Paper Cities: Taser

Paper Cities cover.As you may have seen elsewhere on the blogosphere, Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy edited by Ekaterina Sedia and published by Senses Five Press is now available! Check out that Table of Contents—I’m in some mighty fine company, that’s for sure.

My story in this anthology is called “Taser,” which is a companion piece to my story “Memree” which originally appeared in Polyphony 4 and was recently reprinted in Farrago’s Wainscot. Here’s the first few paragraphs to give you a taste:

TASER

by Jenn Reese

We got a whole pack of demon dogs watches out for us, led by this fierce half-husky we call Taser. They hang around and eat our food, sometimes bring us guns and drugs in their toothy mouths — tails wagging, tongues lolling, and sending us in this direction or that, to steal or fight, or just to break.

Me and Keys, we climb the telephone pole. I can see him looking at the scars on my arms and legs as we go, can feel his jealousy. We get to the top and toss a pair of Markus’s sneakers over the wire. Markus got shot two weeks ago, and now his Nikes’ll keep the goddamn birds away from us and ours while we smoke and do our planning. Those f-ing pigeons will tell everything they see to the packs of girls that gather where we’re not. But the shoes are like piss, marking our spot,and they got a deep magic, buried in sweat stains and dirty rubber.

We shimmy down and Taser is waiting for us, sitting on the asphalt like it’s some kind of throne. He wants us to do something. I feel Keys staring at me, can hear his breathing coming ragged near my ear. The dogs always come to me. They know I can get it done, whatever it is they want. I’ve climbed in small places and broken into cars and stolen for them. I’ve distracted the cops and the store owners and boys from the other gangs. I’ve sat out in the darkness keeping watch for hours and hours, and I’ll do it again when they ask me.

Taser’s eyes flash. His tongue rolls out over pointed teeth and he pants, grinning. When he gets up and trots down the street, we got no choice but to follow.

I had tremendous fun writing in this voice, much like I did with “Memree.” These two stories will always mean a lot to me.