On the bustling streets of Anglia, where an unknown force has the power to turn words into truths, the agents of the Communication Crimes Bureau monitor words, always on the lookout for a wayward metaphor or idle hyperbole that may suddenly burst into life. One such agent, Ben Paragraph, is looking for a distraction from a pain he doesn't want to admit—so when the case of a fugitive in possession of one of the world's oldest fables presents itself, he leaps at the chance to pursue. But when he finds Salome Guerra, she offers a more compelling, challenging distraction—to help her find her missing brother. The two not only discover a strange conspiracy taking place in university classrooms and rundown writing-group speakeasies, but the depth and power of The Word itself—to grip the whole world, or even one person's suffering, and unmake it, if you say the right words.
"Originally," says Brandon, "I just wanted to write a weird mystery because I like the weird, and I wanted to do something softer with the frame of the hard-boiled. But I had also been thinking a lot lately about words, about the careless use of them, and about their capacity to not only reveal goodness or truth, but wrap people up in prisons of lies, suffering, and violence. That gave birth to Anglia. I look forward to sharing this world with you, and I hope that walking down its cobblestone streets will be as interesting and revealing to readers as it has been for me to write."
The story begins December 2017 in Eyedolon Magazine.
Brandon O’Brien is a performance poet and writer from Trinidad. His work has been shortlisted for the 2014 Alice Yard Prize for Art Writing and the 2014 and 2015 Small Axe Literary Competitions and is published in Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons, Reckoning, and New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean, among others. He is also the poetry editor of FIYAH Literary Magazine.
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