Welcome to the fourth week of Short Fiction Wednesday, in which I feature the first 1.5-2k of a story from my ebook collection Night Bird Soaring and Other Stories, which features 17 different reprint selections ranging from fantasy to horror to alternate history. If you enjoy what you read here, you can purchase the full collection at Amazon or B&N for $2.99.
With this week’s selection, we move back to science fiction. “My Sweet Andromache” is a time travel love story inspired by The Iliad, and a particularly fascinating class on Greek history I took in college. Nikias is an Observational Historian, sent back in time to observe history first hand, and he’s been sent back to find out the truth about the Trojan War and the collapse of the Bronze Age in the Aegean. To his surprise, some of the characters from Homer’s poems do indeed exist as real people. He secures employment with Hector, a nobleman known for his skills with breaking horses, but when Nikias falls in love with his wife Andromache, history could start unraveling….
My Sweet Andromache
I kissed Andromache gently on the forehead, letting my lips linger for a moment as I filled my nose with the smell of oil, sweat, and lilies. I didn’t want to leave. But Hector would return soon from the council meeting in the city and only a fool wished to test the man’s legendary brutality with a sword.
Out the door and over the side of the wooden deck I went, lowering myself to the top of the garden’s stone wall. I dropped behind a partition of crisp evergreen bushes growing along the outside and walked crouched until I came to the front of the house. Crickets hummed in the hot summer evening and the air smelled of jasmine and tasted of sea salt.
At the end of the hedgerow, I checked for slaves then stepped out and headed for the barn.
“The troublemaker emerges at last.”
No one had spoken English to me in several months, so I flinch and whipped around. A woman—the Continuity Monitor Catherine—sat on the corral’s rock wall, the breeze rippling her sheer gown. Her leather-sandaled feet were crossed at the ankles, mimicking her stern, folded arms. Her skin glowed white from the subspace shield covering her from head to foot.
“Why would you sneak up on a man in the middle of the night?” I asked, glaring at her. But I already knew the reason for her visit.
Catherine shook her head. “You couldn’t help yourself, huh, Nik?”