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Lethe

Maya Chhabra writes science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Cast of Wonders and Anathema; her poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, among other venues. She has a middle grade novel coming out this year and is currently seeking representation for a YA fantasy novel.
When they told her she was coming back to life, she believed them. She could already feel her shadowed senses sharpening, the grey path coming into focus. Only she did not recognize the man who led her.
I am Eurydice, she thought, but who is he?
They said he was her husband, who loved her and had braved death for her. They said she had loved him very much, above. They said it would all come back to her. But no one really knew. This had never happened before.
He must never know, she decided. What heartbreak he would feel, poor stranger, if he found out the woman he had risked all to save was no longer there.
She would listen carefully to everything he said, to everything he sang. She would mine his innocent utterances for clues, and spin them into an approximation of memory. She would let him know there were patches in her recollection but not that their past together was a torn void.
She would act the part of the old Eurydice so well he would never know the difference. She would embrace him as if she still knew him enough to love. She would never slip up, never let her guard down....
When he turned and her senses began to gray again, it was almost a relief. She only saw him for a second--not long enough to tell if she recognized his face.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, April 21st, 2020


I wrote this story on the train back from the opera, having just seen Orfeo ed Euridice. I'd been thinking about the myth after discussing it with a friend who was writing their own retelling. The concept jumped out at me after seeing the opera, and I wrote it on my phone in one go.

- Maya Chhabra
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