"The Bone Plain" by Karin
This story came from "Uncanny Magazine" November/December issue #19 written by Karin . You can read this story here: https://uncannymagazine.com/article/the-bone-plain/ on the Uncanny Magazine website. There is also a podcast that interviews the author which is nice.
This was a relaxing and welcoming story. I lay in bed as I read this story and closed my eyes. I imagined myself on an adventure hiking a trail maybe on a pilgrimage, or maybe just for fun. Feeling the sun hitting my face and back. Enjoying the company of friends and meeting strangers for the first time. I loved what the story sparked in my imagination.
The story followed a girl named Erika. It started with her riding in a bus far out past what she is accustomed to being around. After departing from the bus, she met an old man named Sol. Sol invited Erika to join him and his friends on a hike to Worlds End. Unsure of traveling with people she just met Erika thought things over. While thinking things through Erika flashes back to a fight with her parents about living with an older man.
Erika decided to take Sol and his friends, Stephen and Kim, up on their offer. Erika bought some shoes, a jacket, and rain slicker and off they went. They stayed at hostels along the trail talking about themselves or about people they met on the trail or at the hostel. Everyone seemed to get along just fine.
While everyone else would talk about themselves and get to know each other, Erika held back. She didn't want them to know too much about her. There was something dark in her past. Something she didn't want them to know. Something she wished she could just forget herself. Flashes back to a man waking her up during the night. Of pretending to be nice. Things a predator would do.
What is the prey fought back?
Did Erika run away from something horrible? Maybe she ran away because she did something horrible?
Maybe Erika ended up exactly where she needed to be. In a far-away village hiking a trail with people that renewed her faith in humanity. A hike that she could leave behind her old self and be forgiven for anything in her past. Maybe, just maybe.
As I stated previously, I just loved the feelings this story evoked. Even though it dealt with some dark themes it had a beautiful landscape. Erika had to see the beautiful before she could see the darkness. That's how I viewed this story.
There was turmoil and darkness surrounding everything about Erika when she left on the bus. Blinded by the darkness she had nowhere to go and couldn't see where she was headed. Slowly she let the light of her surrounding in and it helped her to see what was around her. To guide her. To help her find her way through the darkness.
Sol was instrumental in this transformation. He helped guide Erika through the darkness when she couldn't see for herself. He eased her into the light. Like a baptism, he gently bathed her in the light. Then when all was said and done she was forgiven and like new again.
This was a fantastic story all around. I highly recommend it. The author did an awesome job in painting a landscape of the beauty of friends and nature while dealing with some dark themes. I will be looking for more stories by this author in times to come. The authors writing was clear, concise, and flowed well. I might possibly pick up her collection of short stories called "" and do some further reading from her.
She also has a novel called "."