After a story is accepted for publication, the editorial process continues. The wise and savvy editors at The Southern Review helped make “Zolaria” a stronger story; they also made it shorter. For a window into what got left on the cutting room floor, check out the original final lines below. I once asked the audience at a reading to vote on which ending they preferred, the abbreviated or extended. The results? Dead even. Sigh.
The full story can be downloaded here in PDF format.
Ogan Veen crawls from the mud to meet us. He whispers that I am a coward, and I agree. His skin is the texture of the scum below the dam and his hair is like the fur of a drowned raccoon.
He whispers, what about your children?
He whispers, so you think now they’re safe?