Fantasybookspot.com just posted Ben Peek’s story from PAPER CITIES, “The Funeral, Ruined,” on their website.
It was the weight that woke Linette. Her weight. The weight of herself.
The flat red sky above Issuer was waiting when she opened her eyes. Five hours before, when she had closed her eyes, it had been a dark, ugly brown-red: the middle of the night. Now it was the clear early morning red, and a thick, muggy warmth was seeping through her open window with the new light. There would be no rain today. Just the heat. Just the sweat. Just that uncomfortable, hot awareness of herself that both brought. The worse was Linette’s short, dark hair, dirty with sweat and ash. The ash that had come through the open window during the night. It had streaked her face and settled in her mouth and she could taste it, dry, burnt and unappealing in her gums. Her left arm, with its thick, straight scars across the forearm, felt heavy and ached; but it always ached. It was a dull, lazy ache in the heat, and a sharp, pointed pain in the cold, as if, with the latter, the brittle weather was digging into her fractured bone to snap it. Her feet, tangled at the bottom of her coarse, ash stained brown sheets, sweated uncomfortably, and her long, straight back could feel the sweaty outline of the bronze frame beneath the thin mattress that she lay on. There was no end to herself, Linette thought, and she would never be able to sleep again, so aware of it was she.
You can read the full story here.