"Houarner, always a maestro of the “smart” horror tale, further hones his art in this scary provocative nod to The Thousand and One Nights and other ancient traditions of phantasmal story-telling. Chock full the macabre and populated by the arabesque horrors of a culture far older than ours, this great new work by Houarner is a Must Read for all venturers into weird fiction.”
—Edward Lee, author of
WHITE TRASH GOTHIC and CITY INFERNAL
Once and now, a little girl who plays with ghosts and spirits is lost in the desert…
No family, no friends, just memories of an old life in a world of cities and cars, and a head full of visions and dreams that don’t belong in the world.
She likes to tell stories.
She stinks of camel.
Once, she will say, “The scorpion was not always a creature of pain, just as each of us was not always what we have become.”
Many times, she wonders what she is worth to the living who sell her, buy and steal her, to the spirits and ghosts and djinn and ghuls she plays with, to the Caravan of the Dead she comes to belong to, to the dead who wake her and are awakened by her.
Once and now, she wonders what others are willing to pay for her stories…
“A redemptive story of the saving magic of story itself. Lose yourself, and find yourself, in the tale of Aini, a virgin storyteller cast adrift by selfish parents to the whims of the desert to make her way in the world… maybe all the way to the Caravan of Dreams. In this short novel, Houarner has crafted a fantastic, beautifully dark journey to the center of the secret heart!”
— John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning
author of Covenant and NightWhere