Danielle Elliott is particularly interested in working-class voices, writing against the bourgeois novel and its constipated obsession with interiority. Intending to write narratives with outward angled perspectives, she is currently redrafting her first novel, which is set in a near-future dystopia that is a nod to George Orwell’s magnum opus ‘1984’ and William Gibson’s ground-breaking cyberpunk novel, ‘Neuromancer.’ The dominating genre of her work is speculative fiction that focuses on exploring dialogues with a dynamic environment, continually asking the questions ‘what if?’ and ‘why?’

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A Rose From the Dust

The contribution in this anthology, ‘A Rose from Dust’, is an extract from a larger work but adapted for the short story format. The original piece spans centuries with a complex plot that reconceptualizes ruling powers as a cabal of inhuman monsters. It has required detailed historical research and biblical re-interpretations but is queued as a subsequent project. The extract focuses on poverty in Georgian Manchester, but with a gothic twist; it emphasizes that Manchester’s prominence and success in the industrial era was built on deprivation and was as the future Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, described in 1844 – ‘as great a human exploit; as Athens.’



A Rose From the Dust

‘Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was in 1803, whenas I was a novitiate at The Convent of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin, and I was as thee – made in God’s image. Alas, my flesh has been corrupted and I am more akin to the Lilith of Babylonian demonology than thy Adam or Eve. Ergo I seek not thy shriven, sith I am beyond thy jurisdiction.’

‘I am an ordained priest, permitted to minister…’

‘Whisht. I beseech thee listen. T’is thy opinion, not thy absolution, I seek… Forsooth, I am an abomination, albeit my Husband, Luke, would never believe. Innumerable hours did he spend studying my body samples through a lens but died without answers. Natheless, he made excuses for my sins and reasoned if I had existed as an unconscious savage then I was not responsible. He would say, “Do we blame the snake for the prey it kills? No, because t’is in its nature and it knows no better.” T’was a kindness, he was a good man, but I was unable to confess all. The wintry morn I first met Luke, I was expiring under the blaze of the rising sun. He thought not of the pustule eruptions on my skin; thus, I was gathered into a carriage, conveyed to his lodgings and nursed to health – as I said, Luke was a good man. Being preserved from death, infamy and sin, I remained and married him. For Luke was a surgeon, and his medical procurements were civilising, but my salvation did not begin with him. 

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