about the author

Berit Ellingsen was born in South-Korea, grew up in Norway and has lived in Portugal, Sweden and the US. Her stories have appeared in various online literary journals and print anthologies, most recently or forthcoming in Sein und Werden, SmokeLong Quarterly and Metazen. Berit’s debut novel, The Empty City, is inspired by the philosophy of nonduality.

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The Celtic Itch

Berit Ellingsen

He has a Celtic itch, even without Celtic ancestry and a knowledge that amounts to ghosts. He feels hunger only as a sadness in the body.

In the local bog, he crawls and shouts for banshees and corpse-lights. He wants spectacle, but it never happens.

The world is dark and ugly in the marsh. He fears little cancer animals are growing warm inside his flesh. When that idea races through his mind, he flinches.

By the roots of an oak he finds a baby shrew. The animal sniffles and scratches the ground. He touches it so gently on the back it doesn’t notice.

Some years past, a street performer with a Celtic harp bowed to him like Oberon at court. Now he is a fae with long hair and sleeves.

In his nightmares, victims in a nearby town beg and scream as they are shot, but his mind remains quiet. He understands life perfectly.

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