“Anastasia Witchhazel” is the naughty persona of one Wolfen Moondaughter, Asst Reviews Editrix for the comics industry webzine Sequential Tart, which she has written for since the late summer of 2001. Wolfie has also written for the Japanese pop culture magazine Newtype USA, as well as contributed to Andy Mangel’s refrence book, Animation on DVD. Wolfie is also a freelance artist, having done spot illustrations for Dragonlance, as well as a few covers for various publications and a number of private commisions. And she’s self-published an urban-fantasy novel, Memory of the Brightwing, about shapshifters and otherworldy beings living on an island in Lake Michigan, just outside of Chicago. In real life, Wolfie was born and raised just outside of Chicago, went to College there for two years, and lived inside the city itself for five. Now she’s trapped in hell, otherwise known as Florida.
Under the guise of Anastasia, Wolfie wrote the title story from Chase and Other Stories. (That would be the “Chase” part, and not “Other Stories”. *Wink*) An excerpt:
The scents of crushed berries and mint, coupled with the sound of boiling water, slowly roused Bryer.
“Smells good, Mother,” he sighed happily, not quite ready to open his eyes. He rolled onto his back, and was vaguely puzzled by the rustle of leaves beneath him. A memory flashed on the inside of his closed lids, of Jehna, her eyes wide in fear as she was carried off by a Hauk—just like he himself had been, a mere moment later.
His instincts screamed for him to remain still, an ancient imperative. He held his breath, thinking to himself, “They only like living flesh; if it thinks you’ve died….”
A nudge to his shoulder startled him into inhaling with a sharp gasp. He still refused to open his eyes, though. He refused to look Death in the eye; he’d never claimed to be brave.
Tiny bits of heat struck his face; he flinched, but otherwise remained as he was. The pinpricks came again; this time he felt something wet roll down his face after. Rain? On top of everything else? Maybe the god of the sky was weeping for him in advance. As if a sky god would care about someone who spent most of his time below-ground; the thought made him laugh in spite of himself.
A chuckle in his ear snapped his eyes wide open, taking in the vast, darkening sky. Despite his best efforts to the contrary, he felt compelled to look to his left, where a smile with wings awaited him.
He’d never seen anything more beautiful in his life.
“Idiot!” he hissed at himself. “That smile is going to eat you! It’s not beautiful, it’s deadly!”
“Can’t it be both?” another part of him wondered—doubtless the part of him that was attached to his now-stirring member.
“Kwyck always warned me not to think with that head,” he reminded himself, “but I didn’t think he meant it so literally….”