Final Positioning by JM Williams

“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 27: 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…

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…

The Boys by Eric S Brown

The Boys Eric S Brown Garth Ennis’s extremely violent and disturbing comic series The Boys hit Amazon Prime this year as a live action series starring Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Elisbeth Shue, Antony Starr, and Tomer Capon. If you’re unfamiliar with The Boys, it’s…

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…

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…

V: A forgotten SF Classic? by Eric S Brown

V: A forgotten SF Classic? Eric S Brown In 1983, the “V” mini-series launched on NBC. It was a success, drawing a huge audience for its time. The story of V was inspired by the novel “It Can’t Happen Here”, a powerful anti-facist story….

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…

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…

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….

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…

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?…

The Baroness by Eric S Brown

The Baroness Eric S Brown G.I. Joe has been around for a long time. When one thinks of the toys and comics, many think of Snake Eyes and Scarlet. However, there are many other “Joes” and members of Cobra. To me, the coolest is…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Eve Becomes a Legend

I grabbed the fishing line, dug my back claws into the wood, and braced. The faerie kept flying, and I strained hard, intending to pull him back in. But that’s not what happened. He was a powerful flier, even wounded, and my arms were…

Crouching Mouse, Hidden Fish Hook

I gingerly explored the tackle box, trying not to get poked. A three-pronged fish hook, not too shiny, presented itself. I hefted it and smiled, then tossed the hook and some fishing line out of the tackle box, and jumped out myself. A chickadee…

Cold Curiosity

Monastery: 14 years since arrival. Winter. Sunar woke an hour before dawn, as had become his custom. The moon hid behind the frost on his window, but still illuminated sister’s first leather tail dangling over the window. She had grown too tall for it…

The Campground Faerie

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 area outside…

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…

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…