Short Story: The Temple’s Posthole


by M.K. Hutchins

posthole-2=300wM.K. Hutchins’ YA fantasy novel Drift is both a Junior Library Guild Selection and a VOYA Top Shelf Honoree. Her short fiction appears in IGMS and Daily Science Fiction. She studied archaeology at BYU, giving her the opportunity to compile ancient Maya genealogies, excavate in Belize, and work as a faunal analyst. She blogs at


Ayin ducked into the temple, one hand wrapped around her ribs, the other one clutching her son’s hand. The poor filled this place — some had broken bones, some writhed with yellow snake fever. The priestesses patiently wended through them, administering bandages, salves, and teas.

“It smells funny in here,” said her son, Tzi.

A thick, wet cough tensed in Ayin’s lungs. She swallowed it. “Temples are a place of reverence. Speak softer.”

He rolled his eyes heavenward and sighed loudly. Only seven years old, and so dramatic.

One of the priestesses approached — a pretty woman with a round face. “Welcome to our temple. May the gods see fit to bring you healing.”

The cough clawed up Ayin’s throat. She dropped Tzi’s hand and covered her mouth. She hacked, throat burning. Tzi rubbed her back.



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