La Belle Dame – Sabrina N. Balmick

The scribe met the knight on the old stone road. The castle was a couple of hours away. Three, at the speed his donkey was trotting. He’d meant to deliver his news of no news and stumble off to a bath and, if he were lucky, into a warm bed with a warm wench. Instead he found himself conversing with a knight who hunkered in a smear of blue-violet twilight. Cloaked in shadows, he looked …

Seeders – Jamie Killen

The wheat died three days after Elin’s skin began to itch. The itching started as a rash on the backs of her hands, little round bumps standing out from her skin. She ignored it at first, went to work at the diner as always. But by the third day it had spread up her arms and started on her feet. She came downstairs early in the morning after a sleepless night, knowing her parents would …

In the Belly of the Angel – Henry Szabranski

It was Full Night, the climax of the two-week Festival of Threll, and the narrow streets of Thranrak heaved with the devout, the curious, and the avaricious. Freya Adinyan plunged past the torch-lit processions and the bustling market stalls, her heart pounding in time to the drums. Tonight she was determined to leave Thranrak and the world of man behind. She forced her way through the mass of festival-goers crowding Ascension Square, towards the tower …

… and now He erases – Rhoads Brazos

He calls me the Motorcycle Man. One word? Possibly. I’ve never seen it in print. Certainly never needed to scratch it on paper. The Boy knew my proper name up until last week, when he forgot. I forgive him. Besides, I like Motorcycle Man just fine. It says all it needs to. I’m forever wearing a white jumpsuit crossed with Dixie stars. My helmet appears on my head whenever I ride, but it’s gone when …

Cat Play – Mari Ness

When the girl moves almost next door – across the way in our apartment complex – I lose my breath. Literally. She’s – well, gorgeous doesn’t begin to cover it. Long, incredibly rich black hair that you know just from looking at will feel like silk, and extraordinary eyes that I’ve never seen before – large, green, tilted, kinda cat shaped, really. The eyes are the first thing you see in the face, which is …

The Demon in the Page – Joshua Phillip Johnson

“Ochre!” Mahj’s tired shout was the crunch of autumn leaves underfoot, and the densely packed tomes of the library devoured the sound. “Ochre!” She tried again, her voice straining, tempting another coughing fit. Running from place to place was a student’s game. “Coming!” came the faint reply, wafting through the archives like a shallow breath. While Ochre’s footsteps grew from light pats to insistent thumps, Mahj looked again at the open journal in front of …