Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fantasy Fiction

Spindles

The first thing that went missing was the smell of onions cooking in butter. It took her a good long time to realize that this was gone, for she had never realized that onions were the cause of the smell. Onions remained, of course. Raw onions still smelled as they always did. They still made you cry when you cut them. But when you fried them: nothing. There was no smell. It was gone.

Monster, Finder, Shifter

My father’s family had produced monster-finders for several generations. More monsters were being born than ever; our village didn’t have enough finder power to track them all, or shaper power to abort or fix those the finders found, so many people had to offer their offspring to the Shadows.

Heartless

Across the landscape of the battlefield, men stared sight­lessly into the sky, their armor black with blood, their steam­ing intestines spread over the ground. Swarms of crows covered them in a jumping, fluttering carpet. Camp women scavenged among the corpses, cutting the throats of the dying and looting the bodies for anything of worth.

The Seven Samovars

“The first samovar, the silver one at the end with the little bird perched atop the key, is filled to the top with Life,” she says, “freshly brewed each morning at sunrise exactly. A few drops will perk up most customers on a Monday morning, to be sure. And most of them need it, don’t you think?”

The Last Supper

Walter’s mind was at one time rich with emotions other than hunger, but those feelings had long since fallen away. They’d dropped from his being like the flesh, now absent, which had once kept the wind from whistling through his cheeks. He remembered those inner tides but vaguely, for he lived in the eternal present, with barely a shred of memory left in which to contain them.

Breaking the Frame

The photograph is of a woman at the center of a forest. She is slim and tall and pale as the birches she stands among. The shadows turn her ribs and spine into branches, into knots in the wood. Around her arms, the peeling white bark of the birches, curved in bracelets. Between her thighs, the hair is dense and springy like moss. She is turning into a tree.

Love Might Be Too Strong a Word

Here’s how I remember it: A touch shocked me. I was reaching for a flash-seared bog-oyster, and then a fingertip, softer than I’d ever felt, brushed my knuckle. The softness startled me so much, it took me a moment to realize the hand had seven fingers, three more than mine.

Cotillion

Celia Townsend’s mother brought up the subject of debutante balls for the first time in June. It was the day after graduation, and they were discussing when Celia would have to be home from Maine at the end of the summer to get ready for her freshman year at Vassar.

A Moment Before It Struck

He felt death coming a moment before it struck. In the lingering gray twilight, Smoke lay on his bedding, eyes not quite closed and mind adrift, only half-aware of the sounds of the encampment around him: steel on whetstone, the rattle of dice, a soft song, and loud bragging.

The Necromancer in Love

The young necromancer is a blight on the social landscape, because when his sweetheart meets with an untimely interruption of service (don’t they all? don’t they always?), he’s bound to do something the rest of us regret.