The Hole in the Wall – Andrew Leon Hudson

It wasn’t a door, because it didn’t meet the ground. It wasn’t a window, because—no matter how high or low they are on a wall—windows show something, even if it’s just drawn curtains. Or a room previously filled with things, all now gone. This was just a hole in the wall. It showed… nothing. Yohaena stared across the cobbles from her splay-legged slump. She was exactly as far from the world’s finest market as a …

Flann Brónach and the King’s Champion – Allison Wall

Once, there was an ancient forest that had always been growing, as long as there had been plants to grow and dirt to grow them in. Its trees were as tall as mountains and so wide that ten deer could hide behind a single trunk. Flann Brónach, a spirit of the air, protected it and everything inside it. The heart of the forest was a wide, still lake. The sun cast rays of golden light …

Strix Antiqua – Hamilton Perez

I didn’t want to go back into those woods. I didn’t trust them, and I suppose they didn’t trust me either. But deep down, I knew—I had to go. You can’t just stay at home, whispering to God on bended knee when your little sister’s been taken by a witch. Police combed through the forest during the day but didn’t find anything. They wouldn’t of course. A witch takes people when they’re alone, not in …

Dragons I Have Slain – B. Morris Allen

I collect dragon tears. It isn’t difficult; they’re insidious and subtle, and they seep through my armor and into my skin like ink, leaving me stained, soiled, sorrowful — a human map of misery. The Dragon Atlas, I call it — marked with the precise locations of honor and shame. Dragons cry for the same reasons we do — pain, heartache, joy. We think of them as wise and cold, but wisdom is no antidote …

The Bonesetter – Santiago Belluco

Nissil saw a disturbance within the mold brambles in the far distance and turned to the broad edge of her tissue-fitting terrace. Soldiers approached from the east. The narrow road they took was partially obscured by the tall mold that dominated her holdings, but Nissil counted six figures with ease. She expected the attack on her keep to be more subtle than this, and was unsure if such an obvious maneuver should be cause for …

Luminaria – Matt Thompson

It’s a cold, hopeless wind that blows across the Southern Seas on these winter nights. Blade-edge gusts skim the waves; paper lanterns swing from the rigging, and the merchandise below decks strains against the swells: statues of boars and elephants, carvings of crocodiles and dung beetles, their marbled visages mocking the dreams of those who bear their burden of passage. On such a night one might remember the deserts of home, rocky outcrops on the …