The more I read my way through Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, the more I’m annoyed I left it on my shelf of “to be read” anthologies for so long. The stories are so good, and so varied, and the chorus of voices are so fantastically drawn that I just… Well, I shake my head at my past self, but at least I finally continued. “A Score of Roses” is a perfect example of the kind of story I love so very much: drawn from character and magic and telling a thematic story of love and triumph even from within pain and loss.
We meet two people, Sunshine and Baby, who are obviously more-than-human, but the details of which aren’t ever spelled out for the reader. This gives the overall effect of immersion and nuance, and put beside the absolutely brilliant way the dialog is handled, we watch them fall in love despite knowing that they are both different from each other in fundamental ways.
They have a child, and it is through her we learn both of what happened to the parents (in a sense, as again it’s not spelled out why one of them…left?…faded?…something), but again, this loss never feels anything other than loving and ultimately giving and triumphant, and for that, I’m so glad I found this story (and the anthology as a whole). The daughter is such a brilliant mix of her parents, and her story, one feels, will be just as amazing as those who came before her. That feeling of forward motion lingers, even after the last line of the story.