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Calling Me Home – Spencer Nitkey

August 2020

The entanglement circuit burns as it lights a fire right behind my eyes. I hear my daughter crying in the moments before the circuit switches. An imagined voice, I’m sure. Then the pain spreads like blood through my chest, and the stars outside the transport ship window slow, stop, and disappear.

I come to in my bed back home. The baby monitor plays a low whine that crescendos into a full-scale cry. It is the first thing I hear back in this body. I put my hand on my husband’s back as he grunts and starts to sit up.

“It’s okay. I’ve got it,” I tell him, tripping over my old tongue.

I get up and stumble, still not sure footed in my old body. I lean against the hallway wall to catch my balance. In Altair’s room, I sit in the rocking chair near the crib, and hold Altair in the crook of my arm and feed her. I hope this is what she wants. I love Altair so deeply. She is beautiful and strange, but her wants are foreign to me. I am, I guess, stabbing in the dark. She focuses, her whole face pressed together in concentration, on sucking the formula from the bottle. I breathe a sigh of relief. She was hungry. I helped fix it. This is worth every bit of the discomfort it takes to transfer, even if just for a few hours. It’s rare they let me take an unscheduled transfer home.

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Calling Me Home – Spencer Nitkey
The entanglement circuit burns as it lights a fire right behind my eyes. I hear my daughter crying in the moments before the circuit switches. An imagined voice, I’m sure. Then the pain spreads like blood through my chest, and the stars outside the transport ship window slow, stop, and disappear. I come to in my bed back home. The baby monitor plays a low whine that crescendos into a full-scale cry. It is the …
Read it "Calling Me Home – Spencer Nitkey"
The Chorley – Rachel Ayers
Little Annamarie wore a mournful expression. “Mama,” she said, “I can’t find my Chorley.” Chorley was a ragged stuffed elephant that the girl had had since she was two. “Where did you leave it?” the Mama asked, the air of distraction hardened on her features. She had taken off the VR glasses that she customarily wore throughout the long hours of the day, and even the child could see that she was irritated by the …
Read it "The Chorley – Rachel Ayers"
A Picture of Home, in Silence – Alexandra Seidel
The soles on Sam’s first pair of shoes are worn and cracked, and she is tired. She craves rest, because the way home is long. Light reflects off tall stained glass windows, and because there were none of those in the research colony, Sam is curious, stops, walks away from the road, and enters the building. Years and miles ago, when Sam first came to the research colony, she was useful, and being useful helped …
Read it "A Picture of Home, in Silence – Alexandra Seidel"
Shards – Jordan Chase-Young
Shona’s seaweed harness creaked loudly as a cold, whistling gale tried to fling her off the Spire. She held onto the masonry until the air stilled, until her guts ceased to cartwheel. In the six years since Shona had escaped the deluge, she’d rarely felt vertigo. Even when her fellow earthmasons raised the Spire as high as it hung now—a mile or so above the ocean that now wrapped the world—the sun-pummeled water below seemed …
Read it "Shards – Jordan Chase-Young"

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About B.C. van Tol

B.C. van Tol was grown in the Garden State. In her spare time–when she’s not writing–she avidly consumes science fiction and fantasy in all forms. She also enjoys dabbling in watercolors and hiking with her husband and rescue dog.

bcvantol.com, @bcvantol


B.C. van Tol’s story “Joy (Unplugged)
in Metaphorosis Friday, 28 August 2020.
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Calling Me Home – Spencer Nitkey

The entanglement circuit burns as it lights a fire right behind my eyes. I hear my daughter crying in the moments before the circuit switches. An imagined voice, I’m sure. Then the pain spreads like blood through my chest, and the stars outside the transport ship window slow, stop, and disappear. I come to in my bed back home. The baby monitor plays a low whine that crescendos into a full-scale cry. It is the …

It came from L. Chan

L. Chan’s story “Sonata I: Sona” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 31 January 2020. “Sonata” is one of the longest things that I’ve written (and completed). I don’t often work in the fantasy sandbox, I much prefer near future science fiction and contemporary fantasy. For “Sonata”, what preceded the story was the world building — a magic system that fell roughly as another aspect of the physical world, and where the control of that …

Yet another question for Evan Marcroft

Q: What happens when you hit writer’s block head on?

A: When I hit writer’s block head on, I usually realize that what I’m writing is boring. Not the entire story necessarily, but typically an event in that story, which is playing out too straightforwardly to spark my interest, a scene of transportation from one location to another, for example. I find that my writing surges when I’m describing something unusual, or depicting something commonplace from an uncommon angle. If I’m finding it hard to proceed, my go-to trick is to make it harder for myself. Rather than drive us to the new location from our protagonist’s perspective, I can hop into the perspective of a bird watching our hero drive through the narrow streets below, or from the point of view of the city beneath him, wincing as he steers his car through the folds of its asphalt brain. Sometimes the smoothest route towards what I want to accomplish is the more roundabout one.


Evan Marcroft’s story “Devilish Calliope and the Ungrooviest Apocalypse
in Metaphorosis Friday, 14 August 2020.
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Further about Michael Gardner

Michael Gardner is an economist by day, a writer of fantasy and horror by night. He lives in Canberra, Australia, with his patient wife and two wonderful kids. The experience of fatherhood continues to find its way into his stories. His work has appeared in Writers of the Future Volume 36, Aurealis, and of course, Metaphorosis. He is also a two-time finalist for the Aurealis Awards. You can find out more about Michael and his work at www.michael-s-gardner.com.


Michael Gardner’s story “All That Remains
in Metaphorosis Friday, 21 August 2020.
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The Chorley – Rachel Ayers

Little Annamarie wore a mournful expression. “Mama,” she said, “I can’t find my Chorley.” Chorley was a ragged stuffed elephant that the girl had had since she was two. “Where did you leave it?” the Mama asked, the air of distraction hardened on her features. She had taken off the VR glasses that she customarily wore throughout the long hours of the day, and even the child could see that she was irritated by the …