Today I am pleased to share an excerpt from the magical realism book by G.A. Kathryns, Snow City.
About Snow City
G. A. Kathryns is an award-winning author of novels and short stories. Her latest release SNOW CITY is a novel of hope and magical realism.
SNOW CITY is a dreamlike journey into the life of a woman who has given up on a dystopian reality and fabricated her idea of a perfect dream world. And then one day she wakes up in that fantasy world…
By G.A. Kathryns
Publisher: Sycamore Sky Books
Genre: Magical Realism
Her name is Echo Japonica, and she lives in Snow City. But she was not always Echo, and she did not always live in Snow City. Somewhere else, she was someone else, and it was to Snow City that she fled in order to escape a place and a self that had at last become intolerable.
For Snow City is a dream — Echo’s dream — of a better place, an idealized place, a place of both anonymity and fulfillment. It is, for Echo, a haven of peace, a refuge, a sanctuary.
But Snow City remains, nonetheless, a dream, and dreams, being such fragile things, can so easily shade into nightmare…
Excerpt from Chapter 3
“Good evening,” I say. I do not have to see her. I know she is there. “My name is Echo Japonica.”
“H-hello…” comes the uncertain reply. “Have you been following me?”
“I have not. But I knew where you would be.”
“I saw you here on a previous occasion.” I do my best to keep my voice noncommittal. “You were standing in the rain in the daylight, and now you are standing in the rain in the night. It is not right that you be out alone in the dark and the wet. So I wonder…”
I risk a glance at her. Yes: in the rain and at night. But not a drop of water on her.
“…I wonder whether I might once again be so bold as to offer you the sharing of an umbrella.”
Her voice drifts out of the dim alley like a distant hand groping through miles of mist. “Why?”
“Because you are a child.”
The hot denial comes quickly. “I’m not a child!”
I nod, sighing. I should have expected it. “And I, for my part, find it difficult upon occasion to believe that I am an adult. But,
leaving aside the question of our respective ages: share an umbrella with me, I pray, and I will see you home directly.”
I sense — no, I know — what she is a about to say, and it frightens me. Has Snow City fallen so far? Frayed so terribly? Raveled so completely?
“…I…don’t have a home.”
Homeless, then? Horror follows horror. This should not — cannot — be happening here.
“I mean,” the girl goes on, her words spilling forth in fits and starts, “I’ve got a home, and I’ve got a family. But they don’t…they
don’t want me. They turned me out. They told me…they told me to go away and never come back.”
I stare at her. Well-spoken, polite…vulnerable, perhaps, but with an edge of determination, she seems so unlikely a candidate for abandonment that for the better part of a minute I can find no words with which to reply.
“What about friends?” I manage at last.
“They run away…now.”
Which explains the scene I witnessed the other day: the students’ uneasy expressions, the agonized guilt of the older sister.
I cannot let this happen. Unbidden, I step into the alley and, uninvited, shield the girl with my umbrella…which appears to be
entirely superfluous: there is not a speck of water on her save for the tears trickling down her cheeks.
Has nobody spoken to her like this before, asked these questions, offered the slightest shred of help, of comfort?
What is happening?
“Child,” I say, “regardless of your family, regardless of your friends” — We are face to face, almost touching. I have never allowed anyone else in Snow City such intimate proximity. I never dreamed that I would ever permit such a thing. — “you surely cannot be living on the street.”
Anger flares…accompanied by a kind of vague shame. “Stop calling me a child. My name is Charity. I’m sixteen years old and I’m not a child!” And then: “And in any case, I’m…
She looks away quickly.
“…I’m not living anywhere now. At least…not…not really living.”
I stare at her.
“There was an accident,” she says, the water falling all around and she dry in spite of it. “In January. A car. I was killed.” She
lifts those green eyes to me, and I see in them what I, concerned until now only with surface appearances and bare facts, did not see before: a window into unknown depths, into abysses of knowledge that lie beyond all dreams, all nightmares, all imaginings.
“I…” I stare, stupid and bewildered.
“Don’t you see?” she demands. “I’m dead. I’m a ghost.”
The tears take her then, and she begins to sob uncontrollably.
G.A. Kathryns grew up on the West Coast and later on moved to the drier and higher realms of the high plains. She currently makes her home in the Denver metro area where she shares the company of a spouse and two small dogs.
Along with SNOW CITY, she has written a Southern Gothic themed title, THE BORDERS OF LIFE (soon to be reissued in a revised, corrected, and updated version), several pedagogical works devoted to playing the harp, a number of short stories, and a collection of dark fiction.
I would like to thank the author and Book Publicity Services for this opportunity and excerpt!