Issue 6 cover

In The Garden of Rust and Salt

by Ferrett Steinmetz

Issue 6 :: Summer 2010 (stories)

Every day, before Evelyn became Queen of the Junkyard, Hir Becken made her put on the heavy leather explorer's outfit. It consisted of a set of scratched goggles, a thick apron that had nearly buckled her knees the first time she'd tried it on, and oversized Kevlar gloves that were so big she had to tie them around her wrists with rubber bands.

Hir Becken said she was the best employee it had ever had. And at nine, Evelyn had never had a job that made her happier.

"Please, Pops," she asked, late at night when they were roasting weenies over an oildrum fire. "Can we stay here?"

"We'll see," he said, scratching his salt-and-peppered beard. That meant no. She knew that by now.

Evelyn had two duties: the first was fetching the smaller items out of the mazes of rusted metal. She'd follow the faint 'bleep' of her RFID-chip detector down long corridors of teetering
machinery and broken glass, until she finally uncovered a siphoning reblower half-buried underneath a pile of old storage drums.


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"In The Garden of Rust and Salt" is roughly 5200 words.

After twenty years of wandering desolate as a writer, Ferrett Steinmetz attended the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop in 2008 and was rejuvenated. Since then, he's sold stories to Asimov's Science Fiction (twice!), Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, among others, and otherwise has a marvelous collection of very personalized rejection letters. He lives in Cleveland with his wife, a well-worn copy of Rock Band ("Painkiller," Expert, four stars), and a friendly ghost. Should you want more of Ferrett Steinmetz, he blogs about puns, politics, and polyamory at The Watchtower of Destruction (