her husband, Donald S. Crankshaw, she has edited and independently published an anthology of Christian-themed speculative fiction from a variety of perspectives, entitled Mysterion: Rediscovering the Mysteries of the Christian Faith. Her website and occasional blog can be found at

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