Surprise! On December 21, 2022, we’re heading back to Lastings in a new Love Has Claws story: Shuck.
Shuck is a novella set in the small coastal town of Lastings, where the sea and its secrets are foremost in everyone’s minds. Robin, a man from the nearby city, is spending his holiday in a rental cottage at Sickle Cove, hoping to finish his book and start a new story for himself. He’s seeking inspiration.
He finds the siren.
The siren has followed a strange, compelling song across the sea and to the cove in Lastings. There, night after night, xe listens, and thinks, and hopes— and finally reveals xemself.
Shuck is about two beings recognising themselves in the other without exchanging a word. It’s what I have been calling “sad queer wicker man”, though actually no one dies in this story, at which I’m sure we’re all surprised! But mostly it’s about connection, and inspiration, and finding the absolutely perfect chip. Like all of the Love Has Claws series, Shuck is a standalone story, but you may wish to read (or reread!) other works in the series.
Love Has Claws #4
Robin leaves the city and travels to the small coastal town of Lastings, hoping a holiday will help soothe his recent heartbreak. Staying at a remote cottage on the seafront, Robin spends his days walking along the cliffs and following the jagged line of the coast, while at night he plays guitar and sings his troubles to the sea.
He doesn’t expect the sea to begin singing back.
The siren has spent xyr long life singing to humans of their desires and yet has never considered the music of xyr own. When a compelling song reaches xyr hunting ground, the siren follows it to a strange new shore, where xe listens to the lone figure playing on the dock and wonders about raising xyr voice in response.
One night, the siren draws close enough to Robin to be seen.
Before long, however, a third figure joins their chorus: the Silver Maiden, one of Lastings’ ghosts. Powerful and mercurial, the Maiden has her own agenda and intends to use Robin and siren to fulfil it—even if the whole town of Lastings will suffer as a result. Can Robin and the siren reach an understanding in time to break free of the Maiden’s thrall? Or will they remain unheard?
Content Warnings: drinking of alcohol; mentions of the consumption of human flesh; abduction.