Friday, October 21, 2022

“Inheritance” • by Carol Scheina

Grandma never hid her head, which instead of hair, had numerous strands of inch-long icicles jutting out like a frozen porcupine. They dripped in summertime’s heat and sharpened with winter’s bite.

“We have a frost elf ancestor in our line.” She held her head high. Proud.

The ice-hair skipped a generation. Only I inherited that cold halo. When I was younger, I’d eye people’s soft, warm hair.

“You’re beautiful,” Grandma said. “Be proud.”

But I’d blast the hairdryer to melt my ice, cold drops forming constellations of goosebumps on my shoulders. I’d wrap my head in thick, scratchy scarves. I’d keep a smile frozen on my face when people asked if my icicles were real.

Grandma had been gone a week when, in her honor, I decided to venture outside with my icicles in all their glory, tinted pale blue in the frosty morning. No more hiding our inheritance.

The coffee barista stared long, and I tilted my head for a better view, like Grandma would’ve done. “Runs in the family.” I kept my voice strong, proud.

“Beautiful,” he said. “They sparkle.”

I heard Grandma’s voice in his words, and they warmed a smile onto my face. “Thank you.”


Carol Scheina is a deaf speculative fiction author from the Northern Virginia region. Many of her stories were thought up while sitting in local traffic, resulting in tales that have appeared in Cossmass Infinities, Daily Science Fiction, Escape Pod, and other publications. You can find more of her work at



Anonymous said...

Beautiful story!