Fantasy

Story

Beyond the Twilight Gate

An ancient arch over a path on a slope

My dearest brother, I know you miss me, but I can’t cure you by telling stories at your bedside. Though you’ve faced the fainting spells and sudden shivers bravely, these symptoms are too stubborn to be soothed with herbal tonics and a strong will. Read more »

Story

Deathslinger

A gray bullet giving off blue smoke

Haru Rake paced the length of her porch as snow drifted down, covering the corral in a soft white blanket. Ten minutes since the clock struck nine, and her farmhands still hadn’t shown. That wasn’t like them. No help for it, she’d have to seek them out in town. A town that welcomed Haru Rake like it welcomed a typhoid outbreak. Read more »

Story

The Shattered Ascension

An explosion in the clouds

Try though she might, Captain Niccasha Fletcher couldn’t regret leaving the war behind. She stood on the bridge of her airship, the Aurora, and gazed out through the main viewport as the vessel steamed north. Golden sunlight filtered through the floating glaciers and ice islands, prisming into rainbows that reached far down into the abyss below. Spectrums of light played across Fletcher’s dark skin, and she sighed. It was clean and peaceful, a welcome relief from the acrid smoke and blazing hulks of war. She frowned. The admiralty had sent her away because she had failed in serving her country. Being grateful for the assignment was cowardice. Read more »

Story

Hellgate Incident 24

Subject: Performance Report Follow-Up. From: Kareena Chaudhari ([email protected]). To: Jeff Klein ([email protected]). Message: Hi Jeff, I just wanted to check in and see if you’ve had the chance to generate that performance report we discussed. My presentation for the CTO is tomorrow, and I’ll need some time to look over the data and create appropriate graphics. I expect this presentation will be mentioned in my upcoming performance review, so I’d appreciate it if you could send me the data ASAP. Read more »

Story

Prince in the Pin

A hat pin with prince head and blood on the tip

Bethany stared at the vacant eyes of her grimy reflection. The windows of her foster home were dark; the shared house key had been taken. While she shivered in her greasy apron and jacket, her classmates were probably piling into their limos. In moments they’d be circling the dance floor, while she was exiled from her own bedroom. Read more »

Story

The Familiar and the Frost

A couple rats rest on a woman's shoulder, under a witch hat

Camella the rat familiar perched upon the highest shelf of Witch’s cottage and stared down at the spy. Warlocks and wizards sent spies into the cottage to steal Witch’s powerful charms. But this wasn’t like any spy Camella had ever seen, not like the mechanical gnomes and flame sprites that warlocks and wizards preferred. Read more »

Story

Lost & Found

Cars covered in plants rust in the woods

Before you, the road forks in two wrong directions. One side bores through a tangle of trees, and the other heads off a cliff into the ocean. Neither fits your destination: a masquerade ball with a gushing fountain of melting chocolate. At this rate, you won’t get there before running out of gas again. You take the third direction – backwards – toward what looks like a station. Read more »

Story

Chaser of Shadows

A black cat looks on as small shadow creatures circle a teapot

We came alive when the clock rang one. Submerged in night, we were safe from the scorching rays of sun and burning beams of lanterns. We emerged from the cracks in the cupboards and swam through the crannies between the floor planks. Famished from our day of fasting, we slid up the table to taste the dying heat of the evening’s tea and gorge on warmth from the oven. Bolstered, we condensed into shadows of the night air. After that we played, but we heard well the chimes on every hour, and once we heard five, we shrank back into our crevices and slept. So it was before the beast came. Read more »

Story

Kelly and the Goblins

Conventional room with furnishings that are crooked, upside down, or at odd angles

Kelly emerged from the bathroom to discover all the furniture was upside down. Oh god, how could she fix this mess before John got back with his parents? He’d freak. He had planned every aspect of their visit precisely. He specified that the house had to be in perfect order and told her to wear the most conservative dress in her closet. But while she slaved over every eyelash, something had vandalized her careful preparations. Read more »