"The Suicide Witch" by Vylar Kaftan is today's offering from the Daily Science Fiction e-zine (DailyScienceFiction.com). A witch/mortician enslaved to a Duke in a feudal-China-inspired fantasy world, seizes a chance to escape from bondage when the Duke's son comes to her for aid that only she can render.
Mrs. Kaftan is an expert story-teller--a real craftsman. Her command of dark imagery puts the reader right into the dank, cellar prison of the witch and creates a mood of horror, revulsion, and hope all at once. The story is so well-written that the predictable plot may be overlooked. I debated between 6 and 7 rocket dragons, and finally decided to give it 7.
Mrs. Kaftan is no stranger to short, speculative fiction across all sub-genres. She has an impressive list of publishing credits, including a Nebula Award nomination.