Fur and Feathers – Jess Koch

Dad was the first in our family to change. It was slow in the beginning: one morning he woke to find the skin on the back of his hand had hardened and darkened overnight. When I asked about it, he told me it was just dry skin, and I believed him because I was only twelve at the time and didn’t know what I know now. As weeks passed, the dark patch grew. It spread …

A Time for Understanding – Lisa Fox

I lay your bulky, yellow head on my lap, your labored breaths hot against my nightdress. Your massive Labrador paws thrash against an unrelenting hardwood floor, as if you’re trying to run to a place without pain. I press my cheek into your soft fur; it cushions the fear that strikes with each violent spasm that threatens to take you from me. I pull you close, wrapping myself around you until the yelps subside to …

Via Dolorosa – Christine Lucas

“Your father crapped himself,” croaks her aunt’s ghost. “Go clean him up!” “Yes, Aunt Katina.” Father craps himself every other hour; Maro needs to finish the bills first. But the numbers won’t add up. Father’s pension isn’t enough anymore. “Such a worthless daughter,” mutters the ghost. “I envy your mother, who’s not around to watch!” Of all the ghosts in this damned house, Aunt Katina had to be the talkative one. Maro shoves the bills …

Super – Yume Kitasei

The last time Jack Wu jumped off a building, he nearly lost an arm clipping the fire escape. Something wrong with his takeoff. Maybe it took a few seconds longer to catch an upstream or something, he didn’t know. God, it had hurt like hell. But then he was up in the arms of the grey sky again, his hands out in front of him in the night above the city, looking for trouble. When …

The Season of Withering – Lisa Short

Tamasin, called Abhasvar, watched from the concealing folds of her hood as the Riever and his men strode into the great hall. For a long, fearful moment she thought the Riever wouldn’t stop, would mount the dais alongside Piro and throw a too-jovial arm around his neck (and perhaps break it). But the Riever did stop at the foot of the dais, bracing his legs wide apart, teeth bared in a broad grin. He’d brought …

Darling – Kathryn Weaver

The damned shadows did me in. They should have been blue. Yellowish light should cast blue or violet shadows, every artist learned that. While disregard for basic colour principles was new and exciting in paint, in life it was awful. This evening, the gallery’s shadows were an unsavory shade of red, somewhere between wine vomited down the balustrade and the bloodstains I tried to suck out of my only silk waistcoat. Worse, no two of …