As author Darcie Little Badger says of her story, “I tried to learn Lipan, but so little remains. Haunted by the ghosts of my dying language, I channeled my anger and sorrow into a story.” Check out this Twitter thread in which she explains the roots of her unforgettable Gothic tale.
Here is a brief taste:
Stairs had been chiseled into the incline between the beach and elevated meadow. As if summoned, a woman in white stepped onto the granite landing. Although her face was hidden by a lace veil, Emily recognized the willowy shape and unflagging straight posture.
“Thank you, Franklin!” Loretta called. That low, lilting voice had given Emily a thousand stories, a thousand admonishments, and a hundred thousand tender endearments. “Albert and I can manage the rest.”
As the skiff broke away from land, the sisters met in the middle of the staircase. “I missed you!” Emily cried. “Let me see your face!”
Loretta turned away from the sea and lifted her veil. “Have three years changed me?” she asked.
“Well … ” Loretta’s skin, once richer than dark amber, was sallow. She must rarely sun it. The new look complemented Whalebone Island, as dreary a place as any. Its grasses, brush, and scraggly trees were wind-stooped and stunted by their inhospitable lot. Emily wondered if the island, with time, would leech the color from her cheeks, too.
“Why do you cover your face?” she asked.
“Because I hate the way they stare.”
“Everyone but you, Darling.” Loretta smiled. “Let’s hurry home. A surprise is waiting.”
Read “The Whalebone Parrot” by Darcie Little Badger – or listen to the podcast version – here.