Fiction

Seed Hunters

Reading Time: 4 minutes “I’ve heard it’s still contaminated,” Ollie says, a hint of a question in her voice. Her eyes shimmer, opalescent with reflected fog as she looks at me. A definite challenge. “I heard people were getting sick, some kind of virus.” I grit my teeth, realizing that Ollie is definitely more than she seems. But then, so am I.

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Gods and Monsters Installment 13: Consequences

Reading Time: 8 minutes At 2:00 am, there are no children about. The police still on duty are sleeping in their cars or hunching over coffee in all-night dives. Even the homeless are asleep, huddled in doorways under blankets of cardboard and crumbled newspaper. But as River walks past, the scent of the sweets weaves into their dreams and makes them smile. Some dream of a time they’d been full of hope. Others live for a while inside illusions, as knights on horseback, or sprouting vast shimmering wings to rise above the city and soar. 

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The Shipping Forecast

Reading Time: 4 minutes As the world untethers from reality, moderate to severe distortion in time, leading to invasions from Normans, Saxons, and Romans in Dover; possible Vikings in Thames. High likelihood of property damage and loss of prevailing cultural norms. Squally showers.

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In My Home

Reading Time: 10 minutes A prisoner with no knowledge of their own identity is kept in solitary confinement, visited daily by human projections designed to prevent mental deterioration. When the opportunity for escape is presented, a dormant instinct resurfaces in the prisoner, and the need to fulfill this drive supplants the desire for freedom.

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Here Comes the Sun

Reading Time: 4 minutes June joined the Memory Keeper team to help her family forge a path to abundance. When it became harder to meet quota, June learned that she was trapped in a business that viewed her as another commodity. And sometimes, the consequences of faith in an idea are greater than we can imagine.

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Nightraven, Highway 9

Reading Time: 3 minutes When I get the call for a Code 43, I have to pull my truck over and consult my Codex of Supernatural Beasts and Cryptids to make sure I’m not mistaken. “Forty-three?” I ask over the walkie. Maybe Dispatch meant 42 (Mothman) or 44 (Batsquatch). “A Nightraven? You sure?”

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Gods and Monsters Installment 11: Cool Grey City of Love

Reading Time: 6 minutes San Francisco has a wealth of vampires. The city calls to them. Perhaps it is the early morning fog that keeps the sun from their flesh a bit longer than most places. Perhaps it is the nightlife. Perhaps it is the dearth of werewolves, who tend toward more rural haunts. Or maybe they just feel at home in the cool, grey city of love. 

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Terra Forma

Reading Time: 11 minutes Mirabyi has been tapped to join the moon colony to explore the possibility of converting the dusty surface to life sustaining soil. Her experiments have unexpected results and maybe not the good kind.

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A Witch By Any Other Name

Reading Time: 4 minutes They whisper it like rumors between old wives: in confidence, in shock, in need. They complain over it, bawdy and slurred, between men and their beers—the secret that everyone knows. All of it doing my work for me, letting everyone from cottage to castle-side know I’m here, and what I can do.

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Death and the Doctor

Reading Time: 5 minutes I cut into the girl on the table before me, exposing her living viscera to air as biology never intended. I am committing a trespass of integument in order to heal, a perversion of the natural order in order to preserve what is natural. An apparition stands in the corner, watching with interest. Death says: “Your work continues to fascinate, Doctor.”

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The Fool’s Fiddle

Reading Time: 18 minutes Dragons can’t lie, right? That’s what the legends say. So, when Guy finds himself at the wrong end of a failed heist, he puts that knowledge to the test. Compatriots dead. Hope gone. And his last chance at life is convincing a dragon to let him go.

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Souls

Reading Time: 4 minutes We went to the funeral. It was a little awkward, since we hadn’t been around for a while. His parents were grateful to see us, though. In their grief, they seemed to take our presence as some sort of affirmation of their son’s life. We didn’t do anything to disillusion them.

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Best Friends Forever

Reading Time: 4 minutes Branch by flexing branch, Mike climbed higher. Powdery bark stained his fingers green. At the top, he laughed and drank in the view, from his family’s tiered concrete blockhouse to the river’s patrol boats. “Come on up here, Sim—” Mike almost fell when a freckled face appeared beside him. “This is dangerous,” Simon said. “We should go home.”

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The Songstress

Reading Time: 2 minutes In the small town of Nowhere, / on a swampy river shore, / appeared a young woman, / covered fully in gore. / She danced through the streets / with a twirling step, / blood dotting the ground / wherever she leapt.

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Confederate Cavalry on a Plane

Reading Time: 15 minutes A physics professor and his student on a plane argue about the possibility of infinite alternate universes, while being robbed blind by a bratty kid. The professor bets the student that even the most unlikely event possible must happen, leading to three very confused Confederate Cavalry charging down the aisle.

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Stone Cold Beauty

Reading Time: 4 minutes Totally narcissistic, Electra loved admiring her herself in the mirror. One day a wish turned her to stone gazing in a mirror at herself for eternity. She was mostly happy with this situation, until her old, dying husband visits her and gets a wish of his own.

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Gods and Monsters Installment 3: Music and Moths

Reading Time: 7 minutes At eighteen, when Gabriel leaves the orphanage, the sisters breathe a sigh of relief.  He has never been any trouble. Never talked back; indeed, rarely talked at all. He is obedient, clean, and scentless. The nuns can find no fault in him, but neither can they feel affection. He makes them forget Christ and contemplate Gabriel. He induces guilt. His very silence screams for attention. He is a shadow in the soul.

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In the Fire of Her Eyes

Reading Time: 4 minutes She kept her eyes shut. She ran deep into the wilderness. And as the sun flickered out, and the sky went black, and she held all the light of the world behind her eyelids, she tried to pretend she could bury her pain, and she wouldn’t die alone in the cold of the mountains.

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