Smooth Stones and Empty Bones by Bennett North

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction January/February 2016

Genre: fantasy

Setting: a small town, present day

Summary: Helena’s girlfriend’s brother, Javi, has been lost in the woods for several days. Everyone’s worried he’s dead. Helena decides to share a secret with Mariposa – she has a box of rocks that can bring someone back from the dead, at least for a while. (Helena’s mother is a witch.) However, when Javi’s found, he’s been dead too long for the rocks to work fully. Mariposa wants to use more rocks, but Helena needs them for herself.

Final thoughts: What starts out as a standard story (impress your girlfriend with a trick) adds a little weirdness (the trick is bringing something back from the dead) and then a big twist (Helena’s only alive because of the rocks). It was a very satisfying twist that explained several details provided at the beginning of the story. I really enjoyed the story!

Title comes from: The rocks are small, smooth river stones and they animate even skeletons into a semblance of life.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or publication title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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