The eighth tale in Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women is “Rites of Passage” by Gabriela Lee. The story may be fictional, but the tale she tells is true in a deeper level. It’s a story every woman can feel stirring at the bottom of her heart. It is in our blood.

And blood is what Lee gives us, but not for gore and hack-n-slash sensationalism. Gabriela Lee mines the feminine experience to find the significance of bleeding for a woman. It heralds change. It represents what we must sacrifice. Like ourselves, if we give just enough we bring forth life. Like blood, when we give too much we die.

“Rites of Passage” by Gabriela Lee from Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women

“Rites of Passage” haunts with the primal fears of being a woman. In many ways Lee tells the metaphorical story of motherhood. Having a baby robs us of our independence but a mother will kill to keep her child safe. Lee brings out the duality of maternal instinct by giving us a narrative full of conflicted emotion. Lush storytelling builds distinct worlds and characters we can connect with, even if the connection is brief.

Everyone knows to never come between a mother and her cub, so who is at fault when blood is spilled?

“Rites of Passage” by Gabriela Lee is the eighth story in Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women. Gabriela Lee graduated with a Master of Arts in Literary Studies from the National University of Singapore, and earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Studies, majoring in Creative Writing, from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She won the PBBY-Salanga Prize in 2019 for her story “A Delicate Strength,” which is about her grandmother; it’s currently available as Cely’s Crocodile: The Art and Story of Araceli Limcaco Dansand published by Tahanan Books. She is currently an assistant professor at the Department of English and Comparative Literature at UP Diliman. She can be reached at her various social media accounts on and under the online name @sundialgirl.

Get your copy of Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women
direct from the publisher here.

Find out about the other stories
in Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (and more)
here under the #amreading tag.

Related links:
Black Cranes: A Review in Verse by Renata Pavrey | Tomes and Tales
Skeleton Hour 04: Black Cranes | Horror Writers
Black Cranes Release Day Panel | Omnium Gatherum
Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women by Lee Murray I | Gingernuts of Horror
Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women by Lee Murray II | Gingernuts of Horror
Meet Black Crane Lee Murray |
Meet Black Crane Grace Chan |
Meet Black Crane Geneve Flynn |

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Shimanchu-American and award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years of experience as a professional writer in nonfiction. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), producer of the Exercise Your Writes YouTube podcast, two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020. She shares a weekly calendar of author opportunities at

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