Short Story Highlight: “Perhaps this is Kushi’s Story” by Swapna Kishore (Fantasy Magazine)

This week’s Fantasy Magazine features a new story by Indian writer Swapna Kishore, Perhaps this is Kushi’s Story:

Elder Sister places pebbles to mark people in her sand village. She pats walls in place. She smiles in her know-it-all way as if to remind me that it is she who will marry the headman’s son and decide what our tribe does–all because she was born an hour before me. When she stands back to admire her work, I kick it in.

“Younger Sister, why?” She gives a mournful look.

“You hadn’t posted guards,” I mock. “A city is more than fields and huts and granaries.”

“Hmmm.” She flattens the sand and drags a twig to sketch a new plan, this time including watch towers. She cups her hands around moist sand to shape buildings again.

I hate it when she doesn’t fight.

She will take time to build anything worth kicking, so I turn to the Maasa river. The pebble I throw skims over the flat blue water, touching the surface once, twice, three times before it sinks. The air smells of river spray and fresh grass and ripe wheat—too peaceful for me. My dreams have soldiers flashing swords and cities full of buildings and the sounds of song and dance. In my dreams, I rule people.

My hand is moving to my bosom, as if that will stop the buzz of things I crave, when I notice Tribemother watching me. I straighten up; I do not want her to suspect anything. Tribemother’s face is so thick with wrinkles I never know when she is frowning. She must be over a hundred years old, because no one remembers her as young. They say she knows everything that can be known. They say she reads minds; at times like this, I worry it may be true.

Yet I have not done anything wrong. Not yet. – continue reading.

About the author:

Swapna Kishore lives in Bangalore, India, and writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her speculative fiction has appeared/ is forthcoming in Nature (Futures), Ideomancer, Strange Horizons, Sybil’s Garage 7, and other publications. For more about her, please visit her at


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