Science Fiction & Fantasy

COLDWATER by Jeff Rovin


Fantasy Fiction

The Fiddler of Bayou Teche

Come here, cher, and I tell you a story. One time there is a girl lives out in the swamp. Her skin and hair are white like the feathers of a white egret and her eyes are pink like a possum’s nose. When she is a baby, the loup-garous find her floating on the bayou in an old pirogue and take her to Tante Eulalie. Tante Eulalie does not howl and grow hair on her body when the moon is full like the loup-garous. But she hide in the swamp same as they do.

Werewolf Loves Mermaid

How They Met: They met at a wedding. He was in the wedding party. She was serving canapés at the reception. On some level, reclining in a fountain while holding a tray of canapés is more efficient than circulating through a crowd with them. On most levels, it isn’t. “Canapé?” the mermaid asked the werewolf when he wandered near the fountain. “Isn’t this just garnish?” said the werewolf, picking up a wilted stem of parsley.

Estella Saves the Village

I have lived in the village all my life. Miss Havisham has told me the story over and over again: how, as an infant, I was found in a basket on the front steps of the church, and how Reverend Rivers asked the villagers gathered for service on Sunday morning which of them would be willing to raise a foundling. And how Miss Havisham immediately said, “I will.”

The Ninth Seduction

The sun had descended behind Lakefell as seven times seven goblin artisans gathered before the throne of Castellerine Lynder in the Serpentine Garden, their choicest and most enchanting creations for the year past held high. Chancellor Arrender walked slowly along the lines of scarlet cushions that glowed softly around the delights placed upon them, inspecting what the castellerine would soon consider.

The Iron Hut

When they unearthed the mysterious shard, a sense of excitement rippled through the archaeological camp. They were onto something staggering. Professor Leopold Watson arrived first and examined the shard with reverent care. Kilwa Kivinje had disappeared into antiquity with no clues as to its whereabouts. Despite his colleagues’ skepticism, he was certain that the forgotten city was here—not far from the Olduvai Gorge.

Ghosts of Home

The bank didn’t pay for the oranges. They should have — offerings were clearly listed as a reimbursable expense — but the turnaround time and degree of nudging needed when Agnes submitted receipts made the whole process prohibitive. If she bugged Trask too much around the wrong things she might lose the job, and with it the gas card, which was worth a lot more money than the oranges.


A day at the edge of spring. Faith, Magnolia, and Jim sit in the bar, looking out at the square. The unlikely New Orleans snow is melting, making puddles on the asphalt, for the wind that blows is warm. Clouds scud across the sky; the pavement’s alternately light and dark. People stand about in the square, wearing opened jackets, the way they do in later spring up north in New York. It’s really too cool still but they do it anyway.

Given the Advantage of the Blade

Put them all in a room together, and give them each a knife. They’ll hardly notice the change of circumstances. Their tales are nothing but this struggle, and they’re well enough used to being run through. You begin. At first it would be chaos. Fragile beauty and a kind heart does you no good here. (Never does; that’s what made it fairy stories, that so many people would help them just for kindness.)

To See Pedro Infante

“Pedro Infante has died!” someone yelled. “His plane went down in Yucatán! They said it on the radio!” Cecilia stood by the window, a ream of paper in her hands, and her soul flew out of her body. Cecilia met Pedro the previous spring, at the offices of Lic. Luis Barragán. She was pretty and the fastest typist on her floor. She also exuded an air of superiority which kept the other secretaries far from her and made the young men quiver.

Ana’s Tag

Ana and Rico walked on the very edge of the road where the pavement slumped and crumbled. They were on their way to buy sodas, and there were no sidewalks. They made it as far as the spot where the old meat-packing factory had burned down when Deputy Chad drove up and coasted his car alongside at a walking pace. Ana was just tall enough to see the deputy through his car window and the empty space of the passenger seat.