“Though She Be But Little,” by C. S. E. Cooney
What an odd story. I started reading it in an idle moment and then couldn’t stop. The mysterious silver sky that turns everyone into what they really are is a great device.
I had never heard of Bunco, so some bits of the story were more opaque to me than others.
Cooney on the creative process:
“I’d almost forgotten the origin story of this story by the time I finally finished it three years later. I’ve reconstructed most of the pieces since then, but what I can tell you for sure about it is, when I stumbled across the first three scenes from ‘Though She Be But Little’ in January earlier this year (then titled ‘The Post-Argentum Face-Off of Emma Anne and the Loping Man’), when I was looking for inspiration in my ‘To Be Finished’ folder, I had no idea where this story came from, why I wrote it, what I was thinking, and how the heck I meant to finish it.
“Totally clueless. I just read through it, barked out a giggle-cuss, and then Carlos Hernandez, who was in the other room asked, ‘What happened? Why are you laughing?’
“To which I replied something like, ‘I just found the weirdest half of a story I ever wrote in my whole life—including The Big Bah-Ha!—which is saying something!!!—and I have no memory of writing it.’
“I was having the experience, I realized, of coming to my own writing the way an absolute stranger would.”