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 …

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 …

The Friendly Ghost – Ashley R. Carlson

A Year Before Conversations with you were never dull (it was one of the main reasons I wanted to marry you), but that night things had taken a random turn from flirty innuendos and our cat’s sudden-onset sneezing attacks to more macabre fare. You’d just told me about a dangerous incident that happened on the work site, and that if things had been left running a little while longer, you could’ve lost a limb or …

The Woman Who Brought Love to Death – Kathryn Yelinek

 Gudrun plunked herself down in the grass, her back against the side of the sod house. The guests were feasting, and the funeral ale was flowing, so she could indulge her grief a moment. Almighty gods, had Ketill been dead a week already? In the distance, the last of the smoke from his funeral pyre drifted over the horse fields. Beyond that, clear on the horizon, lay the green hill of Graenheth. Souls went …

Zsezzyn, Who Is Not a God – Jennifer Shelby

A lone man watches over the universe, and the pen he wields contains the power to erase from existence all he deems unworthy. His daughter, Zsezzyn, plays at his feet. She likes to watch him work — the steadily deepening crease on his brow, the scales on which he measures a balance of right, wrong, and the gray that lives between. One day, he will bequeath his pen to her, and this cave where the …

The Record Collector – Nathaniel Williams

The first time the house yells at them, it sounds like her husband. Eileen Ulmstead-Barris springs up in bed and looks at Preston lying next to her, motionless in his favored sleeping position—on his back, with his head buried under a pillow that should have smothered any sounds rising from his mouth. The shouts become louder and louder, then stop. Moments later, another cry fills the room. He must be having an awful nightmare, she …