Undertow – Jared Leonard

The midday sun reflected off the sea in a thousand broken glimmers, belying the cutting chill in the early spring air. Salt scoured Alrik’s nostrils, the burn setting his nerves at ease. The vessel rocked casually amid the rolling waves, slowly inching its way to the black mass of clouds that hung off in the distance. He scanned the islands that stood around them. More than a half a dozen jagged, rocky outcroppings where the …

Shine – Amelia Aldred

Joanne balanced a third jar of pickles on her arm as she peered into another of Grammy’s cupboards. Once again, she saw endless rows of canned goods but not a drop of liquor or a recipe card. “Damnit Grammy, where’d you keep it?” she said, then flushed with guilt. This is your fault; Joanne berated herself as she re-arranged the pickles exactly as she had found them. You could’ve asked Grammy a dozen times about …

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 …

Showtime – Jamie Brindle

Week One The adverts are compelling, but you tell yourself you only watch the show because Mary wants to. Your wife has always loved reality TV. So on day one you tune in like half the nation, and you are hooked. The ten contestants are pretty awful, they always are on these things. But it’s different this time. When this show ends, only one of these people will survive. Though of course, sims aren’t classed …

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 …