Roshani Chokshi: An Excerpt
Written by
She Writes
January 2019
Written by
She Writes
January 2019

The following is an excerpt from our guest editor Roshani Chokshi's latest release The Gilded Wolves

Six months after Laila had started working for Séverin, she and

Enrique had been playing cards in the star-gazing room when Séverin

walked in carrying a dirty, underfed Polish girl with eyes bluer than a

candle’s heart. Séverin set her down on the couch, introduced her as his

engineer, and that was that. Only later did Laila discover more about

her. Arrested for arson and expelled from University, Zofia possessed a

rare Forging affinity for all metals and a sharp mind for numbers.

When she first came to L’Eden, Zofia spoke only to Séverin and

seemed utterly uncommunicative when anyone else approached her.

One day, Laila noticed that when she brought desserts for meetings,

Zofia only ate the pale sugar cookies, leaving all the colorfully

decorated desserts untouched. So, the next day, Laila left a plate of

them outside Zofia’s door. She did that for three weeks before she got

busy one day in the kitchens and forgot. When she opened the door to

air the room, she found Zofia holding out an empty plate and staring at

her expectantly. That had been a year ago.

Now, without saying a word, Zofia grabbed a clean mixing bowl,

filled it with water and guzzled it on the spot. She dragged her arm

across her mouth. Then she reached for a bowl of icing. Laila smacked

her hand, lightly, with a rolling pin. Zofia glowered, then dipped an inkstained

finger into the icing anyway. A moment later, she began

absentmindedly stacking the measuring cups according to size. Laila

waited patiently. With Zofia, conversations were not initiated so much

as caught at random and followed through until the other girl grew


“I set some fires in the House Kore courier’s room.”

Laila dropped the paintbrush. “What? You were supposed to wake

him up without being in the room!”

“I did? I set them off when I stepped outside. They’re tiny.”

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