He then said…

He then said… nothing. The words never came, or, if they did come, I had already departed and would never hear them. Having thought of such a possibility, I decided to return to his rude abode, deep in the dark dense forest and ask him what he had said. But when I reached the clearing where the abode once stood, there was no clearing there at all! Not even a tiny glade as evidence to its passing. I shrugged and kept my sword in its scabbard. Nobody ever came here except me. But what of the abode where the man had once lived? Had it sunk beneath the forest floor, or became so entangled with the trees, it actually looked like the trees, and had become one with the trees, and, if so, the man’s body, was it within the fattest trunk I could now see? I suddenly grasped my weapon’s haft. I heard a noise that was not natural, a noise impossible to have been made by wind or forest vermin. The noise was man-made, I was sure. A spoken word croaked by a man’s voice. As ridged and wrinkled as bark. He then said … nothing. I had imagined the voice. It had just been the noise of a voice in my head. So I spoke instead. Breaking some sort of spell. To vainly show I was there at all. A single word pluralised at its start like sword.


Maleficia Falling by Alexander Zelenyj

This story’s reading became a miracle for me. Today of all days, preternaturally when I have been first enabled to read it, i.e. when our current world leaders in real-time have been meeting for the last few days (19 – 21 May) in a certain country and in a certain notable city in that country, a place specifically mentioned in this story, and when thinking of these leaders’  decisions  there  that could well lead to the sort of event that once happened to this city …. a sort of war for all of us that, by rights, would have been unheard of in the time and place of this compelling story, a story that holds the power of trinity and prophecy to which I have grown accustomed in Zelenyj.

The story must surely have been written long before the agenda for today’s meeting in real-time was set, let alone any planning for the meeting itself!

 The story is about ancient Rome and the Emperor Hadrian, and he is in conversation about  three sculptures supposedly sculpted in his honour, Lovecraftian to my inner eye but  with deeper configurations that play with edges of the reading mind,  and this  conversation tells  of their sculpting and what may lie within them…. Unmissable. And hugely ironic. More than just coincidence. Look at the author’s surname! A great story, even without these very possibly unintentional considerations!!

Published in Helion Science Fiction Magazine, Print Edition, Issue 3-4, May 2023. Editor:: Cornel Secu

The issue is being launched officially at the European Science Fiction Convention in Uppsala, Sweden in June 2023.


The above review is part of my ‘Dessemination’ project here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2023/01/24/39772/

My previous reviews of Alexander Zelenyj: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/alexander-zelenyj/