The Writ of Years
by Brit Mandelo
Edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Cover Artist: Sam Wolfe Connelly
Review by Sam Tomaino
Tor Online Story
Date: 30 December 2013
"The Writ of Years" by Brit Mandelo -+- "There was once a quill that could not be held by any hand, or so the tale generally began." That's how this opens. Our narrator, a writer named Mel Ashton, tells us that he needed to know the meaning of this folk tale. He tells us that he was going through the objects in an estate sale and found a curious box. When he opens the box, inside was an old-fashioned writing quill. When he tries to touch it, he suffers grievous injury. A second attempt, tried a little more cautiously, still prevents him from holding the quill. Finally, he puts on a glove and is able to not only pick up the quill but instantly writes a story which sells. Things get creepier from there because he knows there will be a price to pay, but can't stop himself. Nicely chilling!