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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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….

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….

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…

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 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….

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 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Vitamin Deficiency by Josh T. Keating

Vitamin Deficiency Josh T. Keating ‘In conclusion, exposure to the sun can cause life threatening issues (not to mention, wrinkles) and is not recommended.’ Susan Jacobus grinned and proudly clicked save on her newest, completed article.    There was nothing quite as rewarding as…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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,…

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….

Unhinged by Shuvayon Mukherjee

Unhinged Shuvayon 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…

Episode 2: The Monster’s Trail

The sparse oaks of the foothills gave way to thick stands of highland cedar. The air was tinged with the fragrant scent of the conifer forest, and Cole stopped to take in the high-country air. He and Eleanor had gone three leagues before the…

The Curse-Wrought Beast

Episode 1: The Curse-Wrought Beast Burnt grass crumpled under the tracker’s boot sole as he picked his way past the stockade. He brushed a hand against the charred cedar stakes, and it came away covered in soot. The sights, the smells in this place,…

Episode Four – King Cat Sateer – A friend indeed

Meowww! (Crunch, crackle, crunch, crunch) The leaves under my paws boost my spirits, but I need to take to the trees if I’m to proceed. (Whooosh! leap) Yes, much better. (Chirp, chirp, chirp) “Don’t worry little birds, I’m only passing through.” The long gnarly…

Troubling Experience

Summer: 17 years at the Monastery, one month after the duel Sunar lay in the meadow at the top of the temple. He had wrapped his wings around himself and Meesha so that they could enjoy the cool summer winds on the heights, stare…

Episode 34: Scuttle and Scuffle

Nathan froze, halfway in and halfway out of the truck, staring at the black bear. I turned and whispered into Nathan’s ear from his shoulder. “She’s a good bear; she won’t hurt you.” She better not. Nathan turned and looked at his dad for…

A Kind of Godhood by Russ Bickerstaff

A Kind of Godhood Russ Bickerstaff 7:15 am The world dissolved into him. Norm Jones. The name came to him It was his own. There was no doubt about it. Why then was it that the words sounded so very, very strange to him?…

The Minstrel’s Secret by Dee Caples

The Minstrel’s Secret Dee Caples Once upon a time there was a kingdom ruled by a man that was just and fair, until the day a wandering minstrel arrived. There was nothing outwardly extraordinary about the man. He was as squat as a toad…

The Vine Doombringer, Part II by Geoffrey C Porter

The Vine Doombringer, Part II Geoffrey C Porter The first night I surgically pulled five short two to three inch sprouts. I wore a headlamp with a bright LED light. The same knife that pulled the sprouts planted them in a flowerbed two houses…

Just One by Susan Cornford

Just One Susan Cornford I blame it on the award. If I hadn’t won that award, none of this would have happened. Well, some of it was beyond my control, but the final part, the saddest part, was all my egotistical doing. Every year…

Episode Three – Potbellies to the Rescue

“Let’s pick up the pace. We’ll be there in no time, if we do,” Pitbull Sammy shouted out to the others, exhilarated by the wind beating against his agile, forceful body. “Sure thing! Omar wants us there and back as soon as possible. He’ll…

Episode 33: Meeting the Bear

The next night we snuck into Nathan’s room for the last time. Guy had arranged for a visit with him, and we were going to accompany him. I invoked my veilring. “Nathan, it’s time to go. Your dad’s outside.” “I’m not sure I want…

Heading Home

Summer: 17 years at the Monastery, one week after the duel Several loudspeakers blared over the general noise of the Space Port. “Boarding call for Passenger Liner Excelsior. All Excelsior passengers holding blue passes, please report to boarding gate three.” Sunar stood, a little…

An Incident from the Childhood of Plato by Grove Koger

An Incident from the Childhood of Plato Grove Koger “But afterwards [claimed Solon] there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis…

Heads Up by Fraser Sherman

Heads Up Fraser Sherman When I opened my brother’s new front-loading washing machine, I didn’t expect to find a shaggy bearded head inside. I suppose I should have noticed it sooner — the door is glass — but hey, I was in a hurry….

Episode 32: A plan in motion

Bracey flew us to the Ottawa General Hospital where we tracked down Musk Muskmusk in the burn ward, eating pain from patients from beneath their beds. I clicked Grassblade on the tile floor. “Hi there, buddy.” Musk turned his heavy antlered head around as…

Episode Two – Pack Love

Wolf Bennie Ba hadn’t gone far when he came across the search party. A few of his buddies from K-9 Town were out looking for him. It was Rottweiler Brady who spoke first, his uncanny intuition triggering concern at first glance. “Hey Bennie, what’s…

Gaudy Pistols

Summer: 17 years at the Monastery, a few hours after meeting Thalon A few hours in an air car took Sunar, Master Ikthan, and Thalon to the Ratharin estate. Sunar found himself approaching the largest, most ostentatious doors he’d ever seen. He would never…

The Chimes by Charles Dickens

The Chimes by Charles Dickens Abridged by Lee A. Hart First Quarter There are not, I say, many people who would dare to sleep in a church. I don’t mean at sermon-time on a warm Sunday; but in the dead of night, and alone….

Episode One – The Takeover – Wolf Bennie Ba’s surprise

Wolf Bennie Ba’s heart rate accelerated as he stood alone in the forest, stunned by what he saw below. He was looking down on a pack of timber wolves led by his old enemy, Shocka Din. The same pack that had viciously attacked him…

Episode 31: Man Against

The man stood, backlit from the door of his cabin, holding a shotgun and staring slack-jawed at four talking animals on his stoop. Finally, he waved us in. We went right to the fire. Bracey shook snowflakes from her head. The man turned around…

New Second

Summer: 17 years at the Monastery, twelve weeks after second assassination attempt “It’s time.” Master Ikthan’s voice brought Sunar out of his meditation. He’d elected not to keep the scar on his arm, and divided his meditation time between seamlessly repairing his skin and…

Sunny Afternoon

Summer: 17 years at the Monastery, twelve weeks after second assassination attempt “What surprised me was that Sierra pulled it off. I mean, hummingbird to meet against crane-in-the-rushes? I expected to see her head pile into the mat!” Gorshun motioned with his head to…

Episode 30: The Crazy Man in the Woods

At our request, Nathan gave us a cracker and I told him goodbye, we’ll be in touch, don’t trust faeries, etc. Out in the cold, I turned to my fellow Councilmice. “I think we should get in touch with an owl, and see if…

Casual Response

Summer: 17 years at the Monastery, eight weeks after second assassination attempt Twist, curl, circle, thrust. Turn, bring the staff around, strike, circle it, stop, reverse, circle, strike. The fifty pound staff in Sunar’s hands whirled almost as if it were alive. Few in…

Episode 29: Children Can Be Frightened

A hideous claw snatched a single feather from Bracey’s tail as she hopped through the weir, carrying us on her back. She spread her wings and flew a short distance away, shouting “Get back! Get back!” Eventua reached through the weir, her sickly arm…

Final Positioning

“Just hear me out,” Jari was saying. He had to get Vott to understand. Every player had their blind spots. “I’m not saying you shouldn’t be confident. You’ve got the basics down, yes. But you need to be prepared for anything, Wissian.” The two…

Episode 28: Entering the Interstitium

I followed Gretchen and Dichall through the portal into another world. Bracey the Talonted, our owl companion, followed. The sky was bluer than I would ever have guessed blueness could get. The snow was the whitest white. But the strangest thing was the lack…

Ringing Bells

Summer: 17 years at the Monastery, six weeks after the assassination attempt Sunar walked down the hall with his friends. Last bell had just sounded, and the Temple was beginning to settle down for the night. This meant, of course, that the Titans had…

The House by crystalwizard

The House crystalwizard “I hear tell that there’s treasure hid in that old house. Gold, I heard.” Mac paused with his beer half-way to his lips and shot a sideways glance at the short, fat stranger dressed in a black velvet shirt, and grungy…

The Cricket and the Ant translation by Don Webb

Originally published in Bewildering Stories: La Cigale et la fourmi by Jean de La Fontaine La cigale ayant chanté Tout l’été, Se trouva fort dépourvue Quand la bise fut venue : Pas un seul petit morceau De mouche ou de vermisseau. Elle alla crier…

Life Changing by Ben Coppin

Life Changing Ben Coppin “It’s your birthday,” Sarah tells me in the office canteen, as we share a salad. “You should get a little magic in your life.” I smile. “Yes, you’re right. Why don’t you come to my party? It’s tonight at my…

Defensive Strategy

The west watchhouse was as silent as it had ever been, at least in the many years Vott had called the place a second home. Of course, silence was all part of the plan. Vott needed to think, without the constant bickering of the…

The Talk

Summer: 17 years at the Monastery, just after the assassination attempt Lenar had insisted on driving the car after their shift. He didn’t mention why, but Sunar knew. They had started to give their report to the next security shift and been waved off…

Episode 27: The Weir

Hospitals, I learned, had so many faeries and so many dedicated Councilmice it was like a whole other social structure, with its own idiosyncratic culture. Technically, Beatrice Brownbrow was the ultimate leader in Ottawa, but in practice, the hospital Councilmice were pretty autonomous. Here,…

Reckless Advance

“How about you let me go in first?” Wolf said, his hand on the door of the small, ground floor apartment. “What makes you think I’d let you do that?” Frige replied, a hand on her hip. “Rouda told me what you’re like. If…

Episode 26: The Hospital

On our way out of Council headquarters Dichall led us to the food pantry. “If we’re going to get a bird to take us all the way to the hospital, we’re going to need to give them something.” We were procuring a small sackful…

First Try

Summer: 17 years at the Monastery. The strong light of a summer’s mid-day sun greeted Sunar as he stepped from the pub. He closed his eyes and turned his face to it for a moment as he walked, reveling in the warmth against his…

A Good Witch or A Bad Witch? by Dee Caples

A Good Witch or A Bad Witch? Dee Caples Caladia’s clientele was quite small, mostly girls wanting a love potion or pregnant women coming around to have the little one’s fortune told. Today it was serious. Mr. Whinge needed to get rid of his…

First Move

“So you’re married, eh?” Vott asked Jari. The pair were maneuvering through a packed backstreet. Market Street, Marudal’s main thoroughfare for highbrow commerce, was only a few blocks away, but one wouldn’t know it from the look of the narrow road they were currently…

Pub Time

Summer: 17 years at the Monastery Gravel crunched beneath Sunar’s feet as he walked the streets of town. He greeted many of the town’s residents with a nod or a tilt of his staff, enjoying an easy familiarity with the people, the quiet of…

Episode 25: Aggressive Negotiations

Imbingy, the faerie childhunter, had me pinned in the snow, his steely hands tightening around my throat. “Die, rodent!” He thinks calling me a rodent is an insult? I’ll show him! I pulled my hind legs between us, put my back paws on his…

Episode 24: Leak of the Lie

Gretchen, Dichall, and I sat on a box that used to hold matches, attending an emergency Council meeting. Beatrice cleared her throat to quiet everyone down. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have an informant who would like to brief us on something.” She turned to…

Choosing Sides

“I’ve got little patience for your games today, Rauda.” Watch Officer Frige Dalgaard held the scrawny fence up by a fistful of his shirt. It was an empty threat, she knew. There was only so much she could do to someone like Rauda, someone…

Soft Promises

Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, Second morning after snow ski bet. Feet forward into a modified mule kick, wings back for support. Level flight. Barrel roll in place, GAH! too far. Correct, come out facing the sky. Negative-dive, pearl-on-water, NO! that was three…

The Facilitator by Lyn McConchie

The Facilitator Lyn McConchie Wizard Bingelgretson focused his spell through his facilitator and spoke the release word clearly. There was a tingling in the air as a cloud of smoke flattened out and developed a shining surface. A silver surround crawled around that and…

Quiet Moment

Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, Morning after snow ski bet. Sunar perched atop the gazebo at the highest point of the temple, deep in his morning meditation. He kept his eyes open, his back to the valley, and faced the world outside. He…

Setting the Pieces

Where was that gods-forgotten game set? Watch Sergeant Wissian Vott tossed a box of whetstones aside as he rummaged through the watchhouse storage room. The box tipped to the floor, the cacophony of stones upon concrete assaulting his ears and his patience. Of course,…

Episode 23: Luring the Child

I woke up swatting at something on my face, but felt nothing but air. Two little people fought on my chest, and a strange, wailing noise stopped—when I realized it was me. I sat up in bed and knocked the creatures off, still struggling…

Pysbie and Thiramus by Raymond Lane

Pysbie and Thiramus Raymond Lane Aloneness and alcohol would provide comfort. Pysbie sat in the corner, as detached as he could be sharing a small room with a woman. A plain brown shroud encircled his body and tail; an orange cap covered his head,…

Downhill Play

Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, a month after Coronation Sunar flew at an even pace toward the top of the ski lift while Gorshun – who sat in a loop at the other end of the rope he carried – laughed, hooted, and…

Episode 22: The Crow Gentry

I entered the Mundane World through a secret weir near the ceiling of the Rideau Centre Mall, and flapped my faerie wings until I was on the ceiling. I changed my colour to stay camouflaged. Not that anybody looks straight up in a mall….

The Last Tiger by Lyn McConchie

The Last Tiger Lyn McConchie Yashi stared up at the billboard. It told all who could read that ‘The Last Tiger is now able to be observed by courtesy of the Emperor.’ She studied the picture. She knew what the words said only because…

The Great Gorge by Sme

The Great Gorge Sme Far away, near the edge of a vast gorge, an ancient tree let out a sigh. It was not an audible sigh, but one released into the air in a wave of fresh scent. The smell, like that of new…

Drunk in the Afterlife by Michael Ehart

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Crossing Svara by Sme

Crossing Svara Sme Svara is a fairly small planet covered almost entirely by a vast grassland. Enormous rivers criss cross it’s surface, but most are dry for nearly half the year. The wet and dry seasons rotate with the planet, causing temporary seas in…

Mr. Skelmersdale in Fairyland by H. G. Wells

Mr. Skelmersdale in Fairyland H. G. Wells “There’s a man in that shop,” said the Doctor, “who has been in Fairyland.” “Nonsense!” I said, and stared back at the shop. It was the usual village shop, post-office, telegraph wire on its brow, zinc pans…

The Valley of Spiders by H. G. Wells

The Valley of Spiders H. G. Wells Towards mid-day the three pursuers came abruptly round a bend in the torrent bed upon the sight of a very broad and spacious valley. The difficult and winding trench of pebbles along which they had tracked the…

The Magic Shop by H. G. Wells

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Episode 21: The Haunted Kindergarten

We pigeoned to the kindergarten early in the morning to beat the rush of children, but late enough to follow a teacher inside and snuck in through a door propped open by somebody on a smoke break. After making our way to the kindergarten…

Zero Education

Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, five months after first flight; Day after Coronation The sun had started to turn gold as it waned. Sunar stood at the edge of the highest courtyard in the monastery, the one called both dusk and dawn, for…

Persian Fairy Tales: The King and the Fisherman

Persian Fairy Tales The King and the Fisherman The countries washed by the great rivers Tigris and Euphrates were once ruled by a certain King who was passionately fond of fish. He was seated one day with Sherem, his wife, in the royal gardens…

Persian Fairy Tales: The King’s Treasure

Persian Fairy Tales The King’s Treasure A laboring man named Abdul Karim, with his wife, Zeeba–”the beautiful one”–lived in a sheltered valley, surrounded by hills, the sides of which were covered with fine gardens, in which the peach, the grape, the mulberry, and other…

Persian Fairy Tales: The Son of the Soap Seller

Persian Fairy Tales The Son of the Soap Seller There once dwelt a poor but worthy man named Abdullah in Meshed, the Holy City, the place of pilgrimage, whose beautiful mosque with the golden dome is the glory of the kingdom of Persia. He…

Persian Fairy Tales: The Cat and the Mouse

Persian Fairy Tales The Cat and the Mouse According to the decree of Heaven, there once lived in the Persian city of Kerman, a cat like unto a dragon–a longsighted cat who hunted like a lion; a cat with fascinating eyes and long whiskers…

Zero Challenge

Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, five months after first flight; Day after Coronation Sunar made his way, without any apparent hurry, through the halls of the monastery. He took a (reasonably) direct route, the sound of his antagonist growing ever louder. Seben was…

Episode 20: Grassblade

  I sheathed Grim’s blade, and leapt after the black faerie, running on all fours for speed, the tip of my weapon tapping the ground with every leap. Did you know that mice can reach a top speed of about seven miles per hour?…

Wipires by Dee Caples

Wipires Dee Caples “Don’t open the door!” Astrid hissed. I glanced over my shoulder at my girlfriend. Her mouth was still frozen in the hiss, her teeth bared. Raising one eyebrow, I turned back to the door and peeked out of the peephole, studying…

The Keepsaker by David Batteiger

The Keepsaker David Batteiger Emily stood tip-toe on a wobbly stool, fingertips grazing the edge of something at the back of a high, dusty shelf. Straining further, the stool tilting on two legs, she urged the object closer. Her fingers wrapped around it and…

Ernest by Lyn McConchie

Ernest Lyn McConchie (First appeared in ROAR 6 anthology, (Furplanet) June 2015) Between certain worlds on a long spiral in time and space, portals open and close, usually they are static, but now and then they move a few yards between being there and…

Episode 19: The Pain-Eaters

We caught a ride on a gull. Gull feathers are a bit closer and tighter than pigeon feathers, and he had a little string tied around his body so we’d have something to hold onto. He dropped from the pigeon stand, circled north, then…

As Without

Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, five months after first flight; Day after Coronation Sunar watched as Tabitha walked into the room, glanced at the datapad on the table, and rolled her eyes. He quirked a single eyebrow at her while striving to keep…

Episode 18: The Lesson

Dad drove me back from the diner, and Mom was waiting outside to pick me up. Dad lowered my window and beckoned to Mom. Mom came over, but she didn’t look like she wanted to. He leaned so she could hear him. “I need…

Greetings From My Side of the Veil by Charlie C Cole

Greetings From My Side of the Veil Charlie C Cole Hello, mysterious unseen world beyond the veil! I’ve heard much about you over the centuries, but never thought of actually making contact. If you’re reading this, then it was more than worth the rather…

Episode 17: Beware of the Fae

“We have a faerie in custody,” Beatrice Brownbrow addressed the Councilmice, as she did every evening at headquarters. “That’s unusual.” Gretchen muttered while scratching her ear. “We usually don’t let them live.” “He came to us, claiming he has information.” Beatrice nodded to some…

Zero Snow

Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, five months after first flight; patrolling the coronation of a new Emperor. Sunar stood watch behind the crowd. The field at the base of the slopes was full of people who had come to see Emporer’s coronation on…

The Parting of the White and the Black

The Parting of the White and the Black Massimo Soumaré Translated from Italian by Toshiya Kamei A heavy cloak of darkness enveloped the last meeting of the two. The distant battlefield awaited them, longing for their death. A horrible, bloody death, so atrocious as…

Born Zero

Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, five months after first flight; on patrol awaiting the coronation of a new Emperor. Ice crunched underfoot as Sunar and his three friends made their way through the crowded streets. Vehicles had been banned from the town for…

Episode 16: The Acorn Trap

  I peeked past the barely-open door at a little girl sitting cross-legged on a pink bedspread, paging through a picture book. A small child like I’d seen at the campsite, who was just old enough to run around and get into everything. Her…

The Martians by Demetrios Matsakis

The Martians Demetrios Matsakis It was Family Day at the Cape, which was overflowing with picnicking rocket-scientists, technicians, secretaries, and administrators. But such simple pleasures were of no concern to Kronos as he quietly gathered his work-group into the top-secret briefing room. With a…

Ragnarock by David Barber

Ragnarock David Barber Rona Lal was not the oldest woman alive, but certainly the oldest with the brain she was born with. Rona no longer remembered her exact age, but the entelechy did, and arranged a surprise for her birthday. There would be a…

Interview with a Sea Monster by Charlie Cole

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Episode 15: The Cat in the Way

A while, and a short nap, later, the human reached into the handbag. We gingerly held up her keys, and as soon as she had the slightest grip on them, we let go. I must have been breathing hard, because Gretchen rested her paw…

Cold Lesson

Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, five months after first flight Snow crunched under Sunar’s boots as he landed at the edge of the skii-resort town. He drew in a deep breath through his nose, taking in the smells of cooking food and burning…

Night in the City by Lyn McConchie

Night in the City Lyn McConchie It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents and in the great city no one was abroad who could have stayed in shelter. Only the poor and the unfortunate were outside and even they…

Bath Salts and Bedlam by Lyn McConchie

Bath Salts and Bedlam Lyn McConchie Our local senior constable was here again today asking if I’d seen some missing bloke. I could have sworn he said was named Bob Jonquil. I didn’t take it the wrong way, I’d seen Joe coming from my…

Charles and the Dodo by Jonathan Bowerman

Charles and the Dodo Jonathan Bowerman I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date! Charles stressed as he sat at his desk and blew on the end of his feathered fountain pen, chastising himself. “No, no. That simply will not do. If you…

Treasure by Lyn McConchie

Treasure Lyn McConchie Joe Tremain was a man of mostly average description. He was medium height, medium build, medium colouring, medium circumstances, and middle-aged. His parents – dying young – had left him a house that had one bedroom, a loft that had been…

Redemption by Lyn McConchie

Redemption Lyn McConchie The hillside road nearest the town had fallen, so they left Lanie’s car with the earth-movers and the vehicles of the rescue people who’d arrived earlier, and they walked, Lanie, with the massive dog at her heels. They’d rounded the last…

Dawn Flight

Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, Summer, six weeks after first flight The cold of a summer pre-morning prickled Sunar’s skin as he sat, eyes closed, atop the gazebo at the height of the Four Peaks monastery and meditated on his place in his…

Episode 14: Diplomat Dichall

We heard the muffled barking of Lolabelle through the leather: “Uh, be careful, there’s a cat in the apartment who’s not the biggest fan of the Micean Council.” We glanced at each other, not quite so comfortable anymore…

Naming Rites

Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, Spring, five seconds after first flight Quiet. Stillness. Calm. Sunar hung suspended in the water for an eternal moment, bubbles flowing around him. The exultation of his flight still sang in his bones, but his ki had settled…

Episode 13: From Disturbing Dreams

I’m Nathan Thomas. I’m visiting Ottawa because I’m giving a concert here in a few days. I play piano. I’m not the best in the world, but I’m only nine years old, so lots of people want to see me play. Problem is, since…

Fortune by T.L. Simpson

Fortune T.L. Simpson Orr watched the girl, the sunkissed skin of her exposed midriff swaying as she danced, the crackling bonfire setting the sequin droplets of sweat across her brow and shoulders ablaze with amber light. “When you the kill the gyken, you kill…

Episode 12 When a Fae Drinks Spark

I asked various faeries where Yonya was, and eventually found her on the Interstitial manifestation of Elgin Street. She smelled me before she saw me. She turned her eyeless red head toward me slightly. “Imbingy. Speak.” “I have spark for you, my lady.” She…

Dawn’s Window

Winter: 16 years at the Monastery, Spring, twenty-three months after attempting to fly The soft oranges of dawn danced through the window… the window, the one he had been afraid to approach for so long. Sunar felt a smile tug at the corners of…

Episode 11: Draining the Prodigy

Breath held so I was invisible, I glided down from my perch on the big painting in the hotel lobby, landing on the side of the shopping bag the mother carried. I folded my wings, changed my colour to match the bag, and gently…

Fear’s Lesson

Winter: 15 years at the Monastery, Summer, fourteen months after attempting to fly “No.” Sunar shook his head and backed away from the two chairs. Gorshun pushed him forward. “Yes!” replied Gorshun in an exasperated tone, “You are more than ready, and you know…

Forecast by Pete Alex Harris

Forecast Pete Alex Harris “And now the shipping forecast, issued by the Met Office on behalf of the Maritime and Thaumometry Agency at 12 pm today.” Lighthouse-master Carson fiddled with the crackling radio, trying to get a clearer signal. It had been making a…

Wing Training

Summer: 14 years at the Monastery, Summer, seven months after attempting to fly Sunar shook his head at his best friend. “I am not ready for the chair test yet, that much I’m sure of.” Gorshun rolled his eyes, and Seben huffed. Lenar took…

Episode 10: Finding the Prodigy

I folded my faerie wings and hid under the little girl’s pillow until I could hear her sleeping. Then, I crawled out onto her chest and drained her spark. Yeah, I know, I’m the stuff of nightmares. Draining spark feels really good, for faeries,…

Oaths by Salvador J. Ojeda

Oaths Salvador J. Ojeda Avor Antos stared at the envelope given to him by Commander Briav, nearly crumpled against his chest. It had the border and seal of a discharge that was neither honorable nor standard. “Commander, you can’t be serious!” His commander, Balinor…

Fear’s Hold

Summer: 14 years at the Monastery, Spring, four months after attempting to fly Water cascaded down the not-quite vertical face of the Babbling Wall. Sunar’s stomach clenched almost painfully as he stood in one of his favorite spots; on the path which led up…

Episode 9: The Mission Before the Mouse

I needed to get the monster down from the wall. It panted, licking the wound on one of its arms – thinking it was safe. It was our job to make sure it wasn’t. Glancing around, I spotted some straws and pipe cleaners on…

Fear’s Caution

Summer: 14 years at the Monastery, Spring, two months after attempting to fly Sunar leaned over the windowsill from which he’d attempted to jump two months and a lifetime before. A strong breeze wafted through the window. Warm, but with a hint of changing…

Episode 8: Bogoloblin

Each of us held onto Reginald’s feathers with all four paws. The crow’s route was indirect, according to the emphatic directions that Dell Grim shouted, and Reginald ignored. The fearless bird carried us low into rush-hour traffic, weaving erratically between the cars. Darkness was…

Doppelganger in the Loop by Gary Inbinder

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Baba Yaga retold by Ed Ahern

This is a substantial retelling of a tale from an undated book printed in the 1800’s, “Old Peter’s Russian Tales” by Arthur Ransome Baba Yaga As retold by Ed Ahern Baba Yaga is a witch with iron teeth like poker and tongs that she…

Episode 7: Reginald Crazywing

    We went out onto the nearest ledge to hail a bird, but there were already several mice in line at the pigeon stand. One mouse shivered beneath his black, speckled coat. “We’re freezing our whiskers off out here!” He shook his head….

Teacher’s Price

Summer: 14 years at the Monestary, Spring, the day after attempting to fly Master Ikthan stood in the bedroom doorway, his cold disapproval smothering what warmth Sunar and his friends had felt. The other boys gave Sunar quick glances of sympathy and fear, nodded,…

Episode 6: Gearing Up

Beatrice Brownbrow dropped to all fours and wiggled through a hole into another passage. She poked her head back through and blinked. “This way!” I took her paw, squeezed through onto the top of a pipe, and, as I scurried after her, I glanced…

Titanic Bonds

Sunar talked with his sister for some time. For the most part he let her ramble. She had been bottling a lot of emotion while he had been unconscious, so he provided her a sounding board and let her get it all out. After…

Misdirection in Oz by Herb Kauderer

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Episode 5: The Micean Council

  The guards removed a wine cork from the outer wall, revealing a narrow hole. Dell motioned with his arm. “After you.” We crawled inside, and the guards replaced the cork, leaving us in warm, dark quiet. Snowflakes scattered from our fur as we…

Sister’s Confidence

Summer: 14 years at the Monastery, Spring, the day after attempting to fly Sunar woke slowly, despite his best efforts. He tried to bring his mind to alertness, but found himself groggy. He lay on his stomach, and everything hurt. Was I knocked out…

Episode 4: They Sent an Owl

I woke from a months-long sleep in my tunnels to the sound of something large landing on the surface above me. I swiveled my ears and detected something much smaller landing near it. A muffled voice: “Eve? Eve Pixiedrowner? Are you down there?” THAT…

Mother’s Word

Mother’s Word Summer: 14 and a half years at the Monastery Sunar sat with his head against the wall and tried to process the pain. It felt like every muscle in his back, wings, and chest had caught fire. He barely registered the sound…

Winner Winner by David Castlewitz

Winner Winner by David Castlewitz Dinner with the star of Madam Murder didn’t meet Tony Pink’s expectations. When he complained to the director, he got back a long stare followed by a mild chuckle. “She’s not real, you know. She’s a cartoon.” The cast…

The Day

Summer: 14 and a half years at the Monastery Sunar started awake, but managed to feign continued sleep. It only took a moment for him to find what he’d heard: his sister’s breathing. “How did you get in here without waking me, and why…

Child’s Tail

Monastery: 14 years since Sunar’s arrival Sunar and three of his friends wandered through the monastery’s hallways, headed no where in particular, enjoying a few hours of free time between summer lessons. They were keeping a small, sand-filled ball in the air by batting…

The Campground Faerie

Video Reading Lots of people fantasize about having a home in the woods, living off the land, close to nature. I actually get to do it. I live in a small hole, close to a human campsite, in Gatineau park, a large, mountainous, wooded…

A Name

Sunar did not know how long he sat crying. He let everything wash away in the flood of tears; the pain, the childish ideals, and, finally, the pride. It seemed an eternity before the it stopped. He felt tired, as if he had performed…

Dawn Tree

Sunar allowed his gaze to wander as he sat in meditation. The valley between the four peaks in shadow behind him, the plains leading to the mountain spread out before him, and Master Ikthan sat next to him. He’d tried to concentrate on pushing…

Ending Denial

Sunar carried the breakfast tray into his parent’s room. He had to contain his excitement in order to keep from spilling the orange juice. Today. Today, his sister would be born. Today, he would show them all. She would be just like him, and…

Satyrday Night Special by Diana Davis

Satyrday Night Special Diana Davis     “Read `em and weep!” The deuce went into the discard pile. “Full house, with three gods and two towers.”       I sent a silent thanks to Tyche, the goddess of luck. She’s been my main goddess for…

Defiant Anticipation

Sunar moved slowly through his morning katas, keeping his motions synced with the rest of the children. They stood in the Dawn Court, moving from position to position in unison, setting their tempo by the adept’s walking staff as he tapped out a rhythm…

Discovery

Sunar ran a hand down the edge of each wing, and pushed against them with his hands. He felt a tiny bit more resistance, and a little more resilience, than last week. It had been six months, an entire six months, since he’d added…

Flying Mind

Sunar sat, trying to concentrate on the feeling of the morning sun on his skin, rather than his sixth birthday party, while matching the breathing of Master Ikthan beside him. His friends had enjoyed the party as much as he had, for which he…

Sounds of Children

Three glass cups sat upon a bench in the sunken Children’s Court of the monastery, about twenty feet away from five-year-old Sunar’s intent stare. What little attention not focused on the glasses before him made brief note of his teacher beside him. He did…

Wounded Acceptance

A sniffling sound came from Sunar. Iktahn turned to see a horrified expression on the boy’s face, eyes locked on the blood trickling from his mother’s ear. Sunar stood there, wings still clutched in his hands, mouth agape, eyes like dinner plates. Ikthan reached…

Winged Demands

Master Ikthan entered the home of Tanu and Katja. He found Sunar already in the other room, engrossed in playing with his blocks, and Dr. Soren waiting. Katja started to speak, but hesitated, exchanged a look with her husband, and Tanu spoke, “We may…

Until Dawn

Master Ikthan, leader of the four-peaks temple, listened with an uneasy heart as his friends and charges, Katja and Tanu, explained their concerns for Sunar to himself and Sarah, Katja’s mother. He felt glad that they had come to him for council, for he…

Father Ryan’s Fright by Richard H. Fay

Father Ryan’s Fright Richard H. Fay Originally published in Anotherealm, November 2013 One Sunday morn many years ago, in a small church well outside of Dublin town, Father Ryan stood in the pulpit and railed against belief in the Little People. The priest scolded…

Winged Walking

Katja could not keep her hand from rubbing the sharp tip at the top of her ear while she watched her adopted two-year-old, half-dragon, son Sunar learn to walk. Most kids his age could walk proficiently, and watching his struggles brought her hand back…

Sunar

Master Ikathan knelt in the small gazebo atop the Four Peaks Temple and watched the sun set over the plains. The distant whine of a turbine made its way to his ears and tried to disturb his meditation. He ignored it, continuing to contemplate…

The Battle Ward by Neil Q. Green

The Battle Ward Neil Q. GreenAnother trebuchet strike against the walls. The room rang like bell. Dust fell from somewhere and settled on my neck. The accumulated grit from the day’s bombardment chaffed and I missed, yet again, the ability to move my arms….