Hishi – David A. Gray

Hishi’s claws ticked on the polished floor as she ran. The sound was barely audible, yet the teeming corridors emptied ahead of her. News had spread through the great city, out and down from the bloody throne room, that a new blend – an Excisor – had been dispatched to seek vengeance. Ten million people wondered who this Excisor was going to kill today. A very few knew, and prepared as best they could. “Sure…

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Hold This Star for Me – Mark David Adam

When David got to work that morning, he discovered a large shell on his desk holding down errant pieces of paper. He smiled. His coworkers were always razzing him about how messy his desk was and now, it seemed, someone had taken it upon themselves to assist him. He picked up the seashell; it was as big as his fist. It didn’t have pointy bits like a conch but was smooth, almost like a marshmallow…

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Cheminagium – David Gallay

Pain, true pain, lives outside of time. It arrives in a shear of liminal precognition, the thudding sky before the storm. We formulate routes of escape, believing that the visitor darkening our door could be turned away with the right words. It doesn’t matter what we do, what we say, whether the heart is flooded by prayers or screams. Pain is patient. The door always opens. Col is only an arm’s length away, huddled in…

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Love in Its Heart – David Z. Morris

It was the third one. The third ever, all in the same week. On the pipes, grainy handset video showed hulking masses, ungainly, asymmetrical, wobbling out of the sky. Tearing through level after level of the sprawling, towering city, girders screaming through showers of sparks. The first one on a Tuesday, a dozen commerce units over. Then another Friday, a little closer. And then on Saturday, just as the lights came on. Bang. Our zone.…

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Memory is a Rumor – Yaroslav Barsukov

In the heat, even paper seemed to sweat. Dr. Startsev’s fingers left wet stains on the pages of the open notebook, on a number: thirty. Thirty minutes to try and deter the people about to enter his office from doing the irreversible. He always hoped for thirty; but when the front door in the lobby opened and steps drummed on the laminated floorboards, a resolute ostinato, he corrected himself: at most, twenty. Then a male…

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This Side of the Wall – Michael Gardner

Today was my day to choose a disease. “Fennel,” Mama called up from the kitchen. “Breakfast’s near ready.” “Coming, Mama,” I yelled back as I pulled a simple, blue dress over my head. I tied my hair back tight, laced up my shoes and then ran down the stairs to the kitchen. Mama was heavily pregnant again. She was stirring a large pot that bubbled away on the stove, filling the air with the aroma…

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