Via Dolorosa – Christine Lucas

“Your father crapped himself,” croaks her aunt’s ghost. “Go clean him up!” “Yes, Aunt Katina.” Father craps himself every other hour; Maro needs to finish the bills first. But the numbers won’t add up. Father’s pension isn’t enough anymore. “Such a worthless daughter,” mutters the ghost. “I envy your mother, who’s not around to watch!” Of all the ghosts in this damned house, Aunt Katina had to be the talkative one. Maro shoves the bills …

Rooks on Sundays – Jack Neel Waddell

“You never liked to play chess with me,” she says. The board lies on a tray across her bed. Pillows prop her up slightly, just enough to see the pieces. She reaches out a wrinkled hand, skin both pale and blotched brown, like the flesh of an apple left out too long. She grabs a rook that she carved, perhaps twenty-five years ago, from purpleheart wood. Today she remembers how it moves. “I know how …

Super – Yume Kitasei

The last time Jack Wu jumped off a building, he nearly lost an arm clipping the fire escape. Something wrong with his takeoff. Maybe it took a few seconds longer to catch an upstream or something, he didn’t know. God, it had hurt like hell. But then he was up in the arms of the grey sky again, his hands out in front of him in the night above the city, looking for trouble. When …

The Season of Withering – Lisa Short

Tamasin, called Abhasvar, watched from the concealing folds of her hood as the Riever and his men strode into the great hall. For a long, fearful moment she thought the Riever wouldn’t stop, would mount the dais alongside Piro and throw a too-jovial arm around his neck (and perhaps break it). But the Riever did stop at the foot of the dais, bracing his legs wide apart, teeth bared in a broad grin. He’d brought …

Misalignment – Erik Goldsmith

When Levy Green awoke, he looked around for a few blinking moments, and did not try to remember. He was alone. Through an open window, he could see it was day. Something, somewhere was beeping. An ache began to throb in his forehead and, after a bit of searching, he discovered an unfamiliar incision just below his hairline. The words What if I came into his mind. What if I what? he asked himself and …

Darling – Kathryn Weaver

The damned shadows did me in. They should have been blue. Yellowish light should cast blue or violet shadows, every artist learned that. While disregard for basic colour principles was new and exciting in paint, in life it was awful. This evening, the gallery’s shadows were an unsavory shade of red, somewhere between wine vomited down the balustrade and the bloodstains I tried to suck out of my only silk waistcoat. Worse, no two of …