Love in Its Heart – David Z. Morris

It was the third one. The third ever, all in the same week. On the pipes, grainy handset video showed hulking masses, ungainly, asymmetrical, wobbling out of the sky. Tearing through level after level of the sprawling, towering city, girders screaming through showers of sparks. The first one on a Tuesday, a dozen commerce units over. Then another Friday, a little closer. And then on Saturday, just as the lights came on. Bang. Our zone.…

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Memory is a Rumor – Yaroslav Barsukov

In the heat, even paper seemed to sweat. Dr. Startsev’s fingers left wet stains on the pages of the open notebook, on a number: thirty. Thirty minutes to try and deter the people about to enter his office from doing the irreversible. He always hoped for thirty; but when the front door in the lobby opened and steps drummed on the laminated floorboards, a resolute ostinato, he corrected himself: at most, twenty. Then a male…

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Jewel/Gem Offering – Emily McIntyre

It is dawn in the half-world of Varuzza, and the sun strikes the woman’s face in strips of meat red and blue. Around her still-trim waist she wears a leather belt holstering the latest shiny aggro-tech; old lace kisses pearls around her neck and in her hand is a pot holding the tender sprig of a rose with deep purple thorns and a bud the color of midnight on the old Home World. Two days…

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The Seer at Sunset Hills Shopping Plaza – Katherine Perdue

“A woman’s been murdered!” That was Theodora Yates for you: always jumping to conclusions, bless her heart, and that conclusion most often of all. But there was no talking her out of it once she’d made up her mind, so I said, without bothering to ask any questions, “Then we must go to the Seer at once!” My granddaughter, Katie, she didn’t think much of us going to the Seer. She grew up in this…

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Emeralds or Amethysts – Alexandra Grunberg

If Lucy could cry, she would, but she is frozen in stillness by her unnatural sleep. She can feel the soft embrace of silk sheets, she can taste the salty dryness of her tongue, and she can hear the sounds of another man who has come to try to save her, but she cannot cry any more than she can speak, or eat, or wake. Lucy has been sleeping for so long, she does not…

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Dekker’s Miracle – Frank Oreto

Charlie “Bull” Dekker drove his cruiser down the East Valley Road and thought about a woman who wasn’t his wife. Donna Swanger, the woman in question, had recently made her interests in Charlie fairly obvious. And for the first time in his twelve years of marriage he found himself tempted. Donna was a fine looking woman with the kind of long red hair that Charlie had always been partial to, but it wasn’t her looks…

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