Jewel/Gem Offering – Talisen Fray

It is dawn in the half-world of Varuzza, and the sun strikes the woman’s face in strips of meat red and blue. Around her still-trim waist she wears a leather belt holstering the latest shiny aggro-tech; old lace kisses pearls around her neck and in her hand is a pot holding the tender sprig of a rose with deep purple thorns and a bud the color of midnight on the old Home World. Two days…

Keep reading

The Seer at Sunset Hills Shopping Plaza – Katherine Perdue

“A woman’s been murdered!” That was Theodora Yates for you: always jumping to conclusions, bless her heart, and that conclusion most often of all. But there was no talking her out of it once she’d made up her mind, so I said, without bothering to ask any questions, “Then we must go to the Seer at once!” My granddaughter, Katie, she didn’t think much of us going to the Seer. She grew up in this…

Keep reading

Emeralds or Amethysts – Alexandra Grunberg

If Lucy could cry, she would, but she is frozen in stillness by her unnatural sleep. She can feel the soft embrace of silk sheets, she can taste the salty dryness of her tongue, and she can hear the sounds of another man who has come to try to save her, but she cannot cry any more than she can speak, or eat, or wake. Lucy has been sleeping for so long, she does not…

Keep reading

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…

Keep reading

Dekker’s Miracle – Frank Oreto

Charlie “Bull” Dekker drove his cruiser down the East Valley Road and thought about a woman who wasn’t his wife. Donna Swanger, the woman in question, had recently made her interests in Charlie fairly obvious. And for the first time in his twelve years of marriage he found himself tempted. Donna was a fine looking woman with the kind of long red hair that Charlie had always been partial to, but it wasn’t her looks…

Keep reading

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…

Keep reading