Clod-Shodden – J.J. Drew

Part 1 – The Garden There were many in the beginning, dozens of basil seedlings basking under the warm sky and nodding dreamily at one another as if to say, “you’re growing, as am I, and that is right and good.” They grew in groups of four, and their pot-mates, whose roots caressed their own, were especially dear to them, as dear as the sun and the summer breeze. Then one day the Caretaker came …

Sonata III: Canta – L. Chan

Adagio: Canta Sona, on a quest for vengeance, has enlisted help of the Six Named to play a piece of heretical Music composed by his mother, the Lady Kristyk. Shailani found Sona harbouring a second secret, a device of his mother’s design, able to capture and replay any Music it hears, but the Music that Sona has brought is eerily familiar to her; containing elements of her own people’s holy songs, Music she was sent …

The Draining – Matt Hornsby

It is strange to imagine that serpent-men might love serpents. After all, they go to great lengths to wreak destruction on the beasts, travelling far out on the fickle and changing sea to slay them. One might not imagine, too, that serpent-men love the Wetness. Yet they do. I never met a serpent-man who did not hold both the serpents and the sailing season quite dear in his heart. I surely loved both right well, …

The Wicked Stepmother – Rhema Sayers

She was five when I married Reynard, a sweet, shy child, bewildered by the loss of her mother. At first, she rejected me. But with patience and understanding, a gentle approach, and a lot of stuffed animals (the first 20 or so went out her tower window), I was able to help her overcome her grief and anger. For years we grew steadily closer. She became my daughter. Then when she was thirteen, she changed, …

Sonata II: Shailani – L. Chan

Allegro: Shailani This is part 2 of L. Chan’s novella, Sonata. Part 1 ran in January 2020. What has gone before: Sona has travelled north, up the lawless swathes of the Periphery of the Empire Sound. He’s enlisted the help of Shailani, a former soldier with the Imperial Army, on her own journey to the north. After an ambush by jealous bandits from a gang Sona used to serve, Shailani learned that Sona was carrying …

Heart of Stone – Chris Cornetto

Light filtered through the debris, igniting a spark in his crystalline heart. Bending all his will to the effort, the little golem opened his eyes. Pink, hazy dawn — or perhaps twilight? — filtered through a cloud of dust motes. It was barely light at all, yet it set his body thrumming, energy tingling through silicon veins. The light soaked into his heart and filled it with life. He tried to move his arms, his …