Sacred Gemma FilesAfter God’s playboy son had touched her heart ventricle-deep, so intimately, the saint knew it could never belong to her alone again— thus willed it to the Church, who made of it a reliquary: Gold outside, plump and smooth, inset with jewels. It now holds pride of place on a velvet cushion, underneath the cross, behind the altar. Inside, the thing itself— cauterized by joy—lies dusty, burnt black, blood-clogged. Through a tiny glass window, we can watch it strain to beat, call down once more that piercing kiss. Why does her bridegroom not answer? Its stench goes up to heaven, gilds the clouds with rot, sad and sore as any unanswered prayer.
Former film critic, journalist and teacher turned award-winning horror author Gemma Files is probably best known for her Hexslinger series (A Book of Tongues, A Rope of Thorns and A Tree of Bones, all from ChiZine Publications). She has also published two short fiction collections and two chapbooks of poetry. Her next book is We Will All Go Down Together: Stories of the Five-Family Coven (CZP).