The Virgin Played Bass by Maria Dahvana Headley

Published: Uncanny Magazine Jan/Feb 2016

Word Count: Approx 8,700 words

Reviews: Tangent, Quick Sip Reviews, Rocket Stack Rank

Description (from the author)

A riff on the Town Musicians of Bremen, The Master and Margarita, and a few other things, this is a dark novelette about a band touring in a warzone. It was inspired by a story told to me by an accordionist friend, and I went a lot of places with it. Commissioned by editors Michael Damian Thomas, Lynne M. Thomas, and Michi Trota for Uncanny Magazine.

The first time Lazarus Mary resurrected, we found her crucified and hanging from a tree. We heard her shouting, and when we found her, she was very angry, her hands nailed to the branches with iron spikes. She was only a little girl, but her voice carried. Beside her there was a scroll that said something about trumpets and about angels, something about how proper miracles never happened in this world we lived in now, and how there was only black bread to pray over, never any fishes.

“Who will come out of the cave?” That’s the line I remember best from that screed. There were shreds of old religions all over the place, and some of those religions included the worship of plastic spoons, and others included the worship of witches.

“Somebody grabbed me from behind while I was pissing,” said Lazarus Mary. “I didn’t do any damage to them. I didn’t even see them. I regret it. How many lives left, Cat?”

“Enough,” said The Pet, and pried out the spikes with his claws, splashing Lazarus Mary’s wounds with vodka as he went.