The Memory Dresser – Nicholas M. Stillman

Our parlor is small—tucked in a corner of Helm, folded between an empty Gassa stall and the home of a half-deaf mystic. For this reason, discretion numbers as one of our services. Not even the moon bears full witness, as Illsea, the largest Tower on the hill, shades us from the first few hours of evening light. Under our lamps, we shape the memories of the people of Helm, our people. Unlike the royals in …

In the Beating of a Wing – David Cleden

When his mother calls, Chester is in the back yard tending to his various projects, which all seem to be going badly. “Chester!” Her voice is shrill and tired-sounding, as though she’s been crying again. “Inside now, please.” He ignores her, head bent over his work. The frankenstem is dying, and he’s sad about that. The books he’s read make it sound easy—how you can graft cuttings from one plant onto another, taking the best …

One for the Wounded – Phoenix Alexander

“Minutes… they are the easiest to kill,” he whispered. His voice was thick with the drowsiness of spent passion; I thought he had fallen asleep, and felt grateful that he was staying awake with me a little longer. “You need something sharp… Cut their throats. Hit them on the head. Hard and accurate. Break their necks.” I remember thinking that it was an odd thing for him to talk about, this killing. So I lay …

Somewhere to be Going – Katrina Smith

The changeling boy goes to space in a ship of his own making. Late at night, as the house sleeps, he labors over steel and circuits in his father’s garage. Next to the classic Tesla S and the mid 20th century Cadillac with predatory tailfins, Corbin carves curves into plastic, coaxes lines of electricity until they bloom like branching veins in the structure of his heart’s desire. As dawn begins he steps back to look …

A Sacrifice for the Queen – Luke Murphy

Long before dawn I give up trying to sleep and walk around the apartment packing some essentials into a travel bag. If things go badly today, I’m prepared. As I’m putting my government passport into my purse, a wave of nausea sloshes through my guts. I make it to the toilet this time. When the heaves subside, my phone buzzes with the first of the day’s texts from the boss. From Insindiso, Queen of Toronto, …

With Eyes Half Open – Frances Pauli

The circus smelled of magic, of popcorn, dung, and cotton candy. Miranda squinted as she entered, just like the book suggested. She followed the crowd through the gate, then slipped between the wagons, searching for something only half open eyes could see. Magic dwells in the halfway places, in the between times and the long shadows that cannot be perceived with the eyes wide. She’d borrowed the book without asking, the one with gold designs …