The gestation period for a Gentry babe is brutally short. Later, one is hard-pressed to remember any of it. As soon as ever I spew her forth into the world (this time, it is a girl; I’ve been dreaming of her), she will be taken away to be raised elsewhere, and I will not remember her face. Of my other children, I know only the names, but these I feel were all — or for the most part — in very bad taste…
I came under enemy enchantment at the soft age of fourteen. For some reason it pleased the Gentry that I should breed their changeling babes, will me nil me, and breed them I have, though I had little else to do with them. Since then, it’s been fumes and nostrums, narcotics and elixirs. I have existed in a kind of padded dream designed by the Abbot’s wizards to protect me from further Gentry meddling — although, if you look at my record, these potions hardly seem worth their weight in piss. I have now borne three Gentry babes in as many years and will any day deliver myself of a fourth.
C.S.E.’s fiction and poetry have also appeared in Clockwork Phoenix 3, Book of Dead Things, Subterranean magazine, Goblin Fruit, Ideomancer, Doorways, Mythic Delirium, and Apex, among others. Her novella The Big Bah-Ha was recently published by Drollerie Press, and her story “Braiding the Ghosts” (from Clockwork Phoenix 3) was selected for inclusion in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2011.
You can read the complete text of “The Last Sophia” here.