The day dawns as red as fresh blood on a fishing boat’s deck.

12 June 2018

In her introduction to Sharp & Sugar Tooth, editor Octavia Cade writes:

. . . the coastal community of Amelia Gorman’s “She Makes the Deep Boil” is dependent on the sea to sate their hunger. And it does, mostly, supplying enough to keep a town with at least pretensions to vibrancy, but the giant creatures of the sea have their own prices and bargains. It’s in the similarity between hunters that the horror in this story lies, in the idea that we are part of a community of animals—part of an ecosystem, and for all the potential generosity of our natures there are some biological restrictions we can’t move beyond, and some consents we won’t ask, or honor.

Today we feature stories of the sea, and what communities dependent on it will do to placate the creatures within. In addition to Gorman’s story above, below are excerpts from Wendy Nikel’s “Maidens of the Sea” (from which our title comes) and Premee Mohamed’s “Below the Kirk, Below the Hill,” both in Broad Knowledge.

Premee Mohamed writes:

My inspiration for “Below the Kirk, Below the Hill” was two of my previous stories, oddly enough. Some of my work has recently ended up in a world in which ‘old gods’ are real and need to be regularly sacrificed to and placated in order to coexist with humans. In “Willing,” the gods are of the prairies; in “The Evaluator,” the gods are of the mountains. It seemed natural to write one set near the ocean. Then I had to start asking myself: What would those gods look like? How would they react differently to certain things than the gods of the land? And the story followed from there. I wanted to ask questions, in the story, about responsibility—who’s responsible for who, and why? Must it always be about love? Never about love? Duty? Obligation? How do you know when something or someone has to be taken under your wing? How is taking in a little girl different from taking in a lighthouse, and how is it the same? When is something ‘Someone else’s problem’ for either gods or humans? This was a difficult story for me because of those questions, and I know not all of them are answered in the text. In the end, I hope they’re not. These are questions we all ask ourselves in real life.

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About the Authors

Amelia Gorman is a horror fan, summer camp baker, and twitter bot maker in Minnesota. You can read her other monstrous themed writing in the Lovecraftian She Walks in Shadows anthology, and her poetry in Liminality Magazine, Star*Line, and Eternal Haunted Summer. Twitter: @gorman_ghast.

Wendy Nikel’s fiction has appeared in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Daily Science Fiction, Nature: Futures, and elsewhere. Find her at

Premee Mohamed is an Indo-Caribbean scientist and speculative fiction writer based in Canada. Her work has been published by Nightmare Magazine, Martian Migraine Press, Innsmouth Free Press, and many others. She can be found on Twitter at @premeesaurus.

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“You should go to the doctor,” she chirped at him, buoyed by the absolute certainty that he would not listen to her. To reach the open sea, they’d have to be relentless and brave.


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