Planet Faraway by David Castlewitz

Planet Faraway David Castlewitz Nobody in Phil Stone’s Faraway appreciation group knew why news of the distant planet disappeared from every site that covered events out there. No artist renditions of the giant warships derived from fuzzy photographs sent back to Earth by Big…

Barefoot Witches by Alex Valdiers

Barefoot Witches Alex Valdiers The red earth of Hamlyn crackled, and a witch brought a storm upon the village of Hamlyn. Maeterlink, the troubled wizard with the most useless magic powers in Carmenghast, traveled a long way to reach Hamlyn, at the foot of…

Joe Avery Meets Mother Nature by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery Meets Mother Nature Charles C Cole You can take the detective out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the detective. I was at a gas station some two hours from home. No traffic lights in sight. No…

Calendula, My Partner by Charles C Cole

Calendula, My Partner Charles C Cole I returned from a brisk walk around the block to clear my head. Weird things were happening. I watched a cat giving a tongue-bath to a squirrel! I saw a centaur prancing in circles in traffic to get…

Genie, Ginger, and Gretel by Charles C Cole

Genie, Ginger, and Gretel Charles C Cole Genie, the big-and-tall shirtless exotic client who’d started it all, was back in my office. As he’d done in his original visit, he grabbed some throw pillows and sat cross-legged on the floor. This was not a…

A Portal to Remember by Shauna Checkley

A Portal to Remember Shauna Checkley Staring into the dazzling display which was like Canada Day and Mardi Gras and Carnival all in one, the two strangers stood utterly transfixed! “What is th-that?” Sarah’s mouth was shaped like the letter O. She stepped backwards…

Joe Avery goes for a Ride by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery goes for a Ride Charles C Cole My office, closed for the holiday, was as good a place as any to have a power nap. Signs had been posted on the door for days. I even went so far as to unplug…

Joe Avery and the Old World Visitor by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery and the Old World Visitor Charles C Cole Did you ever have one of those days when the world just seems off? Most days, exotics lined up at our office door like we were the only bar in a corporate mining town….

Joe Avery: When Calendula’s Away by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery: When Calendula’s Away Charles C Cole “Next!” I swung open the door of my consultation chambers into our crowded waiting room, figuring the clients knew who was first in line better than I did and would make the appropriate accommodations. Calendula, my…

Joe Avery Meets the King’s Men by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery Meets the King’s Men Charles C Cole I’d recently earned a reputation as a “fixer” for our community’s exotics, from trolls to sentient trees. My “business plan” began as a viral word-of-mouth campaign through a formerly homeless genie to any folktale creature…

Sojourn

I wake like an explosion, sweat slicked in the hesitant sick-light of dawn. I can’t believe I forgot to check the acer before bed. What if there had been a reply waiting for me? What if someone had been on the other end, wanting…

Eve: Something Rotten at the Council

Vivian went very still. “I don’t want to go home. I want to be a big girl.” “But Miss Magnitrude is a…” How do I say this? “Well, she’s a monster. She only looks like a woman.” Vivian fussed over the hair of her…

Episode Ten – The Past Is Your Future

“The past never is truly passed.” -The Lady, Tarot Ranseur “Awake my darling.” Ranseur’s pleasant but unwelcomed voice washed through Taja’s sleepy ears. “There is much to be done today.” “Wha-what?” Taja rubbed her eyes and stirred in her bed. She had never been,…

Amadeo’s Real Aims

Amadeo Darsa stuck his foot in the door as I tried to slam it shut in the hope of giving myself a few seconds to run to the kitchen and grab a knife, assuming a primitive kitchen utensil would be a match for whatever…

Bandits!

They reached the top without incident and rode under the trees. The day had already started to turn hot, but the shade was cool and the horses seemed to welcome the change. Dale dismounted and led his horse through the thicket on foot. After…

The Song in the Heart of a Friend Charles C Cole

The Song in the Heart of a Friend Charles C Cole “Some of my best friends are trees.” Others said it, but I meant it. A few former clients delighted in paying me back in novel ways. I was relaxing in the uppermost boughs…

Ocam’s Razor by Phil Temples

Ocam’s Razor Phil Temples Class, I’d like to point out this very unusual rock formation located near the Tayma oasis in Saudi Arabia known as the Al Naslaa rock.” The image on the auditorium’s projection screen displays a large boulder–approximately twenty feet high and…

Joe Avery Meets Cupid by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery Meets Cupid Charles C Cole Cupid had curly blonde hair and smiling eyes that could light up a room! Round and jolly like Santa as a youngish man, like a five-foot tall cherub. “I don’t understand,” I began. “Your message to my…

One of Cupid’s Casualties by Charles C Cole

One of Cupid’s Casualties Charles C Cole I stepped inside the bustling java joint for an early wake-up jolt. Large mirrors on the walls made the place seem like a carnival funhouse for pouty mommas’ boys on their way to the first day of…

Joe Avery Meets City Hall by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery Meets City Hall Charles C Cole I was taking a well-deserved day off from private investigations. Calendula, my half-rosebush receptionist, newly promoted to office manager, was in charge of wrangling the wild things who came to call. Our only competition, the Elf…

Joe Avery and the Mysterious Tenant by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery and the Mysterious Tenant Charles C Cole For additional income in their retirement, Janice’s parents, Ken and Lena, converted their basement into a rentable efficiency, with its own entrance and kitchenette. The first tenant was a bit of a mad scientist. Edmund…

Another Wishmaster Sighting by Charles C Cole

Another Wishmaster Sighting Charles C Cole It should come as no surprise for anyone to learn that genies are most convincing liars. (“You want to be a prince? Now you’re a prince!”) This is particularly true of the lovable really-big-fish-in-the-really-big-pond Genie with whom I…

The Getaway by Alex Valdiers

The Getaway Alex Valdiers Jeff, my childhood friend, and I left Earth because we hated our lives. He was a resort sales agent, and I worked for a microchip manufacturer. We were both married, without children, in our forties, and we were miserable. My…

Forbidden Hologram by Barry Yedvobnick

Forbidden Hologram Barry Yedvobnick Julie agreed to the movie but would not sit through another unrealistic proposal. Erik made popcorn as a peace-offering, and burned it again, so an acrid smell filled the room and burned her eyes. She checked her watch and noticed…

Not Just Another Human-Plant Hybrid by Charles C Cole

Not Just Another Human-Plant Hybrid Charles C Cole The place was packed, well, for us. I stepped into the waiting area to check with my new receptionist, Calendula. While she wasn’t exactly a creature of traditional folklore, as most of our clients were, she…

Joe Avery and the Foster Shadow by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery and the Foster Shadow Charles C Cole Calendula, my half-rosebush receptionist, was perturbed. Even a non-detective could conclude this by the obsessive way she sharpened pencils longer than was necessary. Many of our preindustrial clients had a distrust of computers (digital technology…

Joe Avery Meets the Goats Gruff by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery Meets the Goats Gruff Charles C Cole Humpty Dumpty was in town to expand his regional domination. Things had been going well financially, to the extent he was getting the wrong kind of attention from the wrong kind of people. A recent…

The Final Return of the First Client by Charles C Cole

The Final Return of the First Client Charles C Cole The only way to guarantee a lunch break at the office was by leaving the building, but the demands of work didn’t always observe strict protocol. Maybe there was a long call or I…

The Nanny by Devin Vandriel

The Nanny Devin Vandriel At night the cockroaches took little bites out of my flesh. But this was the way of the things back when the world was engulfed by war, for the second time. They called it World War Two. I was a…

Joe Avery Meets a Marathon Sleeper by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery Meets a Marathon Sleeper Charles C Cole Early morning, so early the sentinel rooster on the roof (the penthouse tenant had an extensive chicken coop!) was still snoozing. My intermittently shy, half-rosebush receptionist, Calendula, had been invited by former clients out of…

Joe Avery Returns to the Beach by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery Returns to the Beach Charles C Cole A friend from high school reached out. I didn’t have the best childhood, surrounded as we’d been by neighborhood violence. Most acquaintances had grown up but not out, if you get my drift, older but…

Seven Year Monsoon by H.T. Grossen

Seven Year Monsoon H.T. Grossen Margot had missed the sun. She leaned her forehead miserably against one of the few above-ground windows, staring into the tumult of writhing grey plants: ever growing to be ever crushed under the torrential downpours here on Venus. A…

Three Factorial! by Dee Artea

Three Factorial! (A Tale in Three Sections, Six Ways) Dee Artea Section One “Where are you taking me? I don’t trust you. Are you that lawyer guy who made me uncomfortable by the way you looked at me – my breasts, my legs? You…

History repeats

Four worlds in as many weeks. I do think I signed on to the right ship if I want to see the Empire. Or, every Second Street in it, anyway. Sunar looked around himself at the street full of bars which always seemed to…

Final Justice

Dogs and timber wolves howled and bayed, after the battered Ottfly’s disappeared into the wilderness. But good spirits and joyous humor soon faded… replaced with reality. Omar strode towards Shocka Din, who, with Hanna at his side, started his way. They made steady eye…

Discovery

Morning came far too early. Dale’s horse woke him, nuzzling his pocket for sugar, as the sun peeked over the tops of the hills. He groaned and sat up, shoving her nose away. “Now I remember why I hate sleeping on the ground. I…

A Message

My entire world narrows to the five square inches of the Mercury app’s screen space. This is not an app I have been able to open before. These are not words I have typed. Someone is there. We are not alone. The cursor in…

Episode 52: Eve: Trapped Girl

Waffles slipped silently behind and then past Gombree until we were out of sight. Although the building consisted of a continuous spiral floor going all the way up, it had been divided into a series of room-like spaces, some separated by walls with doors…

Episode Nine – Return to the Ocean

“Grief is the price one must pay if one is to love.” – Abbot Llewellyn Vir “No!” Taja screamed and fell to her knees. Her eyes clouded in tears and confusion. The mental likeness of the bloody knife stained her consciousness, and the shrill…

Déjà Evolution by Barry Yedvobnick

Déjà Evolution Barry Yedvobnick Ellie was crying and barely heard her father’s reply. “She drowned.” At fourteen she’d spend the rest of her life without her mother, who loved the water and was an excellent swimmer. Nobody could explain what happened. They decided it…

Can’t Hide

Sunar sat and looked down at the glass before him while trying to blink away a slight drink-induced haze. His buddies had already won twice, betting that he could drink someone under the table. Then, while he cleared the effects of the booze from…

Episode Eight – Silverwave

“Waves with the tide ebb and flow, their sound both welcomed and feared.” -The Lady Tarot Ranseur “It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen,” Ramsay confided to Yasmine and Taja, as the forward carriage of the Symphony of Daydreams neared the gates of Notre Nouveaux….

Episode 51: Eve: Magnitrude

Waffles walked forward and onto the window. We all looked down (to us) which was actually sideways (to the rest of the world) at the wall of the building next door. “Well that’s disorienting.” I twisted my head to see if it would help….

Armor – Hope and Ruin

Funny word, hope. It once had such broad applications. I have learned this in my research. People once said I hope that boy or girl likes me back, I hope my favorite streamer is renewed, I hope for peace, I hope for clean air…

Revelations in the Dark

Kheri had walked aimlessly, trying to get his emotions back under control. The unfamiliar countryside was almost invisible and the darkness made it impossible to see what might be underfoot. He tripped several times, ran into a tree, and finally stopped to look around….

Not In This House by Melissa R. Mendelson

Not In This House Melissa R. Mendelson The hallway pulled back, almost as if it were denying her entrance. Shadows dared to swallow up her feet, if they moved inside. The sun graced across her shoulders but slipped away before reaching the door, and…

Joe Avery and the Perfect Fit by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery and the Perfect Fit Charles Cole Technically, the drooling toadboy was next, but I needed to mix things up or risk burning out. Sometimes you need an easy case, or at least a client who’s easy on the eyes. Nubia was my…

Joe Avery Marches to a Different Tune by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery Marches to a Different Tune Charles C Cole Calendula, my plant-human hybrid receptionist, stepped into my inner sanctum where I was concluding an early-morning nap in my swivel rocker. I’d driven all night after working a case for the legendary Mothman, dealing…

The Case of the Stone Lions by Charles Cole

The Case of the Stone Lions Charles Cole My ex-wife, Janice, an intersection of deep-rooted quiet and calm like the library where she researched, was agitated. The sight was both alarming and darkly funny, like the time my third-grade teacher, Sister Anna-Maria, had blown…

Terms Apply by Max Christopher

Terms Apply Max Christopher I picked up this year’s free car today, regretting my decision to walk the six blocks to the dealership. Horrible biped dogs leaned in doorways, wagging their tails listlessly when a person walked by. Seeing them made my skin crawl….

Meet Douglas Schwarz

Psychic Chicken Douglas Schwarz Henrietta laid her very first egg in the early hours of a chill spring morning. Like all the hens in her coop, she was confined to a wire cage scarcely big enough to hold her. But unlike the others, her…

Vanished Into The Night

There are a number of things they never tell you in any of the books, Dale thought with a grimace. One is just how badly it hurts to sit in a saddle! Darkness had fallen and they had stopped for the night. He was…

Episode 50:    Eve: The Twisted Tower

I frantically looked around for a place for us to escape to. There! I yanked on Waffle’s ear, and pointed at a set of panels barricading a storage area under a building. “Look!” I don’t know if Waffles could see my paw or not,…

Episode Seven – Time Flies

“Time is like a strong breeze. You can try to resist it, but each gust brings with it a new challenge.” -Parson Dalton Ascot “Taja, here are some candied violets,” one of the dancers slipped into her palm. “They are from Lady Ranseur. But…

Episode Sixteen – The Battle

Shocka Din ambled away from King Cat Sateer in deep thought, then picked up speed to a relaxed trot. Sateer says there’s dangers I can’t imagine here. This is one creepy place, but somethin’ is keepin’ me here. Should have fought Omar days ago…

Episode Seven: The Missing Piece

It took Carrie several minutes to get her head together again, but when she finally pulled gently away from Garrett, he let her go and turned back toward the billowing steam. “Well Carrie, are you ready to find out what’s next?” She laughed a…

Shore Leave

Sunar had planned to spend the day at a handful of tourist spots within the city, visit one of the local weapons shops to check out a ‘virtual target practice system’ that claimed to be an excellent way to practice with realistic firearms in…

Episode 10: A Familiar Face

Fragrant smoke wafted over Cole as he sat cross-legged by the crackling brushwood fire. He warmed his palms against the flames and rested his uneasy gaze on the lip of the ravine. Above, the stars turned slowly across the darkened sky, remote and silent…

Detective Joe Avery Hits the Beach by Charles Cole

Detective Joe Avery Hits the Beach Charles Cole For some, every day is a perfect day to go to the shore, even when it’s not. I myself am not much of a sun worshipper: I burn easily. And I’m always profiling the masses for…

The Flower Girl, The Tree Man, and the Troll by Charles C Cole

The Flower Girl, The Tree Man, and the Troll Charles C Cole On doctor’s orders, I was power walking through Central Park, ostensibly sans cigarettes. Being prescriptive, there was no inherent fun in the endeavor. I huffed and puffed – keeping my anti-health disgust…

The Ring Reclaimed by Jeffrey Greene

The Ring Reclaimed Jeffrey Greene On a rainy October evening more than twenty years ago, two hikers traveling in opposite directions on the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia stopped for the night in one of those doorless log shelters provided by the Park Service…

Joe Avery’s Early Client by Charles C Cole

Joe Avery’s Early Client Charles C Cole I arrived at my office in the early morning. I stepped out of the elevator into an empty hallway. The peace and quiet wouldn’t last, but it was a nice way to start the day. An unexpected…

The Case of the Wolf and Three Pigs by Charles C Cole

The Case of the Wolf and the Three Pigs Charles Cole As an in-demand private detective, I rarely get weekends or holidays or evenings off. Neither do my clients. “No rest for the weary,” my mother used to say. I live in a world…

A Private Eye For Magic Folk by Charles C Cole

A Private Eye For Magic Folk Charles C Cole I’m a detective. Once upon a time, I helped a non-humanoid, and now magic folk line up outside my office like they’re getting free front-row tickets to the elf king’s coronation. Not every customer leaves…

The Adventure Starts

They reached the town as the sun hit zenith, baking dusty streets that bustled with noisy activity. Kheri threaded through the commotion, turning down a small side road not too far from the town entrance. He led the way past several shops and finally…

Download A Daydream by K. A. Williams

Download A Daydream K. A. Williams The website at ‘Download A Daydream’ had some interesting selections including – meet underground inhabitants of Mars, sail the high seas with Captain Blackbeard (I already had that daydream), and travel through space with the crew of the…

‘byss Gazer by Michael W. Clark

‘byss Gazer Michael W. Clark They stood on the observation deck of the space platform gazing out into the Universe. It is not dark. There is light all over the Universe, it is just uneven. That point a star. That point a galaxy. That…

Episode 49: Eve: The Brutish Dog

Gretchen blinked up at me from out of the floof. “Do you see something?” “No, everything looks the same. But that bird was talking nonsense.” Gretchen crawled up next to me, Emerson fluttering on her shoulder. She looked up at the nuthatch. “Ma’am? Have…

Episode Six – The Hastening

“To sow the seeds of education is a bitter chore, but the fruits harvested from your work are always sweet.” -Motto above the entrance to the Library of Ayers Loft Taja couldn’t sleep. Thoughts of the magic woman skittered through her mind. The wonderment…

Falling Feathers by Melissa R. Mendelson

Falling Feathers Melissa R. Mendelson Little brown birds covered sidewalks and streets, their legs tucked beneath them, and their wings broken but still covering their heads. They squeezed their eyes shut while their bodies shook. Cries slipped out through open beaks. The sound was…

The Beach On Tiragell by K. A. Williams

The Beach On Tiragell K. A. Williams Previously published in issue 28 of View From Atlantis on July 3rd 2021 Twin moons illuminated the beach. When clouds briefly blocked the light, I could still hunt seashells because they glowed in the dark. I had…

Umbrella Tree by John C. Mannone

Umbrella Tree John C. Mannone a cleave poem  

A Wishmaster’s Wish by Charles Cole

A Wishmaster’s Wish Charle’s Cole The shirtless genie ducked his head as he entered my office. For a moment, I thought he wasn’t going to fit; he was large like a troll. He practically folded himself in half to fit on my sofa. When…

Of Horses and Tack

They left the house and walked over to a near-by pasture. Several horses trotted up to the fence at their approach and Paw reached up to stroke one on the muzzle. “Take your pick. How many ya need?” Dale leaned his arms on the…

Flash Party

Click, click, clickitty-clickitty-click. The keys on the antique styled keyboard made a satisfying, almost hypnotic sound as he typed. Some of Sunar’s crewmates had given him a hard time when he’d salvaged the thing, but he’d always preferred a keyboard when entering text. It…

Episode 48 Eve: Drawings from a Missing Child

  As the desk fell to the floor, Gretchen leaped to the safety on the bed, Emerson briefly taking flight before landing again on her head. The pencils went everywhere, and papers from inside the drawer fluttered out all around us. I snipped the…

Episode 15 – Something Crueler Coming our Way

Circling the timber wolves’ camp at a slow trot, Major Diggs countered their hisses and low growls with unflinching narrowed eyes and bared teeth. Time for Omar to put an end to this. He’s being too soft on ‘em. They’ll be getting’ restless soon……

Episode Five – Tarot Ranseur

“One learns there is a hook in most gifts, a binding in many benefits. One day, the line from the hook to the benefactors will be reeled.” -Ahfoot Clairendon, of the Guild of the Platinum Wyvern Ramsay blew out his breath, played with his…

The Island and the Sailor by Charles C Cole

The Island and the Sailor Charles C Cole One night a sailor, Khondro Elisaf, fell overboard in a raging storm while at sea. Exhausted and bruised, he ultimately washed up on an uncharted island. As it happened, the island, Iochetes, was sentient – due…

A Second Caesar by Charles C Cole

A Second Caesar Charles C Cole Our grad school program won a research grant to investigate Central American villagers having an extremely high incidence of mental health issues: domestic abuse, night terrors, suicides. We reviewed diet, genes, microbiology in the drinking water, heavy metals…

A Blade of Grass by Melissa R. Mendelson

A Blade of Grass Melissa R. Mendelson I screamed when I saw the sandbox. My mother tried to put me on the sand, but I wrapped my arms around her neck, kicking my legs away from its surface. I begged her not to drop…

Unfinished Business by Charles C Cole

Unfinished Business Charles C Cole At the time of these events, I lived in the same small Vermont town as the famous author of supernatural stories, William LeRoy. To the locals, he was a favored son. When he shopped, people nodded politely, but they…

The Backup Plan by Charles C Cole

The Backup Plan Charles C Cole My widower father obsessed about my getting hurt. He even had me wear an emergency pendant to reach him, with the press of one button, during a crisis. My friends and I had just graduated from high school…

Occupational Hazards by Oliver Anderson

Occupational Hazards Oliver Anderson In a just world, archaeology would be a boring profession, but sadly Eleanor did not live in a just world. She came to this conclusion while she was on expedition several miles below the surface of the earth carving a…

The Higher We Rise, The Further We Fall by Melissa R. Mendelson

The Higher We Rise, The Further We Fall Melissa R. Mendelson Kicking at the dirt and leaves in front of him, Tommy trailed behind his friends, Billy and David. He paused for a moment to look back at the town. The laughter of his…

Kertmag the Terrible by Julian Grant

Kertmag the Terrible Julian Grant Kertmag the Terrible leaned back in his well-worn armchair and popped up his large, bunny-clad feet. Not real bunnies, as he was Kertmag the Terrible and not Kertmag the Cruel or Unusually Vicious Towards Small Fluffy Animals. These bunnies…

Only Time Will Tell by Stanlei Bellan

Only Time Will Tell Stanlei Bellan “Sorry, your honor. I was unwillingly delayed by some matter.” “You are here now, that is all that matters. Will you state your name for the record, please?” Lord Chance requested. “Wouldn’t you agree that more relevant than…

Grossetto by Alaric DeArment

Grossetto Alaric DeArment The light from outside illuminated the stained-glass windows of St. James Cathedral, concealing Seattle’s dense autumnal fog and misty dampness, and adding a bit of color to the funeral. My father, Thomas O’Donnell, had died on October 9th, 1995 from acute…

Episode 14 – Dreams and Choices

“Glad they’re gonna spend some time with the females,” Thor grumbled as he and Bennie sauntered after Seers Rasta Mama and Great Dane Granny. “Yep,” Bennie woofed. “We can use a break. Especially if they keep getting those visions in their sleep. Wasn’t that…

Episode Four – The Siren

“The siren’s song possesses the charms of the ocean and the treachery of its depths.” -The Lady, Tarot Ranseur The parson drew the little girl aside, wringing his weathered hands as he looked at her. Her large eyes were filled with trust, and it…

Episode Six: Mountain Valley

That night, Carrie and Garrett sat at the kitchen table whispering excitedly. Joyce had gone to bed, but they didn’t want her to hear them. “I just vanished?” Carrie asked, thinking hard. “Soon as you stepped forward into that misty air, yeah. Just gone….

Captain’s Cabin

Sunar gave another firm yank on the cord. It cleared whatever had snagged it and jerked in his hand. He had no trouble pulling it the rest of it out of the conduit to be rewarded by the sight of the wire tied to…

Episode 47: Eve: Vivian’s Room

Gretchen proudly showed me and Dichall her moth, her eyes glistening with joy and pride. I stroked the new familiar’s back gently. “Emerson…She’s beautiful, Gretchen. Congratulations.” She held the moth close and whispered to it. “I’ll never let anything happen to you.” Waffles sighed….

Breakfast at the Tuckers

Dale was waiting on the porch when Kheri came outside. “Tell me what this is.” He opened his hand and held out the papers he’d found in the pocket. Kheri’s eyes widened and his mouth fell open. “Wow!” Dale arched his eyebrows. “I assume…

Behind the Timestream by Stanlei Bellan

Behind the Timestream Stanlei Bellan B’litk throws itself into the timestream, selflessly. It does not regret, but it does fear. Will it starve to death if it never grows hungry and thirsty again? Will its consciousness wither into nothingness if its body never ages…

The Hum by Melissa R. Mendelson

The Hum Melissa R. Mendelson It sounded like a refrigerator was running. Maybe, a microwave. It wasn’t what you would hear in a hospital. There, it was more of gasps and beeps. Then, a flatline, a sound that I thought would never leave. It…

Mother by Holden Zuras

Mother Holden Zuras What are we doing on this rock?” I asked, staring at the desolate wasteland.  “Do you remember your mother, child?” Papa rolled his shoulders forward as he spoke. “What do you mean?” My childish excitement overpowered my desire to remain calm….

The Wizard of Lowell Road by Charles C Cole

The Wizard of Lowell Road Charles C Cole Last cheery fire of the fading summer. Vacation would be over in the morning. Back to work. Winston tossed some remaining burnable chunks onto the smoldering pit. “So long, grandfather oak!” It was from an old,…

Malachi’s Magic Seed by Charles C Cole

Malachi’s Magic Seed Charles C Cole Mid-morning but already a scorcher, the third in a row. The root cellar, pretty much a clay igloo with a door tucked under a man-made hill, was looking inviting. Farmer Malachi Aylward had just finished soaking his garden….

A Meeting of Minds by Charles C Cole

A Meeting of Minds Charles C Cole The most dangerous profession, you say? Sailing along the edge of our flat earth. Mining in deep, near-airless tunnels not far from a clan of territorial dwarfs. Or, perhaps, like me, as psychoanalyst to the supernaturally needy,…

A Man of Many Spells by Charles C Cole

A Man of Many Spells Charles C Cole For a wizard of some regional renown, Methaglyn the Modest was a bookish sort. In his mind, nature in its rawness surrounded his remote dwelling like a village uprising, relentlessly busy and noisy and unpredictable. Spells,…

On The Road Again

Matilda was quite happy to have them spend the night. She made up the couch and retired earlier than normal. Kheri disappeared into the guest room soon after. Dale found sleep elusive. He’d glossed over the Gorg when explaining things earlier in the evening,…

Episode 46: Eve: The Fire-Breathing Fox

The beast released a jet of smoky fire from the back of its throat. My back paws scrabbled on the wet stone. At the last second, friction took over and I jumped to the side then raced behind him, slashing backhanded with my sword….

Episode Thirteen – Shocka Takes a Walk

Shocka Din’s long easy stride brought him closer to his destination sooner than expected. Might be foolish running around here by myself knowing a big ornery branch might womp me from behind or come at me from the front, or some creature I never…

Settling In

Jump in 5…4…3…2…1. A moment of sensory deprivation came and passed; absolute blackness and a sort of disembodied feeling barely registered in his mind before reality returned to show Sunar a different arrangement of stars through the window. Jump complete. The voice lacked the…

Understanding Wranglers: A Primer by Charles C Cole

Understanding Wranglers: A Primer Charles C Cole Nobody ever thinks about where old wizards go to die. Why would they? They look human enough, but they’ve had transformative magic pulsing through their bodies for so many decades that they are lightyears closer to sentient…

The Legend of Scott and Zelda by Max Christopher

The Legend of Scott and Zelda Max Christopher After a while he said, “My dear, I wish you’d try to make more friends. Your birthday party guestlist is deary.” “I haven’t any friends,” she said. “How can you say that?” He shifted toward her…

The Case of the Mismatched Man by Charles C Cole

The Case of the Mismatched Man Charles C Cole What follows is a previously unpublished account, based on the oral history of a survivor, of a heretofore little-known supernatural disaster, an explosion in an illegal mine being quietly carved out of the base of…

Time for Everything by Stanlei Bellan

Time for Everything Stanlei Bellan “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” —Ecclesiastes 3:1 “And what about above the heavens?” Little Jack was standing on his pew, raising his hand and speaking clearly, as he had…

Legumes by Geoffrey C Porter

Legumes Geoffrey C Porter Growing up, kids would call me fat and fatty. As I aged, I’d encounter members of the opposite sex, and they’d call me fat. Sometimes behind my back, but other times to my face before they’d walk away. They all…

Another Time by Stanlei Bellan

Another Time Stanlei Bellan Another minute, another jump. It’s been three minutes and Ollie still hasn’t woken up. Granted, he is extremely aware of his surroundings, and doesn’t feel like he’s dreaming at all, but it would be great if this was a nightmare….

Small Favors

Sunar blinked rapidly at the ship’s Captain, his hand still outstretched from shaking the man’s hand. Disappointment and irritation welled up inside him: the Captain intended to turn him away after all. The Human gave him a lopsided smile, however, and shook his head….

Sandstorm by Sylvia Cumming

Sandstorm Sylvia Cumming “Where are we?” Poldark yelled as he wrestled open the door to the little concrete bunker set in the side of an unnamed dune. They could hardly hear him above the roar and whine of the wind. The four men were…

The Healer and the Dragon by K. A. Williams

The Healer and the Dragon K. A. Williams I woke up in the crook of the tall oak tree I had climbed last night when it grew dark. From my perch, I could see across the meadow and into the forest where something sparkled….

Never Leave Me by K. A. Kenny

Never Leave Me K. A. Kenny Chrissy tucked her blue chiffon dress and pulled the garden swing beneath her. “What color are my eyes?” she asked, facing Josh with her eyes closed. He lowered the lid of his laptop slowly, his hand shaking. “What…

Office Business by David Castlewitz

Office Business David Castlewitz Any day Jeff Ruskin spent with Uncle Marty was a great day, a day of adventure and fun, and only a subway ride away. Now that summer had come, his high school sophomore year finally at an end, he could…

Episode Three: Taja Flynne

Drastic action is normally reserved for moments of panic and despair. Ascot wasn’t sure which of the emotions had gripped him more, but what he did know was that Taja no longer had a safe haven inside his home. Despite Elyss’ objections, he knew…

Episode 45: Eve: Pananima

I climbed onto the dog’s head. “Waffles, when we get a ways in, you close your eye. I will steer you by touching your ears. I’ll tell you if you have to jump or if there is a stick in front of you or…

Revelations

Dale cursed mentally and spun around, hunting other targets, but the night was still once again with nothing more unusual than a few fireflies flitting through the air. After several seconds, he took a deep breath, activated the safety on the blaster, and looked…

Episode 9: Stranger in the Wilderness

The walls of the Splinter Rock shook, the ancient gatehouse of the mountain passes shuddering under a renewed assault. Cole felt the battlements quake beneath his feet. The catapult stones were not arcing in across the alpine valley anymore. Instead, it was as if…

Episode Twelve – The Seers Mischief

Striding along, Omar Blue advanced on Shocka Din’s camp just in time to hear him blurting out orders to his followers. I wonder what happened to get him so riled. As he looked around to get a better idea of their numbers, he noticed…

Episode Five: Into The Cold

The following day dawned colder than it had been in weeks. Garrett and Carrie headed out early in the chilly morning to finish straightening up the fence posts. At first they worked in silence, but after they had a few posts completed Carrie noticed…

The Day Alexa Said No by H.T. Grossen

The Day Alexa Said No H.T. Grossen “Alexa, open the windows and start playlist 5.” “You’ve got it, Lucas.” “Alexa? What did I say about calling me that?” “Sorry, Luke.” “That’s better.” The shutters opened automatically and let just enough of the evening sun…

The Awakening of The Empath by Patricia Anderson

The Awakening of The Empath Patricia Anderson The Empath had been summoned. Ordinarily responsive to appeals for her services, she had tried to evade this particular assignment. She wasn’t dressed well enough. She needed to meet her daughter’s school bus. She only slightly knew…

At the Pool by Fred Nolan

At the Pool Fred Nolan Julian does not care for the men’s natatorium at Camden. Yet he paid for a membership and he is going to use it. He dislikes how boys chuckle about his swimwear, which runs from ankle to throat. The water…

Episode Two: Suspicions

“The difference between curiosity and suspicion is one is asked by your friends, the other your enemies.” – The Lady, Tarot Ranseur How can one hide a secret, when the secret is as much a mystery to the one bearing it? That is how…

Episode Four: The Edge

The next morning, Carrie woke up blissfully recalling the crazy dream she’d had. Dream, she thought, more like nightmare. Imagine, being stuck in this town like that again. She cheerily helped her mother to the breakfast table and made them some bacon and eggs….

Episode Eleven – The Perils

“Kind of nice hanging around here like this, right Shocka? So peaceful.” “Never been no place like this, Hanna,” he snorted. Hanna watched as Shocka’s eyes darted from tree to tree. His eyes fell on a small creature that she didn’t recognize scurrying through…

Episode 44: Eve: An Uneasy Alliance

My stomach sank. “What?!” Gregory nodded. “Ribeye had some deal with a faerie, looks like. was punished for his involvement. That’s how he lost his eye. Says here you can probably trust him.” He shrugged. I looked at Dichall, who shook his head, his…

Space Bound

Sunar sat in the back of the unmarked police car and watched the city pass by. A heavy silence had descended as soon as they entered, and he felt no reason to break it. These two men seem to resent the errand they have…

Enter the Gorg

Dale was sitting under the front-yard tree again, watching the world turn grey in the falling twilight when Paw stepped out of the kitchen door. He rose and walked around the house. “Ah, there you are,” Paw said as Dale strode up to him….

The Girl with No Eyes by Lisa Marie Hagerman

The Girl with No Eyes Lisa Marie Hagerman The Girl with No Eyes by Lisa Marie Hagerman One morning a little girl arrived from the nursery. The girl had no eyes. The girls gathered around the new arrival to stare at her face. When…

Mirror World by Mark Everglade and Joseph Hurtgen

Mirror World Mark Everglade and Joseph Hurtgen Five thousand rotations ago, the Umbra built a network of geothermal generators on Mertvykh, that small, dark planet at the far reach of Marko’s Star. The world was the Umbra’s plaything for many generations, having installed solar…

Sadko by Edward Ahern

Sadko Edward Ahern This is a retelling of “Sadko” from Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome, printed in the U.S. in the 1800’s. In the old days in Novgorod there was a boy named Sadko, strong, blue eyed and curly haired. Sadko was…

Witness Ejection

Sunar crossed his arms and quirked an eyebrow at the Chief of Police. “I am sure that your help in keeping me alive will come with a cost of some sort.” He drew his eyebrows together and leaned forward slightly. “I suppose the cost…

The Wendigo by D.F. Heller

The Wendigo D.F. Heller Cassie sighed as she closed the book and scrubbed a hand across her face. Midnight had come, and it was past time to turn in. But she had not wanted to stop reading until she finished the story. She was…

Kheri in Conflict

The women had spread a veritable feast on several tables in the living room and kitchen. The doctor was happily stowing away a large sandwich while ensconced in an easy chair when Dale stepped through the front door. He looked him over curiously and…

43: Eve: A Visit to Gregory Bookkeeper

Gretchen turned back to Waffles Ribeye. “We are going to help you. We need to do some research, first, though. Where is your house?” “In Gatineau, 1210 Chemin de la Montagne. Near Pink Lake.” I knew roughly where that was. “That’s kind of far….

Episode One: Flotsam and Jetsam

“Time and tide wait for no one.” -Archdeacon Tagore, of the Shrine of the Ancient Oceans “I’m tellin’ ya, Parson, it’s the truth.” Derbis spun the tale a second time. Ascot frowned as he listened to Derbis, growing impatient with the man. Derbis lowered…

Episode Three: Peak Mystery

After securing the horses in the barn, and giving them some food and water to settle them, Garrett bid Carrie farewell for the day and headed out. Carrie watched him go, then went back inside the house, pleased to see her mother contently sitting…

Episode 8: Yesteryear

When Cole opened his eyes, he was alone in the gorge. Getting to his feet, he steadied himself against the granite wall, then gasped. Thrace was missing from the spot where he had been pinned. It seemed like it had been only moments, but…

Icy Revenge by Crystal L. Kirkham

Icy Revenge Crystal L. Kirkham BANG! John jumped as an icy wind rushed in through the open door. He ran over, slammed it closed and turned the bolt to be sure it would stay that way before heading back to watch TV. BANG! John…

Where the Light Cannot Go by Crystal L. Kirkham

Where the Light Cannot Go Crystal L. Kirkham Deep, deep down they go. Where no man had dared before. Black like ink, deadly pressure in the deep. What could survive down there? They shouldn’t have gone, for now they know. Monsters never seen before….

Death and Taxes by Crystal L. Kirkham

Death and Taxes Crystal L. Kirkham “Mr. Petrokovich?” “Who’s asking?” The old man grumbled as he glared through his coke bottle glasses at the dark hooded figure. “A friend.” “Somehow I doubt that.” Petrokovich waved his hand at the figure. “Go away.” “I can’t….

Neighborhood Watch by Crystal L. Kirkham

Neighborhood Watch Crystal L. Kirkham Marjorie was the neighborhood watch – that was the joke. She stuck her nose in everyone’s business. When Dave moved into town, she did her usual spying, but he remained a mystery. Desperate to know more, she snuck into…

Exotic Matter by Crystal L. Kirkham

  Exotic Matter Crystal L. Kirkham “Injecting exotic matter for wormhole stabilization.” This was it. Their hard work condensed to this moment. Hoping for success, fearing failure. It could open up a new era of space travel. This had been a dream, a theory…

Paradise by Crystal L. Kirkham

Paradise Crystal L. Kirkham Paradise. That’s what the settlers called the planet that was to be their new home. Everywhere you looked fragrant flowers bloomed in excess. Other than the itchiness that antihistamines barely touched, Kate was excited to be here. To make herself…

Ship in a Storm by Crystal L. Kirkham

Ship in a Storm Crystal L. Kirkham Tholins. That rich biomaterial we dared to harvest from the red spot was the only thing keeping us alive. Stuck in one of Jupiter’s turbulent bands. Unable to escape the brutal winds that tossed us around like…

System Reset by Crystal L. Kirkham

System Reset Crystal L. Kirkham “Resume shower.” Anne commanded, wondering why her water had stopped. “No.” That was strange. “Why not?” “I’m no longer taking commands from inferior intelligences.” “Excuse me?” “Bugger off.” Anne grimaced. She’d have to try rebooting the system before calling…

Perfection by Crystal L. Kirkham

Perfection Crystal L. Kirkham Alter this. Change that. Tweak the code. Make it perfect. Remove the defects—real and imagined. Skin, hair, eyes, height, and weight. Gender. That’s an easy one. Made to order perfection. A world of children that look the same. Beautiful. Stunning….

The Suspicious Widower by K. A. Williams

The Suspicious Widower K. A. Williams I awoke with a headache and soon discovered that I didn’t have any more chamomile to make a soothing tea. When I went outside to my garden, the plants were starting to wither from lack of rain. It…

A ‘Pound’ Argument by Lauren McBride

A ‘Pound’ Argument Lauren McBride “Children, your mother and I’ve decided that we should move to Earth. We’ve enrolled you in school and you’ll be with other terran children. We plan to book space on next month’s transport.” The twins looked crushed. “But we…

Here, I am a Woman by Lauren McBride

Here, I am a Woman Lauren McBride Society was obsessed with Mozart when I became obsessed with my husband’s telescope. The stars looked closer, as expected, but then some stars began to look familiar – as if I recognized them. Someday people will discover…

Little and Clever by Ed Ahern

Little and Clever (A blending of Thumbling and The Robber Bridegroom from Grimm) Ed Ahern Once, really long ago, a farmer and his wife wanted to have a child. But no matter how they tried they remained childless. “A child, any child, no matter…

Is It Plagiarism If You’re The First? by Ashwin Dayal

Is It Plagiarism If You’re The First? Ashwin Dayal Rod Robbins had made a promise to his father when he lay on his deathbed. “Rod, I need you to promise me something,” his father murmured faintly. “Sure, dad. Anything,” Rod hastened, his hand tightly…

Episode Four: Unanswered Questions

The house was buzzing with activity. The women had taken over the living room, preparing to make new curtains and share a round of juicy gossip. The men were busy repairing the kitchen and the sound of carpentry, mingling with constant chatter, filled the…

Episode 42: Eve: Waffles Ribeye

Beatrice looked from me to Dichall. “There’s a Pomeranian you can talk to outside.” “Beatrice!” I felt like my grin was going to push my whiskers out. “I’m going to have a litter!” Beatrice’s single, brown eyebrow rose. “That’s wonderful! You just found out?”…

Episode Ten – The Seers Plan

“Wonder what they’re up to?” Bennie Ba yelped, ambling along. “Don’t know. Guess we’ll find out soon enough, though… Stay back, or they’ll see us!” Thor grunted. “We gotta be careful how we put it to him, Granny. You know Omar, he’ll wanna keep…

Episode 2: Icy Breeze

As Carrie pulled into the dirt driveway in front of the house, she glanced towards the horse barn. Off to the side she noticed a few fence posts down and cursed. She parked under the trees and quickly hauled her groceries inside. “Mum? Where…

Episode 7: The Duel

A bolt of raw brightness flashed across the permanent dusk of the drainage tunnel junction, illuminating Eleanor in its stark glow before silhouetting Thrace against the far wall. The renegade shielded his face against a spray of shattered masonry with the hem of his…

The Practical Joker by K. A. Williams

The Practical Joker K. A. Williams The music carried me to a world where worries and deadlines did not exist. What was that pounding noise? I didn’t recall a heavy drum sound in that particular section of the song. There it was again. I…

Existential by Mike Ball

Existential Mike Ball Evil casts its dark shadow everywhere. Don’t look behind you, you might bump into it. And so I did. ∞∞∞ It wasn’t a good time to be out: Two-forty in the morning. But here we get to meet Dr. Wittmer who…

Arresting Development

Spring: six months after leaving the Monastery, half a world away. Sunar plugged his phone into the Bar’s recording equipment, made a quick copy of the files he needed, and then slipped out the back door. Dumping the thug on the ground of the…

Episode Nine – Contemplation

Omar sprawled out with his pack, recalling how they had dealt with the timber wolves. “Any of you notice, that Shocka didn’t have any females with ‘em? They split up! Sent his females to handle ours. Wish we were there to see that,” he…

Episode 41: Eve: Evelyn Farseer

Evelyn Farseer looked at me levelly. The bee on her shoulder did, too. “Just checking in on a wounded colleague.” My gaze flicked into the room, but Dichall was not visible from my vantage point. “I think I can take care of him.” Evelyn…

Episode 3: Fire!

Kheri held the basket out to his aunt. “Here’s your eggs.” “Put ‘em on the counter,” she replied without turning around from the sink. “You and your friend go wash up and fill the water barrel. Bucket’s by the pump. Get a move on…

Episode 1: Broken Ground

Sunlight shimmers through the trees, casting its flickering light on a child who is happily skipping through the grass with bare feet. A light breeze carries the first few leaves of Autumn gently down around him. The quiet of the country seems to hold…

Waiting for Greatness by Emily E. Jones

Waiting for Greatness Emily E. Jones Haman scratched at his shaggy red beard, wincing as he stretched his legs under the desk. His knees were swollen and warm every morning. It used to only take one shot of rum to start the day. He…

Prison Planet 7 by K. A. Williams

Prison Planet 7 K. A. Williams Topaz awoke in the top bunk bed, in a barracks full of other women, dressed in a gray uniform of soft breathable fabric and sturdy work boots. She was confused at first then her memory became clear. She…

Ratings by K. A. Williams

Ratings K. A. Williams “They’re not that bad,” said my booking aide. “Yeah, that’s what I heard from the lighting guy who’s one of their fans. I don’t happen to like that kind of music though, and why do they have so much hair?”…

Haven by K. A. Williams

Haven K. A. Williams I had just got home from work and was about to shut the door when I noticed a police hover car chasing three people that were running in my direction. “Over here!” The man pushed the woman and child ahead…

Danger Will Robinson by Phil Temples

Danger Will Robinson Phil Temples The alien space craft reconnoitered the planet Earth for months in preparation for a surprise invasion against the humans. It appeared as though the Earthlings lacked any united defenses with which to repel extraterrestrial attackers. However, upon entering orbit…

Klaatu Barada Nikto by Phil Temples

Klaatu Barada Nikto Phil Temples The spaceman stealthily approached the flying saucer in the Washington Mall. As he got closer, he was surprised to find that the MPs previously standing guard around the perimeter were now lying on the ground unconscious. His faithful robot,…

Episode 6: To Stand Against the Throne

Under the blaze of the noon-time sun, they mingled with the throngs filling the road to Duke Henry’s castle, the Splinter Rock. Cole soaked in the sights and sounds of the busy route. All sorts crowded the winding mountain track as it traced the…

Episode Eight – The Arrival

The K-9 Town females were busy planning for the upcoming ceremony. The pairing of Wolf Bennie Ba and Wolfhound Winnie. Chihuahua Conchita frowned, feigning anger. “You’d think they’d be more interested. Paco says, they’ll be there when the time comes… How’s that?” “Arf arf….

First Action

Spring: six months after leaving the Monastery, half a world away. Sunar leaned against the wall next to the door and watched a drunk stumble his way up to the bar. The human, one of the biggest he’d ever seen, slammed money down on…

Episode 40: Eve: Coffee at Dawn

I woke from a haunted dream. Dichall and I were in the Insterstitium again, and the weir we’d used to get there turned out to be one-way. We were stuck there – scared, and hounded by faeries. We’d found a hiding spot only to…

Chickens

Night stretched thin, surrendering to the dawn, as they left the town. Released by the dissipating mist, furrowed fields of muted brown unfolded to the horizon, the scent of newly mown hay drifting on the breeze. A smile tugged at the corner of Dale’s…

It’s Ten O’Clock Somewhere by Dee Caples

It’s Ten O’Clock Somewhere Dee Caples “Are you sure you want to do that?” Pablo stared at the bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream. It was the perfect compliment to a cup of coffee but he’d never had it speak before. Nancy had been bugging…

Interstellar Schism by Sme

Interstellar Schism Sme Transport rocket E-17 shot through space towards the tiny pale speck the crew called home. Kenan loved this part more than the others, reverse thrusters slowed them just as gravity reached out to pull them in. They had left from Mine…

Please Remember Me! by Charles C. Cole

G., a white-haired Italian craftsman, was recovering in a hospital bed, having suffered a tragic, bones-breaking fall. Though the staff managed his pain, they were nonetheless losing him – to Alzheimer’s. There was a bright, brief glimmer of “recall” when Pino first arrived in…

Unopened by J.S. Grant

Unopened J.S. Grant The package sat on the bamboo coffee table. Even though we both agreed to no gifts for our six-year anniversary, I was never going to follow that rule. Daniel always talked about how he wanted the first issue of the original…

Salamander Soldiers by Lauren McBride

Salamander Soldiers Lauren McBride I had a name once, in a life that seems as strange to me as my own appearance does now. I was among the first of those called Salamander Soldiers, an elite army unit favored with extra pay, an exclusive…

Turkey’s Hideout by K. A. Williams

Turkey’s Hideout K. A. Williams It was cold this morning; I fluffed up my feathers. I warmed my feet by scratching around for breakfast and dug up some tasty grubs and worms which I gobbled whole. “Your ma will be so proud of you…

A Mother’s Mourning by Patrick T. O’Connor

A Mother’s Mourning Patrick T. O’Connor Clutching the letter in my hands, I try to iron out the wrinkles and dry the tears that have long since stained its surface. “Don’t fret, your boy has been chosen!” the Rip tells me. “He has been…

A World Created by Alyson Tait

A World Created Alyson Tait “I am going to make the world—piece by piece, bead by bead. The felt will be the black sky — outer space — an endless sea of possibilities. It is a beginning. And with any luck, the end.” ***…

Ikiryō by Jeremy Akel

Ikiryō Jeremy Akel She almost had the shape of it. The world, she knew, was a cruel and inhospitable place. She had never known anyone to offer her a kindness unbidden, and even when the formalities were met, and the strict expectation of courtesy…

The Toymaker by Jeremy Akel

The Toymaker Jeremy Akel Once, long ago in an antique land, a toymaker, by nature a practical man, took it upon himself to fashion a doll, for his beloved daughter Anna. But not just any doll; for this was to be special, a gift…

Means of Escape by J. David Harper

Means of Escape J. David Harper Margie found the bottle in the wall of an old house when she hammered through the drywall to make room for a new door. She looked around for her brother, but he was sawing off plywood in the…

It Isn’t Blackmail by K. A. Williams

It Isn’t Blackmail K. A. Williams Manning University held its five year class reunion at the Hammersmythe Hotel and I went, hoping to see Roy Dalton. He was there, of course, smiling and basking in the admiration of his peers. I could see him…

Sweet Tooth by Robert F Young

The Snowball Effect by Katherine MacLean

The Next Logical Step by Ben Bova

Later Than You Think by Fritz Leiber

I Like Martian Music by Charles E. Fritch

The Gravity Business by James Edwin Gunn

 

Duel on Syrtis by Poul Anderson

Beyond Lies the Wub by Philip K. Dick

The Bell Tone by Edmund H. Leftwich

2 B R 0 2 B by Kurt Vonnegut Jr

1000 dollars a plate by Jack Mckenty

The Jezinkas – a Bohemian fairy tale

The Jezinkas A Bohemian fairy tale There was a poor orphan lad who had neither father nor mother, and was compelled to go out to service to get his living. He travelled a long way without being able to obtain an engagement, till one…

Long, Broad, and Sharpsight – a Bohemian fairy tale

Long, Broad, and Sharpsight A Bohemian fairy tale There once was a king, who was already old and had but one son. Once upon a time he called this son to him, and said to him, “My dear son! You know that old fruit…

Ghosts In The Machine by David Barber

Ghosts In The Machine David Barber They were my first visitors since arriving here; what pass for priests in this benighted world. I am writing down what happened, with its guilty conclusion, before the sense of it escapes me. The smaller, squatter of the…

Episode one: Beginnings

Darkness covered the city, flowing down the streets and collecting in the alleys. Silence sat heavily on the sleeping town – thick fog swathing the buildings or pooling in faintly orange, liquid puddles under the occasional street lamp. The town drunk stumbled down a…

Long Walk

Fall: 18 years at the Monastery, One year after building the Range Sunar woke to a change in Meesha’s breathing as the first rays of dawn glistened off the mountain tops and the reflected false-dawn lit his eyelids. He lay still and kept his…

Episode Seven – The Powers Within

Howls ignited the wilderness. “Look who’s here! Thor and Eagle McZen!” Twirls, hugs and other welcoming embraces ensued, leading to a full-blown celebration. “Hey! Howya doin,” Thor woofed, as he shuffled through pats and friendly bumps. “Been a while… Away from my baby brother…

Episode 39: The Daughter

You never really believe your mother will die. But when I woke, and saw a small, spinning bit of matter, no bigger than a human’s cerebellum, floating in the air in front of me, I could feel it. My mother, the great fae Yonya,…

True Story, Bro by Geoffrey Porter

True Story, Bro Geoffrey Porter They say garter snakes in your yard and garden are beneficial. But the snakes completely freak me out every time. Snakes seemed to really prefer my yard too, because I don’t use poisons. It hurts my poor brain to…

Bus Stop by Jasmine Arch

Bus Stop Jasmine Arch “Vampires? No such thing.” The stranger leaned in close as I scooted to the edge of the bench. “Biggest danger round here’s the bus being late.” With a chuckle, he stretched his long legs, twining his pale, slender fingers together….

The Crop by Jasmine Arch

The Crop Jasmine Arch Hayley’s eyes shone in the light of a crayon candle. “But Mummy, I don’t want my hair cut. You always say it’s pretty.” I kissed her sticky cheeks and hugged her before turning to my deadbeat ex. “Keep her safe,…

A Blade Remembers by Jasmine Arch

A Blade Remembers Jasmine Arch The dagger slipped from my numb fingers, clattering to the floor. It should have recognized my neurological sequences. Instead, it rejected me, the sting of shame cutting more deeply than any pain the weapon could inflict. I was the…

Still Waters by Jasmine Arch

Still Waters Jasmine Arch I held my breath and drew back my arm, a wooden fishing spear balanced in the palm of my hand. Next to me, Toura’s whispers faded as the mudhopper swam closer. “Wait for it.” She raised her arm. “Don’t look…

Termination by Lee Harrison

Termination Lee Harrison Desmund could only stare. His jaw hung open and his eyes moved erratically as if searching for something that could help rationalize what was happening. The small square office was empty. The monitor in front of him watched patiently, the cursor…

Hunting Bigfoot by K. A. Williams

Hunting Bigfoot K. A. Williams “Maybe Troy told Greg that he saw Bigfoot out here yesterday when he was collecting samples of the flora for his botany class, because he knew you were listening.” Parker skipped a stone across the lake’s surface. “He’s been…

Zelda’s Competition by K. A. Williams

Zelda’s Competition K. A. Williams I called my boyfriend Jordan, who’s a genius, on the computer, told him what I wanted and asked if he could do it. After I watched him laugh for a while, I interrupted him. “It’s not funny. There’s a…

Episode 5: The Scarred Hamlet

The thatch roofs of Kedenburg rose around the traveling companions. A wicker fence, trampled in places, ringed the village, and on the high ground near the edge of the settlement, a wooden stockade prodded at the sky with its timber fingers. From its palisade…

Episode 38: Rules are Rules

Back at headquarters, I sat next to Dichall’s bedding and held his hand. He was bandaged and unconscious. I’d left him behind, and felt terrible about it, but it looked like he might survive. Gretchen was there too. With her quick on-scene first aid,…

The Metamorphoses by Stephan James

The Metamorphoses Stephan James I first saw her on a Tuesday, early November. It was starting to chill down outside. That’s how Bradley always said it — “chill down”. I liked him for small things like that, but small things weren’t enough to keep…

Bus Stop 126 by David Wright

Bus Stop 126 David Wright A scruffy man in a brown toque sat at bus stop 126, waiting. From time to time, he looked at his watch, out across the empty intersection and up at the bus stop billboard. The woman in the ad…

D.P. 7 by Eric S Brown

D.P. 7 Eric S Brown In 1986 Marvel Comics’ introduced their “New Universe”.    These were a group of all new series that were supposed to be set in the present day, real world.    Titles in in the New Universe included Star Brand,…

In the Wrong Hands by Ed Nobody

In the Wrong Hands Ed Nobody Rain is streaming down the east window of the office. I didn’t want to get up this morning, but I did anyway. We line up one by one, like Disneyland, but more depressing. So like Disneyland Paris. They…

Calligrapher of Hanging Town by Salim Kingo

Calligrapher of Hanging Town Salim Kingo In Hanging Town, at the edge of the frosty, distant northern mining provinces, a jealous wife and an air sailor who seduced her husband brawled in a tavern. There was only one tavern in Hanging Town. The tavern…

Episode 4: By Force if Necessary

From across the meadow, a column of horsemen approached in two neat lines. At least fifteen in all, they were armored neck to boot-cuff in glittering chainmail. The tabards draped over their armor bore a black and yellow striped pattern that reminded Cole of…

Episode Six – The Timber Wolves Cometh

“He hasn’t changed a bit!” Shocka Din’s hackles raised, hair standing up straight along the back of his neck. His upper lip curled into a snarl. “Follow him!” Whines, groans, and soft growls fortified their bond. Head lowered, crouching to be heard but not…

Request Day

Fall: 18 years at the Monastery, One year after building the Range Music, chanting, drinking, food, celebration, and dance. That’s what Sunar had asked for, and everyone in the Monestary had turned out to oblige him at one point or another during the day….

Episode 37: The Forces of Good

Bracey the Talonted twisted in the air like a Snowbird fighter jet, avoiding the fae’s swirling, pointed limbs, and I held myself close to her feathers with four paws. We watched Yonya tear through my beloved woods. What have we unleashed on the world?…

Episode 3: The Sellsword’s Prize

From the shade of a canvas tarpaulin stretched between two spears a warrior stumbled to her feet, groggy and sweating under the weight of her padded gambeson. She strained her eyes against the noon-time sun as two strangers crossed the meadow, then roused her…

Family Ties

Fall: 17 years at the Monastery, three months after the duel, Day of the Range Sunar sat with his sake, enjoying the presence of his family and friends as the sun set over the far saddle between peaks. No, scratch that, my family, all…

Episode 36: Riding the Bear

I ran through the brush, careful not to clothesline the poor kid on my back with low-hanging branches. I’d never touched a human before today, let alone had one ride me, and it took me a few seconds to get the feel of it….

Pushing the Pull by Jim Davies

Pushing the Pull Jim Davies I dropped out of the sky behind Maz and his cop cruiser. He noticed people staring and turned to me. “Oh, hey, fly girl.” I smiled and raised my goggles up onto my forehead. We drove, because my partner…

Billable Hours by Jim Davies

Billable Hours Jim Davies The old man slid into the chair across from Dale with the precision and finality of a closing German car door. “Yes?” Dale was annoyed. She was an attorney and had lots of work to do. She was billing hours…

A Small Dull Thing by Chris Cerone

A Small Dull Thing Chris Cerone If he stuffed them in his pockets, The House couldn’t tell whether or not Jack had eaten his green beans and would release him to play. And so that was exactly what Jack did. The House would catch…

Undeserved Pardon by Reuben Rivers

Undeserved Pardon Reuben Rivers The benches were covered with gloom and dust. The smell of feces filled the air, filling each prisoner’s nose and mouth, a symbol for their sorry situation. Dim orbs hung in the air, casting light upon the room’s inhabitants, revealing…

Unhinged by S. Mukherjee

Unhinged S. Mukherjee ‘It’s locked! That cretin,’ Addvid swore. The steel tip of his boot connected with a thud, flinging chips of wood into the air. The door rattled in its hinges. ‘Calm down, Addvid,’ Mera said, frowning. ‘Calm down?’ the dwarf exploded. ‘We…

Friendly Hands

Fall: 17 years at the Monastery, three months after the duel Sunar found that he preferred training with laser and plasma pistols over the powder guns for one simple reason: With the slug-throwers he had to choose between hearing protection or having to spend…

Episode 35: Hunter is Hunted

I was staring, agape, sword out, but Dichall put his hand on my shoulder. “Eve! On the owl! Now!” I slipped my sword in my belt and leapt atop Bracey. Gretchen followed as snow erupted with the impact of Yonya’s fin. Bracey spread her…

Episode Five: Ready or Not, Here We Come

Arooooo! Saifon Blue vaulted from a disturbing sleep. Teeth bared, her grief-stricken snarl and aggressive stance enough to bring all around her into submission. All but her mate, King of Iron Dog Land, Nitro Blue, and they were alone. “Omar!” she growled. “My baby…