Aphelion: Tales from the Dark Recesses by Andy Frankham-Allen

By Andy Frankham-Allen

Aphelion – the Earth’s orbit while it really is furthest from the Sun.
The brief tales during this assortment are all trips into the darkest corners of the human mind.
How a long way might you move in the event you didn’t need to fear concerning the consequences?
What occurs whilst you’re compelled to dwell with the guilt of whatever you didn’t even do?

And how could you cope for those who have been compelled to change your whole conception of self, just because the area replaced when you slept?

All those questions and extra can be responded during this anthology from Rainbow Award-nominated writer Andy Frankham-Allen.

This assortment includes:
Times Change
Off Flesh
Reflection
One Mistake
Serere, a Prelude: The backyard Saga

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I was her chosen replacement. That fact was made even plainer during my first week in the valley. Our daily rounds, I soon discovered, taxed Gretel to the limit; and when we were called out on a birthing, the all-night vigil proved too much for her. In the end I was the one who delivered the baby – the woman’s first – and saw to both their needs. I also reassured the bewildered young husband, whom I found trembling and distressed on the outer porch. ‘Her screams,’ he muttered, refusing to meet my eyes.

After which, the door of the hovel banged shut. Because of the recent rain, it didn’t take long to dig a second grave alongside the first. That done, I unhitched the horse and was climbing into the buggy when I remembered leaving my bag on the porch. I hurried back, tiptoeing the last few paces so as not to disturb those inside. As I stooped for the bag, however, I heard something. The sound of laughter, of merriment; plus a softer, tinkling sound which I took to be some form of music. It was all coming from inside, clearly audible through the cracked, thin planking of the door.

When you are six, making a pair of wings is no easy task. It took me a while to create something moderately satisfactory out of coloured tissue paper stretched across flimsy loops of bent wire. I put them to the test on a blustery day in early autumn. Having tied them on with two lengths of string, I made my way to the bottom of the garden. Overhead, the giant pear tree shook and swayed noisily, but I had climbed it before, so I didn’t hesitate. Careful not to damage my wings, I began clambering from limb to limb, up through the roaring foliage to the crazily swaying top.

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