Though I Work in the Shadows by Hunter Blackwell
“I heard the land is cursed,” the blond says to the young boy. They work on planting tomato seeds. We made the ever-so-silent-acknowledgement-eye-contact when I walked into the gardens. But nothing more. “If you listen in the middle of the night, you can hear the wails of those who died in the fire.”
The girl shrugs, handing him a seed. “That’s what I’ve heard. Make sure to cover the whole seed.”
“But if the ground is cursed, why do all your plants grow so big and so fast?”
“It’s part of the curse.”
I brush my fingers over some basil and watch the stalk rise up. I’m careful to keep my hand low to avoid them detecting the color change of my hand.
“I also heard that the only girl that survived the fire comes back on the anniversary and chants something over the land to keep it cursed. Now, don’t move from this spot, Julius. I’ll be right back.”
The boy nods, patting the dirt down. He then looks at me. I gesture towards my hands. Water falls from my fingertips. A sprig pokes up through the ground. I touch it. My fingers turn green and the stalk rises. It continues up. Buds form, turning from green to ripe red tomatoes. I pick one off and hand it to him.
“How did you-?”
“Some call it a curse, others call it a blessing.”
Hunter Blackwell has previous work in Rose Quartz Magazine and a fantasy short story in The Write Launch. She’s a graduate of The College of William and Mary with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Creative Writing. She currently resides in Hampton, VA. She’s a queer writer of color, who obsesses over the latest Marvel movie and always looking for new crockpot recipes.