The moon came up and the sun went down.
–Ursula Vernon - Jackalope Wives - c.2014
I’m terrible at reading magazines I have discovered. I have a subscription to Apex and I don’t think I’ve read more than one or two stories over the past year. But when Ursula Vernon has a story, well, I gotta read that. And you can too, because it is available free to read online.
Jackalope Wives is the story of a sullen boy who becomes infatuated with the idea of a Jackalope wife. They dance nearby, entrancing all who spot them, but they always take off before anyone can catch them. One night, however, he manages to catch one. But sometimes you really shouldn’t get what you wish for. And unable to clean up the mess he has made he brings it to his grandmother.
I do love Vernon’s writing. Everything just comes alive, even those little sketches and paragraphs she sometimes shares on her blog. You should check it out if you haven’t already. She also posts art on occasion ;)
The book that came into my mind as I read this was Margo Lanagan’s The Brides of Rollrock Island even though that is a very unfair comparison and really they aren’t too similar. And whereas Brides features selkies and seals, Jackalope Wives instead features rabbits and, well, jackalope wives. But both involve magic and shape-shifting, and men stealing skins in order to gain wives. Often without thinking about the consequences or what the selkie/jackalope wants or desires.
It is also a story about responsibilities and choice. And, well, life in general. You really should read it, no excuses not to. Its wonderful.