The Wicked Stepmother – Rhema Sayers

She was five when I married Reynard, a sweet, shy child, bewildered by the loss of her mother. At first, she rejected me. But with patience and understanding, a gentle approach, and a lot of stuffed animals (the first 20 or so went out her tower window), I was able to help her overcome her grief and anger. For years we grew steadily closer. She became my daughter. Then when she was thirteen, she changed, …

The Eighth Fathom – Chris Panatier

First Fathom, The Plunge In a past beyond the reach of time’s measure, we fell from the Galaxy Beam and into the waters of a primordial world. From the shattered wreckage of our Great Hull, we salvaged the ascension core and dove into the salted darkness. And within the abyssal contours of this alien planet, we made our home, awaiting the wobble of the zenith star that would presage the Beam’s return. Ook crept down …

Sonata II: Shailani – L. Chan

Allegro: Shailani This is part 2 of L. Chan’s novella, Sonata. Part 1 ran in January 2020. What has gone before: Sona has travelled north, up the lawless swathes of the Periphery of the Empire Sound. He’s enlisted the help of Shailani, a former soldier with the Imperial Army, on her own journey to the north. After an ambush by jealous bandits from a gang Sona used to serve, Shailani learned that Sona was carrying …

Grow, Divide, Sacrifice, Thrive – Jo Miles

The circular driveway at the Randolph family house was already full when Chris arrived, packed tight with cars all the way out to the curb, so Chris parked on the street. It seemed fitting that there was no space left for them, and anyway, their scraped-up little Honda didn’t belong next to the family’s Lexuses and Teslas. Evening bathed the neighborhood in softening shadows, drawing the eye to the lit windows of the Randolph home, …

Heart of Stone – Chris Cornetto

Light filtered through the debris, igniting a spark in his crystalline heart. Bending all his will to the effort, the little golem opened his eyes. Pink, hazy dawn — or perhaps twilight? — filtered through a cloud of dust motes. It was barely light at all, yet it set his body thrumming, energy tingling through silicon veins. The light soaked into his heart and filled it with life. He tried to move his arms, his …

Pyrrha – Antony Paschos

 I open my eyes and see a rifle pointing at me. Well, not at me exactly. At me and Sister. Or just at Sister, I’m not sure, because the barrel is dancing in circles and zigzags. Sister’s heavy breathing rumbles, hur, hur, hur, lulling me. Her snoring shakes her chest, which, in turn, shakes my head, as it’s tucked under her tit. I elbow her hard. “Sis,” I whisper. She grunts, tightens her arms …