The ladies at court call me Needlepoint. Princess of Pins. Lady of the Skein.
I walk to the far end of the gallery, to my seat below the leaded window panes which cast the brightest sunlight. I take my place before my canvas, tacked onto its frame.
I pull out one of my needles and go to work.
As a child I got a fish bone lodged in my mouth. Even now the thought of it evokes a visceral reaction. Beware of sharp, pointy things, no matter how small they are.
This story appears in Issue 242 of Interzone. Print editions are available directly from TTA Press and Kindle editions from Amazon US / Amazon UK.
…a dark story succinctly told, a tragic tale of repression and frustration, and a portrait of life in the cloisters of a feudal society. Robert Brown for Tangent
…adeptly walks the line between subtext and internal dialogue, and it ends with a heavy dollop of poetic justice to top it all off. Michelle Ristuccia for Tangent (Both reviews can be read here N.B. spoilers!)
‘Needlepoint’ from Priya Sharma is a rarity in Interzone in being a fantasy story verging into horror. Lady Agnes is older than the usual run of the ladies that surround Albion’s queen but she’s acquired a degree of admiration from the king and so is stuck in their company as they run the petty schemes that make their lives bearable in the closed winter court. Adventurers returned from a far voyage are a welcome relief but bring the simmering tensions to a point. Literally. For me this was a bit too long and wordy but the sense of place was good and it’s absolutely no surprise that Sharma has had previous stories published in Interzone’s sister publication Black Static. John Fairhurst