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Lugging her magician’s trunk in one hand and a map of Wonder Gardens in the other, she clambered onto the Rutabaga Express. The seat was sticky with pineapple gunk and the car was open to the sky.
As the train chugged past the Bananarama Coaster and the whirling Strawberry Surprise, a sweet scent wafted through the air. Hordes of people milled around, clumping up to watch the organic farming demonstration or three women juggling zucchini. Lines for rides and food carts snaked around and around. The sound was tremendous—laughter and shouting, the whoosh of the Bananarama Coaster, and the train chugging along, whistling occasionally.
Vienne pulled out a deck of cards and shuffled, the rhythm of the cards matching the churn of the train’s wheels.
Another performance at another weird amusement park. But the produce theme wasn’t so bad. Last week, it had been cats—a tabby tea cup ride, catnip funhouse, ice cream sandwiches shaped like mousey toys. The Performers’ Guild was always sending her to kooky places.
It would be different when she made a name for herself. She’d travel around the world—hike in New Zealand, read on a beach in India, take a cooking class in Japan. But first, she’d go to Iceland. Iceland had all the best things—tiny horses, magma caves, medieval manuscripts, super cool birdwatching. Ever since she was a kid, Vienne had wanted to visit.
She flipped four aces out of the deck in a flourish. Maybe someday, she’d do that trick on an Icelandic stage.
The train chugged along. It wasn’t until the Carrot Waterslide that she realized she was going the wrong way.
To the Eggplant Cannon – Beth Goder
Angels at the Border – Ian Rennie
Scraps – by Juliet Kemp
Sundown on the Hill – Timothy Mudie
Anna Zumbro lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and not enough books.
Anna Zumbro’s story “Ways to Face the Firing Squad” will be published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 12 May 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Most of the time I love to study nature stuff; animal facts and curiosities are always the main fascinating topic for me, but I’m looking for an inspiration in a literature too. Dreamy worlds and fantastic tales help me to develop my imagination, and I like to combine it with realistic outside themes.
Carol Wellart‘s image “Heartwood” is the cover art for our May 2017 stories.
The amusement park was so large that it had two trains named after root vegetables. Vienne got on the wrong one. Lugging her magician’s trunk in one hand and a map of Wonder Gardens in the other, she clambered onto the Rutabaga Express. The seat was sticky with pineapple gunk and the car was open to the sky. As the train chugged past the Bananarama Coaster and the whirling Strawberry Surprise, a sweet scent wafted…
Q: What happens when you hit writer’s block head on?
A: My life is so busy, and my time to write is so limited, that writer’s block hasn’t really hit me. I think the reason is that I spend long time in the car to and from work, dwelling on my next story or book. These thoughts stew all week, so that when the weekend rolls around and I finally have a moment to sit down and write, they just explode out of me. If I had to guess, I’d say that writer’s block occurs when you’ve been at the keyboard too long, stressing about having writer’s block. I think the solution is to go do other things (especially exercise), all while keeping your next project curled up in the back of your mind. This is essentially what I’m forced to do by life, and it seems to keep me from getting the dreaded curse.
Steve Rodgers’s story “Canoes of Hava’iki” will be published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 28 April 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
Since his last publication in Metaphorosis, L Chan has acquired his post graduate degree and moved back to Singapore. He continues to write all manner of speculative fiction, makes up funny comments about cats on the Internet and has reacquired his dog. He has been accused of being a self-aware meme-propagating bot. He’s still looking for the perfect cup of coffee.
L. Chan’s story “Heartwood” will be published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 5 May 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.