Snow Queen – T. R. North

“Do you remember the first time we met?” she asked, her voice thick and opium-drowsy, the slight thaw of early spring making her as lazy as the white-hot sun of high summer makes the old cows in their pastures. I did, but she didn’t, and I stopped my teeth with an embroidery thread instead of telling her. She watched me with those ice-pale eyes as I clipped the thread, a gold-scarlet against my lips, hardly …

The Doctor’s Mask – Taylor Hornig

I let Cameron take me to him, but I already knew where he was. I smelled him as clearly as I smelled old Barty’s woodsmoke. He had a bad scent. Sweet and sick, like rotting flowers. “Did you touch him?” I asked. It was a frigid afternoon, the sun clear and bright, the air frosty and still. When Cameron spoke, his breath bloomed in a cloud of white. “No, Dr. Slatewall.” The boy clambered onto …

The Nature of Glass – Sandi Leibowitz

Whispers from the Jewish quarter about the raising of a golem. A clock where every hour Death pursued sins and set them quaking. Astronomy, botany, art. Bohemia in the days of Rudolf II was famed for many things. Among them was the making of glass. Zoja was a master glassblower who lived in the outskirts of Prague. In her youth she had married Jozef, learned his trade and worked alongside him. What greater happiness than …

Hearts and Roses – Kathryn Yelinek

Every morning at exactly 8:47, three things happened: a swallow fed three nestlings in the eaves outside the mistress’s bedchamber, a rabbit nibbled grass beside the white stone driveway, and a crow pecked at something that caught the morning sun on the perimeter wall. Leaving her feather duster on the dressing table, Rosa opened the window and leaned out to watch. The breeze smelled of honeysuckle and blew warm over her light green skin, rustling …

Pandemonium – Allison Epstein

Belial sighed as the Brown Line clattered overhead, sending aftershock tremors through the tracks to the pavement. He kicked a stray chip of gravel ahead of him as he walked, his hands pressed deep in his pockets. “I hate this city,” he muttered, mostly to fill the nearly deserted street with the sound of his own voice. “Too much fucking iron.” The woman walking behind him slackened her pace, widening the distance between them. He …

The Cartographer – Caleb Warner

Ursula The girl returned to the abandoned trailer park with a road sign strapped to her back, a sacrifice for the man in the telephone pole. Cradled by the river, the trailer park sat, rusting. The entrance gate read Green Meadows, but the only green things left were the corroded copper-wire antennas and the piles of old road signs. Nothing truly green could grow in that black, clay-packed soil—even when the spring rains came and …