“Hybrid Vigor,” by Olivia Wylie, appears in Stolen by the Fae, the 6th volume in the anthology series A Procession of Faeries.
The examining room smells of chemicals and cold meat. Sometimes I wish my sense of smell was more Human.
The metal drawer slides open on its rollers. It’s designed to hold a full-grown man; the little body on it seems dwarfed by the expanse of metal.
Pulling on gloves, I lean in, studying the child. Patricia coughs nervously. “So, what do you think?”
“I think that a wrong’s been done here,” I murmur, “but I imagine you mean do I know who did it…”
Gently, I lift one eyelid. Eyes completely dilated. I was afraid of that.
“Let me guess, these children didn’t die from drowning.”
“True. We can’t figure out what actually was the cause of death, we’ve listed it as massive systemic failure.”
“Close enough.” I agree, surprised at the sound of my own voice. It’s gone cold.
Straightening, I glance up at Patricia. “And why didn’t you tell the police your suspicions?”
The coroner shrugs guiltily. “Well, the last time something weird came up…you were a hell of a lot more use, to be honest.”
I nod, but I don’t drop my gaze from hers. “You need to tell them about these. They need to learn to keep records on murderers who are not Human.”
Patricia nods, her eyes gone wide. She swallows hard.
“Um…if this is a murder, we might have a bigger problem.”
That pulls me up and no mistake. “Explain?”
Patricia taps her forms.
“Yolanda had a best friend, Monika. She’s still missing.”
—from “Hybrid Vigor,” by Olivia Wylie, in Stolen by the Fae
Olivia Wylie is a professional horticulturist, business owner, and bard who specializes in the restoration of neglected gardens. When the weather keeps her indoors, she enjoys exploring the plant world and the complexities of being human in writing. Under her shared pen-name of O.E. Tearmann, she writes the hopeful queer cyberpunk series Aces High, Jokers Wild. Her solo work focuses on illustrated works of ethnobotany, intended to make the intersection of human history, storytelling, and plant evolution accessible to a wider audience. She lives in Colorado with a very patient husband and a rather impatient cat.