Winter Holidays - Story 5 - The Zonbi’s Fet Ghedé by K.L. Nappier
Editor's note: This lovely and haunting piece has two erotic scenes that have medium intensity to them. Reader discretion is advised.
Fet Ghedé: Voudon Festival of the Ancestors, celebrated late October to early November
Bourbon Street, New Orleans
Three Days Before Fet Ghedé
She was the zonbi’s first awareness. He caught her unique scent in the lush, warm blood under her skin. Her woolen cloak and hood, soaked by the downpour, gave off a musky wet animal cloy that carried the blood odor as if offering him a gift.
The sense of her stopped his plodding, though his death-numbed brain was compelled to do his bokor’s bidding. She, trudging along the plank walk beside the muddy ruts of Bourbon Street. He, upon the boards on the other side. The zonbi looked up, turning his dull gaze in her direction.
What was she?
Just as her scent had brought him his first thought since his turning, so the sight of her gave him his first sense of self after death: I am zonbi. It didn’t come as some horrifying revelation. With his brain so bound by the bokor’s spell, it was no more startling than when the living wake from a dream. He simply became aware that he was.
But what was she? Her scent of decay—very subtle—suggested zonbi. Yet, she was not. The paradox tugged at his imprisoned mind.
He stood, mouth slack in dull surprise, while merchant carts and haulers’ buckboards lumbered through the muck of Bourbon Street. He caught glimpses of her through the traffic, the men at the reins as mud-spattered as their beleaguered drays, donkeys and oxen. No elegant barouches or cabriolets were in New Orleans’ streets on such a day. Only the lowly and work-bound suffered the downpour. They eyed the zonbi just long enough to make sure the bokor had not sent him hunting one of them.
She came back into view as the wide rolling rump of a speckled ox passed, hooves sucking stench up from the manure and mud. She was watching him, too. She was new to womanhood. And a white girl, which only deepened the mystery.
Never, even when living, had he seen a white zonbi. His kind were either Creole or born of African stock like himself, the latter being the bokor’s preference. That was why the sorcerer had bartered with Master Belamy for the teenager’s fresh corpse, trading two Creole children—dead from influenza—which he had already made zonbi. Until they rotted to the point of uselessness, their use would be for tasks deemed a waste of slave resources.
But this young white woman standing across the street, soaked through her heavy wrap... she couldn’t be zonbi. Her eyes weren’t clouded by death. Even from this distance, even in the damp and cold of the day, the fertile smell of her blood belied the pungent rot riding its surface. The parts of her that were decaying—her nose and left cheek, the finger nubs clutching at her cloak—were dry and bluish. But also scaly, raw, and weeping blood-tinged fluid the way living flesh did when wounded.
An old Creole charwoman, head down and marching past the rain-spattered storefronts, nearly collided with the object of the zonbi’s attention. When she looked up at the young woman, the Creole grimaced and crossed the street in spite of the mud’s pull, oozing over the tops of her shoes.
She mounted the plank walk where the zonbi still stood agape and leaned against a hitching post to empty her muck-filled shoes. As she straightened, she saw him standing there: barely two weeks into his undeath, grave clothes plastered against him, arms limp, hair and finger nails long, matted and shaggy.
She hissed with disgust and pushed passed as she muttered in Creole, “Lepers and zonbis at every turn! This town was better off under the Spanish...”
His mission complete, the zonbi trod back toward the cypress swamp and his master’s cabin. The distant beat of drums echoed through the live oaks, the rhythms causing his trapped soul to stir ever so slightly. These were the drum heralds of Fet Ghedé, beseeching freemen and slave alike to prepare for the sacred rituals honoring the departed. The faithful would gather, ancestors would be feted no matter how modestly, and Maman Brigitte and the guardian l’wha watching over the dead would draw near.
But there would be no celebration for the zonbi. The bokor’s binding spell denied him the comforts of the grave and Maman Brigitte’s welcoming arms.
The drumming faded as the zonbi approached the edge of the swamp. Between the boundaries of live oaks and cypress his master’s cabin stood, the one stolen from his dead rival. The bokor had bested the local houngon, an aged priest of Voudon beloved by the faithful. He also took a woman to keep the two rooms tidy and his appetites sated: a mulatto who preferred the arrangement over the abuses within the Basin Street brothels. New Orleans’ masters ignored the bokor’s many sins as long as his dark arts remained useful to the merchants, politicians, and plantation owners.
The zonbi could no more feel the warmth of a dry, well-lit room than he could the rain that had soaked his grave clothes. Yet a kernel of what he once was found relief when he shuffled over the threshold.
The bokor was alone with his tools of trade: pungent herbs and vines hanging from the rafters, desiccated snakes and reptiles garlanding the walls, shriveled avian claws in stone bowls. The dainty hands of raccoons clustered on a string like dried peppers.
There was the warm odor of bees’ wax candles crusting the shrines to dread Bacalou and Sousson-Pannan—the bokor’s guardian l’wha—and the smells of dried flesh, chicory, garlic, and sage. The zonbi’s nostrils flared. He had yet to be given his daily feeding, and his dehydrated veins stirred with bloodlust.
The bokor hunched over his rough-hewn work desk, murmuring a spell and grinding the bones of something or someone with a mortar and pestle. He didn’t acknowledge the zonbi until the task was done, even then only stretching one hand outward.
The zonbi set the pouch in the sorcerer’s palm. Only then did the bokor look away from the coarse-ground bones and turn his attention to the prize he had sent his zonbi to fetch: payment overdue from the Frenchman who owned the dry goods store on Royal. The bokor counted the coins, then smiled his yellow, gap-toothed smile.
“With interest,” he said approvingly to the undead boy, even though he knew the zonbi didn’t speak. As with one’s hound dog or milk cow, it was akin to talking to oneself more than to the creature. “Fine day for me, but bad luck for you, boy. Won’t be sendin’ you to eat that prize litter of pups his bitch just whelped.”
Jasmine oil scent, riding a faint undercurrent of sweat, announced the approach of the bokor’s lover well before her shoes knocked across the cabin’s floorboards. The bokor looked past his undead servant and smiled as she sauntered past the zonbi to his outstretched arm. He gripped the back of her neck and pulled her face to his, the pink of their outstretched tongues flashing as their lips came together.
When the bokor released the kiss, she said, “Goat’s been milked, sow’s been slopped. Chickens all fed.” She glanced at the zonbi. “His bowl’s fillin’ now. That old black rooster wasn’t any good to the hens no more. He’s put to better use this way.”
At the mention of his feeding, the zonbi’s wasted veins writhed. Still the bokor didn’t release him. Instead he smiled at the soul he had trapped and said, “Ain’t that nice of Marguerite to make you supper,” as though this wasn’t her task every evening.
A dull dread seeped into the zonbi’s awareness. Such small talk meant the bokor was in a celebratory mood. When this was so, the sorcerer often amused himself with torment. The bokor yanked his lover onto his lap.
“We’ll do somethin’ nice for Marguerite in return.”
“No, Afram, ain’t no need—”
“You deserve somethin’ nice, I said.”
He stretched, taking a small bottle from his desk. Encircling Marguerite in his arms, he uncorked the bottle and tapped a dusting of fine, white crystals onto the back of his hand. Frost upon ebony. He wet a finger between his lips, all the better to collect the crystals, then pushed the finger into Marguerite’s mouth. He did it again before tapping out some on his palm, licking the crystals off while maneuvering Marguerite so that her back was to him on his lap. He curled his arms tight around her ribs and she leaned her head against his shoulder, eyes closed, sighing.
“Whatchu think we should do for her?” the bokor asked the zonbi, standing there with sharp prickles of starvation darting through his arms and legs.
The sorcerer bit softly at Marguerite’s neck. She shivered a little. He brought his hands to her thighs and spread them.
Still the bokor didn’t release the undead boy, suffering in the cage of his spell, as the fabric of Marguerite’s skirts bunched beneath his fingers, the hems of petticoat and gingham crawling up her shins, over her knees, across her thighs. Higher still, so that the springy, black nest between her legs peeped beneath the petticoat’s eyelets.
“What should we do for her?” he asked again, now much more to Marguerite than to the zonbi. He didn’t wait for an answer.
His fingers dipped below the valance of petticoat. Marguerite moaned softly. A scent as lush as the nest between her legs floated to the zonbi’s nostrils, flaring them. Marguerite’s lips parted, her breath quickened. She braced her heels against the chair’s lowest spindle. The bokor’s soft nibbling became sharp little bites and she brought a hand to his head, pressing his teeth harder against her neck.
Another wave of musk, much hotter, much stronger. Had the bokor’s psychic grip upon the zonbi not been so strong, the undead boy would have stumbled forward in a blood rage, blackened nails raking at the first neck they found.
Marguerite dropped her jaw and wailed in ecstasy. Her body went limp and panting. The bokor pulled her from his lap, cleared a space on his desk and draped her across. He pushed her skirts above her buttocks and, as he spread her legs once more, unlacing his trousers as he did, he at last released the zonbi with a blunt, “Out.”
The sounds of the bokor’s rutting faded as the zonbi stumbled at a half run. The young cockerel that had replaced the old rooster skittered away as the undead boy reached the lean-to at the side of the coop. There, the black feathered rooster hung headless over a tin bowl, the last of his blood grown cold and thick, dripping in lazy strands from the neck stump. The zonbi fell to his knees, grabbed the bowl and all but poured the blood into his mouth, making sounds very much like those of his master in the throes of fucking.
His withered veins began to fill. His heart, though always slow, increased its sluggish beat. Beyond the cypress swamp, the heralding drums of the Fet Ghedé began again.
When the bowl was empty, the zonbi lapped up what clung to its sides, then put his lips to the rooster’s severed neck and sucked like a babe at breast. When no more blood leaked from the carcass, he curled upon the straw scattered beneath the lean-to and fell into the stupor that was the sleep of zonbis.
But this time, something different. Instead of dark oblivion, he dreamed; a thing not done since breathing his last on his sick bed.
In the dream he was a living boy, again. He had a name, again. He was Gabriel, again. Sixteen years old, hale and whole. He had emotions, again. Surprise was the first to return. He gazed upon his arms, no longer desiccated sinew beneath slack, withered hide the color of muddy ash. Firm, field-hardened living muscle flexed beneath walnut-brown skin.
Then came the delight of warmth across his body. Not the wooly, humid damp of New Orleans that never relents before November, but the gentle velveteen warmth of an early spring.
Now came the scent of honeysuckle, once his favorite smell of spring. It should have been lost to him; as most scents were, other than odors that spurred him toward blood. He flared his nostrils, breathed deep, and filled his lungs.
Next came curiosity. Where was he? In the great cimetiére du Saint Louis, on its way to becoming a city of its own. A community of red brick and white plaster burial vaults with wrought iron fencing. Spires and crosses and elegant angels guarded eternally sealed entrances. Tidy crushed-shell streets and avenues stretched in all directions. So fine a place that Gabriel figured plenty of living folks wouldn’t mind moving to the city of the dead.
A rooster crowed somewhere. The smell of honeysuckle captured him again. He looked about, letting the scent of honeysuckle lead him down an alley. He stretched his arms to let his fingers trail the cracked plaster and the ridges of exposed brick for the simple luxury of feeling again.
When he turned a corner, the honeysuckle was joined by a burst of chili and peppercorn. He was at a green expanse awaiting more of New Orleans’ dead to move in. Here lay only a few modest slab graves with live oaks and fan palms as caretakers.
But in the midst danced Maman Brigitte, laughing and clutching a jug of pepper-infused rum. Her face was painted as a brilliant, white skull, her Haitian locks long and flying with her movement. Nearby, her black rooster flapped and crowed atop a honeysuckle bush. Maman made a final twirl, then stopped as if only just noticing Gabriel. She smiled, took a swig of the rum, and danced off to reveal a young woman standing behind her.
It was she! Seeming every bit as amazed as Gabriel to find herself in this dreamscape. An unopened picnic basket sat on a quilt next to the honeysuckle bush, which she glanced at in wonder for a moment before looking at Gabriel again. With a final crow, the rooster flapped away behind one of the live oaks, and Maman Brigitte’s laughter faded into the streets of the Cimetiére du Saint Louis.
As with Gabriel, this dream had made the young woman whole. Where her nose and cheek should be ravaged was healthy skin of rose-tinted ivory. She shook her head in amused wonder, then with her restored fingers untied her severe dark bonnet and pulled it from unruly curls of coppery hair. She settled onto the quilt and beckoned him with a gesture: Come. Come sit.
Gabriel hesitated. Sitting with a white woman in public would earn him a flaying or, worse, set him swinging from his neck among the sprawling limbs of a live oak. But, of course, this was a dream, and, in any case, the threat of a hemp necktie meant little to an undead boy. He reveled in the feel of the soft grass beneath bare feet as he crossed to her.
Close up, he saw the sprinkle of pale freckles across her nose and cheeks. He wanted to touch them to see if they would smudge beneath his fingers. And if he then put his fingers to his lips, would the freckles taste like honeysuckle nectar? Perhaps. In dream. But that didn’t mean he would be brazen and rude.
“Hello,” she said, as Gabriel sat across from her on the quilt. Through the wonder in her voice came a faint accent like those of the Irish laborers in New Orleans. “I’m Aileen Lannon.”
“I was Gabriel when I was livin’,” he replied, surprised to have a voice again.
“And have you no surname, Gabriel?”
“My old master was Belamy. But I ain’t called by first or last name now. Undead don’t have names.”
Her pale brow furrowed a moment. “Then we’ll simply be Gabriel and Aileen while we’re here. Why should formality rule, anyway, in this dreamland?” Her smile returned. “And I thank you for welcoming me to yours. Here I have this, again...” she tapped her nose, then fluttered her fingers, “...and these.”
“How come that is, that those’re missin’?” he asked, not unkindly. He was just overwhelmed with the curiosity that had stirred him to self-awareness on that rain-soaked morning.
If Aileen was offended, she didn’t show it. “My parents are Anglican missionaries. We spent some years in Morocco, ministering to a leper colony.”
A family of missionaries. That explained her severe way of dress. He wondered what she must think of New Orleans women with their bare arms and bright colors.
“So that’s what you are? A...?”
“Are you livin’, or that make you undead, like me?”
“I suppose, in a way, I’m a little of both. It’s a mysterious affliction.”
“There a cure for it?”
Aileen smiled a little sadly and shook her head.
“Yeah... no cure for me, neither.”
“You’re a zombie?”
Gabriel smiled at her white-folk pronunciation and nodded.
“Is it terrible, being a zombie?”
Her pretty forehead wrinkled again, this time with concern. His throat tightened, and his eyes began to sting and feel wet. Only when Aileen’s eyes rimmed in sympathy did he remember... this was what weeping felt like.
“I’m sorry,” she said, and looked down at her lap. “That was rude beyond rude...”
“No...” Gabriel swiped at his eyes. “You didn’t hurt my feelings. ’Cause it ain’t terrible, I guess, bein’ zonbi, ’cause terrible is a feelin’. When you’re zonbi there ain’t much feelin’ of any kind. ’Cept hunger. Always. And real bad if the blood’s kept from you. It can make you—”
A memory flashed. A horror done to someone. A horror he had done when the bokor had withheld a feeding to spur the zonbi to supreme hideousness. It had not been a horror when it happened because, as zonbi, all was only scorching, veracious need. Worse, even, than when he had nearly drowned fighting for his life on his way up from the depths of Lake Pontchartrain, its brackish water burning in his lungs.
But now it was the horror of his undead acts that was flooding in rather than water, and he thought, They should’ve let me drown. They should’ve let me go instead of savin’ me, just to die anyway from moldy lungs. To die and be raised up zonbi.
Gabriel was looking down at his hands now, splayed to either side of his knees where he sat on the colorful quilt. One of Aileen’s ivory-pink hands pressed over one of his walnut-brown ones. He lifted his gaze.
She had leaned very close, her forehead all crinkly with compassion. Her lips were parted, as if she wanted to say something but was uncertain. Her little tongue traced her lower lip, making it glossy.
Then she said, very suddenly, as if afraid she might stop herself before she got it all out, “Would you kiss me, Gabriel? I’ve never been kissed before. And I never will be, except in this dream.”
“But that ain’t true! You a beautiful woman, inside as well as out. Somebody’s gonna see that someday—”
“Don’t talk foolishness. The fate of my waking life is as sealed as yours. But here, in this place, we see each other’s true self. We saw it in each other even before this, when you looked at me on the street. And how you looked at me! Not with revulsion, not with pity, just seeing me. Were it possible for me to receive another’s kiss I wouldn’t want it. I won’t ever want another’s kiss. I want yours.”
Her lips were very close to his, her breath passing them and tickling his. He leaned forward, hoping he would to do this right. He had never kissed anyone other than his mama, on her cheek, just before he was sold off to Master Belamy.
The kiss was soft and moist and giving. A little unsure and shy. The next two were the same. Then it was as if their lips realized their own purpose. Their tongues touched lightly, with curiosity, and ran gently over the tops of their teeth before daring more deeply. Then their lips cupped each other more firmly. Joy and recognition spread from the blissful lips, and Gabriel’s heart sped.
His breath could hardly keep pace with his heart. His chest was pressed to Aileen’s, and he felt her heart yearning toward his. Her breath seemed eager to blend with his. The press of her hands against his back caused a wonderful anguish that pushed at the fly of his trousers. One of Aileen’s hands left his back to tug, trembling, at the collar of her dress and work buttons loose.
A flash of her smooth, ivory-pink throat and chest was too miraculous to resist. His lips followed the trail being blazed by her fingers. Beneath was a simple cotton bodice, its ribbon more easily loosed than buttons. Gabriel urged Aileen’s hands away and did the honors. A small, perfect breast was set free to rest in his palm, his dark thumb exploring the flushed nipple. Aileen’s breath became ecstatic and ragged.
He leaned in, surrounding it with his lips, cupping it with his tongue—
Blackness. Numbness. Abrupt and violent as a stone wall in collapse.
No sensation now except of a boot shoving his shoulder. Bereft of all emotion except a profound sense of loss. Above him swam the image of the bokor, furious and impatient. The sorcerer gave the zonbi a rough, boot-clad kick.
“Fuck’s wrong with you, boy! Get up! Get up when I say!”
The zonbi stirred with the sluggishness of an adolescent at daybreak, so enraging the bokor that he grabbed the empty feeding bowl and beat it across the zonbi’s back. The undead boy struggled to rise as the beating kept up until the bokor was breathless. He threw the bowl against the chicken coop wall, cracking a weathered plank and sending the chickens on the other side into fits.
The stale blood scent in the bowl drew the zonbi away from his fading sense of loss and toward the dried smears of last night’s feeding. He staggered after the fallen bowl, then was caught by the smell of the chickens on the other side of the cracked board. It was several minutes before the bokor’s vigorous, barking chant ensnared the zonbi again, drawing him away from his relentless scratching and gnawing at the damaged wall.
The day passed with little required of the I, other than holding down the nanny goat’s kid for slaughter and digging a trench in preparation for the accouchement of a new zonbi. That evening’s feeding was hardier than usual, supplemented with whatever vermin Marguerite snared. It had nothing to do with pity. The bokor had simply mistook the reason for the zonbi’s uncommon indolence. As a pragmatic farmer will mind the welfare of his only ox so, too, the sorcerer decided he mustn’t under-feed his most valuable brute.
That night, the undead boy had the merest trace of a dream; a watery image, as though looking up at the surface of Lake Pontchartrain. A glimpse of a girl barely remembered, bright copper hair spilling over a severe black dress. A honeysuckle bush. An open grave. The herald drums of Fet Ghedé, feverish in rhythm. The girl saying, “Is that you? Gabriel. Are you there?”
When the zonbi’s eyes fluttered open at dawn, a single word followed him from the distant, sunken dream. A word both familiar and foreign: Gabriel.
The zonbi returned to his master’s cabin at sundown, dragging with him the mud-caked shovel used to finish the trough that awaited a fresh corpse. The herald drums of Fet Ghedé throbbed once again beyond the cypress swamp as he shuffled across the cabin’s little porch. As they faded, something like a premonition made the undead boy stop where he was. Inside, the bokor was speaking to Marguerite, pride and anticipation in his voice.
“...his boy say the vault just got sealed this mornin’. The death came off real natural-like. Ain’t nobody noticed my hand in it. But now’s the tricky part: gettin’ the corpse from there to here.”
The zonbi watched them slurp warm beer. A breeze through the southern window made the flame of the coal lamp tremble. It stirred the herbs and vines in the rafters, made the tiny severed feet of raccoons and chickens hanging from twine softly rattle.
Marguerite’s voice was tentative. “Afram, ma très beau, I... I don’t say what I’m gonna say ’cause I doubt you, but... don’t much like this bein’ done right now.” She added quickly when she saw the bokor’s eyes narrow, “It’s just, this all happenin’ durin’ the Fet. The l’wha gonna be roamin’—”
“Who you think’s beloved by the two most fearsome, the most dread?” The bokor thrust his mug toward the shrines to Bacalou and Sousson-Pannan, sloshing beer onto the plank floor. He gave his chest a thump with his free hand. “What l’wha you think’ll dare challenge me?”
He banged his beer mug back onto the table, and Marguerite said quickly, “You right, ’course, you right. My worry’s only for you. I know you got the mayor’s blessin’ but, still... he’ll be the first to take honors with the rope if this don’t go right.”
The bokor’s ire cooled and he patted Marguerite’s hand. “Got more’n his blessin’ just this afternoon, by the way. His boy brought the first half of payment, along with the funeral news.” He smiled, slow and smug. “This gonna move us to the edge of town, you an’ me. We gonna live like that high-yella bitch that put those scars on your back with her buckle.”
A delighted, vengeance-tinged laugh came from Marguerite. The bokor went on with even more bluster. “Maybe even buy her house right out from under. Make you the madame. Make her go back to earnin’ on ’er back. Put that fancy buckle in your hand.” He leaned in and, just before catching her mouth with his, asked, “You like that, ma cocotte?”
He sat back and they lifted their mugs, again.
“‘’Sides, the l’wha don’t give a shit about the white part of the cimetiére,” the bokor said. “Mayor’s boy said his people’ll gonna clear me a path in there tonight. Councilmen all real eager to get their message across to that fuckin’ preacher. Him stickin’ his high-turned nose in New Orleans’ business, stirrin’ up shit, messin’ with our traditions. City gotta show him the same hospitality it shows the Quakers.”
Marguerite smiled. “This’ll get their point across. Wish we could see him when he sets eyes on his child raised up zonbi.”
The bokor chuckled. “It’ll make him see things right.”
Marguerite gave a wink. “Aw, don’t know why he’d be so broke up. You ever see that girl? She was part dead anyway.”
The bokor’s laugh was cut short by the clatter of the shovel as it dropped. He barely had time to look the zonbi’s way, saying through a lazy smile, “Well, ’bout damn time—” before the zonbi stumbled forward and caught the bokor’s throat in his nails.
The zonbi could hear Marguerite’s screams. He felt her fingers raking his shoulders. He felt her fists knocking his head. But when the bokor’s table with its unguents, oils, and coal lamp tipped, the flames lapped across the plank floor and chased her out the door. Her bawling faded into the woods.
The bokor gurgled and kicked. His eyes bulged, his hands flailed, but he made no impact, even when his thumb found an eye and jammed through. His tongue, jutting from his mouth, couldn’t form spells to subdue. His jaw ratcheted, leaving his tongue wagging by a bloody scrap.
The zonbi’s long, thick nails sank through flesh, muscle, and tendon. His thumbs punctured the throat. His fingers caught on bone. A glorious gush pumped around the zonbi’s hands as the bokor’s head waggled on its broken perch.
The lush smell of blood filled the undead boy’s nose along with the smell of burning wood and flesh; his own flesh, and that of the bokor. Maman Brigitte’s laughter was in the roar of the flames. And just before the last of the sorcerer’s life trickled away, as the fire finished its upward climb to sizzle around their heads, the zonbi spoke his first since death.
“I am... Gabriel...”
At first he thought this was the echo of his own voice, then realized it was Aileen’s. The hot yellow of fire dissolved into the cooler colors of a spring day, the stenches of smoke and burnt flesh into the scents of honeysuckle, peppercorn, and chili.
He became aware of pain, but not agony like that which the bokor had surely felt as his flesh crisped. This was only the discomfort of crushed shell poking his cheek. He lay belly down on a path in the Cimetiére du Saint Louis.
He sat up and looked around as Aileen called again, “Gabriel...”
He found her in the wide, green expanse where only a few modest slab graves were scattered among live oaks and fan palms. She sat on the quilt beside the honeysuckle bush, the picnic basket unlatched to display its bounty.
Nearby, Maman Brigitte—the Voudon l’wha who looked after the dead and dispensed justice to the wicked—laughed and danced with a bottle of peppered rum in her hand.
Gabriel came to sit with Aileen, and Maman Brigitte offered them drinks of rum before dancing off into the cemetery, her rooster companion crowing somewhere among the vaults and statuary.
Fast-paced action and smart, stylish writing are the hallmarks of K.L. Nappier’s speculative thrillers, mysteries, and dark fiction. Some call her style eclectic, some call it crossover. Moving between genres may keep her books out of the mainstream, but once you’ve discovered her, you’ll understand what thousands of readers already know and why critics think she is one of the best authors writing independent fiction.