Always Dawn to Forever Night – Luke Elliott

Pwela woke to a chill unknown in the Forest of Always Dawn. Tar and peat filled the air, undercutting the perpetual crispness. She shot to her bare feet. While she slept, the Rot Thing had stolen her warmstone. Her warmstone sustained her, let her live in the everglow of the forest. Her palms went slick and her breath came short and shallow. She should flee. Run as far and fast as skylight arcing over a…

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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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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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Rowboats: a cautionary tale of linguistics – Filip Wiltgren

“Rowboats?” “Rowboats, sire.” “Perhaps the Oracle is wrong.” “The Oracle is never wrong, sire.” “Yes, but… Rowboats? She may have meant navy.” “ ‘He who has the best rowboats shall rule the land.’ The Oracle’s exact words, sire.” “We could put oars on our ships-of-the-line. A 118-gun first rate would make one mighty rowboat.” “ ‘Best rowboats’, sire. A man-o-war would make a very poor rowboat, indeed.” “And Napoleon has heard of the prophecy?” “He…

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Wytchen Wood – Lori J. Fitzgerald

A decade of shavings covered the floor of Lewys’s carpentry shop. He didn’t bother sweeping any more, although he probably should — wood without magic produces a drab dust that desiccates the throat, shrivels the lungs. He coughed and gulped from his flask, stepping back from his work. Carving the finishing scrollwork on yet another hope chest for the latest bride-to-be in town did nothing to fill his own hollowness. “Wait for me,” she had…

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The Wife of Fabian Vitalik – Mariah Montoya

The day that Fabian Vitalik’s wife left, rain masked the roar of the sea just beyond their rock garden. Fabian ended fishing early because of the storm, and came home to find his wife dozing on the sofa by the window, unfazed by the sharp pat pat pat of rain fingers on glass. He found her enthralling when she was still and senseless like this, so he sat down and watched her breathe, the pearl…

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