Monday 16 October 2023

Teika Marija Smits, "Umbilical"

Teika Marija Smits is a UK-based writer and freelance editor. She writes poetry and fiction, and her speculative short stories have been published in IZ Digital, Parsec, Reckoning, Shoreline of Infinity, Best of British Science Fiction and Great British Horror 6. Her debut poetry pamphlet, Russian Doll, was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in March 2021, and Umbilical, her first collection of short stories, was published by NewCon Press in August 2023. Waterlore, her micro short story collection, is due to be published by Black Shuck Books in November 2023. A fan of all things fae, she is delighted by the fact that Teika means fairy tale in Latvian. Teika is on Twitter/X @MarijaSmits and her website is here.  

About Umbilical

Containing 21 stories of motherhood and mythology, science and spirituality, that traverse both space and time, Umbilical delves deep into the human psyche and the power of creativity. Smits’s writing dances between multiple genres, taking in science fiction, fantasy and horror, and the stories range in tone from dark to light and feature well-known figures from long-ago tales such as Bluebeard, Baba Yaga, the Minotaur and the Green Man.

You can read more about Umbilical on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read a sample from the collection. 

From Umbilical, by Teika Marija Smits

The Green Man

“Olly, we know you can hear us,” said Jack. “So are you coming to The Green Man or what?”

Olly opened his eyes, put his hand to his earpiece and disconnected himself from the cloud. He sat up, the thin plastic mattress rucking up beneath him.

“It’ll be fun,” said Selma, “an adventure. They serve mead. Real mead.”

“You’re shitting me,” said Olly.

“No, we are absolutely not shitting you,” insisted Mohinder, his face as serious as ever. “But we’re making plans and need to know if you’re up for it.”

Olly’s eyes flicked over to Nate’s mattress. It was empty, and for a moment his face revealed the panic he felt.

Selma laughed. “Don’t worry. Lover boy’s just gone to the loo. But he wants to come with us.”

Olly reddened, told them all to fuck off, and laid down again, his back to the three of them. As he reconnected to the cloud, music and updates streaming into his consciousness, he heard Jack again: “We go on Friday. When there’ll be a full moon. A Green Grass Moon.” Selma said something about bicycles.

Olly began to doze. And as he slipped into sleep his neural feed suddenly filled with strange images: a lime-coloured moon; blades of grass; a grinning man, his green face covered in leaves.

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