To the Eggplant Cannon – Beth Goder

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…

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Scraps – by Juliet Kemp

The bell jingled, and Emmeline looked, frowning, at the door through to the front of the shop. She was in the middle of a fitting, and one did not expect interruptions if one was being fitted for charmwear at Emmeline’s. When a moment passed and Joe, her apprentice, did not appear around the corner, she smiled at Mme Gantiel. “My apologies, Madame. Would you excuse me for just a moment?” At least it was cheerful…

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Chambers of the Heart – B. Morris Allen

Despair and Ecstasy are the simplest. Ecstasy is the small and cozy room of a cottage that looks out on a broad meadow in the forest. In the spring, elk come to posture and to mate, and the wildflowers bloom on every side. In the fall, mist dances in silver swirls framed by gold and bronze and copper trees. It is always spring or fall. Despair is a vast, dark hall of low ceilings and…

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A Nightingale’s Map of the City – by Suzanne J. Willis

The white stone buildings of the city gleam like scattered pearls, their peaks and towers reaching for the vertiginous blue of the sky. Atop the spires and turrets and minarets, domes and curlicues of gold-leaf sparkle, making the city seem dusted with slow-burning embers. The ghost of the giant Gustav, the city’s architect and creator, walks cobbled alleyways that are carpeted in moss, skimming past the tiny ferns growing from arched doorways. It is the…

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The Snow Queen’s Daughter – Sean R. Robinson

I extended my hand out the window, reaching as my mother had taught me since I was old enough to understand her words. Palm up, an invitation to the distant skies. The steppe ended in the distance, the horizon shattered by snow-choked mountains. From my window, I could see the clouds roiling white, the azurite sky behind it a challenge. Not a challenge, I reminded myself. I could hear my mother’s voice in my ears.…

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Snow Queen – T. R. North

“Do you remember the first time we met?” she asked, her voice thick and opium-drowsy, the slight thaw of early spring making her as lazy as the white-hot sun of high summer makes the old cows in their pastures. I did, but she didn’t, and I stopped my teeth with an embroidery thread instead of telling her. She watched me with those ice-pale eyes as I clipped the thread, a gold-scarlet against my lips, hardly…

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