Tower of Mud and Straw I – Yaroslav Barsukov

PROLOGUE Shea Ashcroft stepped from a carriage into the low-lit cul-de-sac as a mongrel lifted its door knocker of a head from a garbage pile. Dogs. They’d taken over the capital a week before. The wind dragged garlands of crushed glass and everyday commodities across the pavement, and the dogs picked out anything they could chew: meat from the decimated butcher’s shops, greens, someone’s shoes.

Pages Missing From the Diary of Samuel Pepys, Esq. – David Berger

It is well-known that there are several pages missing from Samuel Pepys’ famous diary: pages, moreover, that he himself seems to have removed before the various volumes were bound under his direction. Two years ago, the following excerpt was found at Christ’s College Library inside a bible that was known to have been owned by Pepys. By a happy coincidence, the discoverer of the pages is Mr. John Rawlinson, a fellow of Cambridge College and …

Where the Old Neighbors Go – Thomas Ha

The man standing on the porch that night seemed like an ordinary gentrifier at first glance: young and tall and artfully unshaven. His jeans were tattered, but strangely crisp, and his shirt was loose and tight in all the wrong places. He had the appearance of someone vaguely famous, like his face could have been in a magazine ad or on the side of a bus. And to anyone other than Mary Walker, he would …

Fetch – B. Morris Allen

She had died from overheating. It was an unlikely death, in the star-spark darkness beyond the atmosphere, where the outside temperature measured in single digits Kelvin. Yet temperature in space flight was a tricky thing. In Laika’s case, a part of the ship had failed to separate. Torn insulation and a compromised control system had cooperated to simulate an intolerable summer day. She had died in hours.

Joy (Unplugged) – B.C. van Tol

A reddish moon clung to the horizon like a faded blood stain that wouldn’t wash out. Joy shivered, looking at the moon’s human-like face from her attic window, wishing she could pull him to her. Together, they could agonize in this lonely house atop the hill. From afar, his mouth hung agape, as though wailing in silent operatic sorrow. The silence pervaded the dark, motionless town nestled in the valley below. From Joy’s vantage point, …

All That Remains – Michael Gardner

The boy doesn’t have a name, but Father calls him Progeny. He was born underground, and grew up in near darkness. In the tunnels. Walking the spaces between compact earthen walls, buttressed intermittently with wooden beams, glow worms the only luminescence. His eyes are good. He sees shapes where Father sees shadows. He sees shadows where Father sees nothing. He walks now, very quietly. Now is the quiet time. It is a rule. He hunches …