Science Fiction & Fantasy

FEAR CITY by F. Paul Wilson

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Fantasy Fiction

Solstice

This story is about a small-time rocker full of ambition and careful big plans. She lives for the day when she can come up like thunder on the rest of the herd, so she’s a little stunned to find herself fighting with her boyfriend on the night of the big gig, slamming out of his van and marching across a frosty prairie outside Madison, Wisconsin, her guitar in her hand and her hot, angry breath making her scarf all scummy with ice crumbs as she curses him and her stupidity at coming so far in his company.

Enter Saunterance

Back in Obron’s workroom, Kaslo told the wizard his theory that the reason their enemy had sent a fire elemental against them was because he wanted the fiery spirit to seize the noubles the op had originally acquired from the murderous thaumaturge, Asrat Gozon. “Fire cannot harm them,” he finished.

A Flock of Grief

The woman’s dress was perfectly correct. Indeed, it, and she, would have been utterly unremarkable, were it not for the bird perched upon her shoulder, black-feathered, eyes with the seasick luminosity of moonstones. “Vulgar,” Sofie said to me under her breath. “Why go out in society at all, if you are going to appear like that? No one wishes to have a party disturbed by such reminders of grief and mortality.”

Sah-Harah

Lord Knowshire could scarcely contain his emotion. Before him, only a few miles away, gleaming bright in the sunlight, were the red walls of Sah-Harah. In that moment, he forgot the tragic vicissitudes of his journey, forgot the unhappy fate of his companions and the faithlessness of his guides, forgot all but the marvelous sight that lay at last before his eyes. For years he had dreamed of it, repeating the passages from Abu-Abbas engraved in his memory and comparing the Coptic inscriptions of Abydos with the papyrus, two millennia older, discovered in the nameless tomb at Deir-el-Bahari and never fully understood till now.

The Quality of Descent

The trick begins like this: The magician throws an egg up into the air, where it flies — small and white and full of import — up and up, high into the black reaches of the proscenium. We await the descent, holding our breaths, expecting at any moment the crash of slapstick hilarity, exploding like a bomb. But the egg simply vanishes.

The Biography of a Bouncing Boy Terror!

Once upon a time, my little waffles, far across the pale eastern sands, a baby boy bounced from his mother’s womb into a dark and dangerous world, into a land well full of hardship, turmoil, and empty handball courts. This boy, starting tiny and growing huge, would one day become a legend in the minds of his minions, a hero in the hearts of his hobbledehoys, the fanciest lad of them all: Springheel Jack!

The Herd

As long as we’re waiting, why don’t I tell you a little story? You look like the kind of man who could profit by it. Don’t take offense, now. I meant that as a compliment. You remind me of me, that’s all. I’m a cowhand myself. Or was, anyway. I’ve been up and down the Chisholm Trail so many times I could walk it blindfolded from Brownsville to Abilene.

Water Off a Black Dog’s Back

Rachel Rook took Carroll home to meet her parents two months after she first slept with him. For a generous girl, a girl who took off her clothes with abandon, she was remarkably close-mouthed about some things. In two months Carroll had learned that her parents lived on a farm several miles outside of town; that they sold strawberries in summer, and Christmas trees in the winter.

Eternal Horizon

Suddenly the horizon gave birth. There were effects. I was affected by them. I sat with my goddess on my knee. She didn’t need me, nor I her. So everything was equal and free. We were in love.

Under the Scab

It was too late in the day to start back to Indoberia. Kaslo tried to find ways to busy himself about the castle, but his thoughts would not leave him alone. Finally, he went up to the flat roof of one of the larger towers and leaned against the parapet as the planet’s sun sank below a horizon no longer broken by the Commune’s skyline. In the opposite direction, the stars were coming out, but Kaslo saw only a handful of the glittering orbitals that used to stretch in a sparkling, glinting arc across the night sky.