The Questioning Bell – Jason Baltazar

Enoch woke to the murmuring of window glass against the crown of his head. Outside, the approaching bellcart signaled a new morning, each heavy peal humming through the windowpane. As he’d done on every morning since Barícolé’s curse fell upon the city, he first looked to the window on the opposite side of the street. Dark and empty, it brought a familiar worry about Galvea. They’d been friends all their lives. He couldn’t remember a…

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Heartwood – L. Chan

The sorcerer wove his beloved out of the finest silks and linens, the poorest of which was fit for any earthly king. Across her neckline and cuffs, he affixed the most delicate lace, threads more slender than spiderwebs, lighter than a lover’s breath. He scoured his Mansion of a Hundred Rooms for bolts of cloth; gifts from fellow sorcerers, from superstitious lords, from the jealous summer fae, from workers of enchantment and loom. These he…

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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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