Pandemonium – Allison Epstein

Belial sighed as the Brown Line clattered overhead, sending aftershock tremors through the tracks to the pavement. He kicked a stray chip of gravel ahead of him as he walked, his hands pressed deep in his pockets. “I hate this city,” he muttered, mostly to fill the nearly deserted street with the sound of his own voice. “Too much fucking iron.” The woman walking behind him slackened her pace, widening the distance between them. He …

My Last Summer at Camp Unterlaken – Eugene Morgulis

Camp Unterlaken wasn’t for everybody. Kids who came expecting a safe and cushy woodland experience barely lasted a week. I mean, you could get splinters from just about any surface, the mosquitoes could eat you alive, and the water in the lake was always, always freezing. But my friends and I went back every summer. We treated Unterlaken’s rustic roughness like a badge of honor. Proof of our toughness in a world of bubble-wrapped jungle …

The Cartographer – Caleb Warner

Ursula The girl returned to the abandoned trailer park with a road sign strapped to her back, a sacrifice for the man in the telephone pole. Cradled by the river, the trailer park sat, rusting. The entrance gate read Green Meadows, but the only green things left were the corroded copper-wire antennas and the piles of old road signs. Nothing truly green could grow in that black, clay-packed soil—even when the spring rains came and …

Comes the Tinker – Karl Dandenell

As always, they heard the children first. Even in the strictest, most conservative towns, somehow, a few of the youngest or bravest managed to slip out to the road and wait for them. In other places, the whole of the population turned out, led by the mayor, or captain, or caliph, holding forth banners and flags and flowers to welcome the Tinker and his wagon, drawn by the steel horses that never tired. “The Tinker!” …

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 …