Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fantasy Fiction

As the Wheel Turns

In the Tenth Court of Hell stands the Wheel of Rebirth. Its spokes are of red lacquered wood; it creaks as demons pull it, dragging its load of souls back into the world. And before the Wheel stands the Lady.

The Suicide’s Guide to the Absinthe of Perdition

You cannot stop an angel who truly wants to fall. This is the first thing you learn in Pandemonium. The second thing you learn in Pandemonium is how to drink absinthe.

Beyond the Reach of His Gods

An unseen log boomed against Wolfrun’s hull. In the last few days, Rhuan of the Grey Hall had taken to posting a lookout on the prow, to ward against just such events. This great, fat monstrosity of a river seemed at times to carry almost as much debris as it did water.

The Black Bird

The black bird on the mantelpiece spoke. It said, “Nevermore.” Spade looked up from cleaning his pistol. The bird, a black-lacquered falcon statuette, sat motionless. Spade placed the pistol down on his desk, pushed back the brim of his hat, and approached the bird. “You talk?”

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.