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"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.


Magic & Wizardry

A bunch of intro text about Magic & Wizardry

by Matthew Amati
Unk Unger was boiling his head. "If a real Wizhard ye would be," his voice burbled from the roiled waters of the charmed pot, "ye must commit. Commit! Many a prentice cometh wheedling to my stout oak door. Born with Powers, they say. O Maister, teach me Secrets, they say."
Published on Apr 2, 2018
by Brenda Joyce Anderson
I was two years old when my father disappeared. I cried for a whole week. "Cheer up, Alexander." Aunt Morgause always sounded nasty. "He'll probably come crawling out from under some rock."
Published on Aug 14, 2017
by Therese Arkenberg
He was more and more a wizard each day now. He even had a staff, tall as he was, that he had found where the tracks wound through the trees a few days back. The pale wood had strange symbols in it, like the magic wand he found in his backyard once Before. Dad had said the symbols weren't carved, just the chewed tracks of bark beetles, but that was because Dad hadn't believed in magic. The wizard knew it was real.
Published on Nov 23, 2012
by Daniel Ausema
By law and tradition, everyone in the city of Malshennes carried a mirror at all times. The inhabitants of the city handed their fancy mirrors down from generation to generation. Frequent traders to the city would carry extras in their mule trains to re-use each time they returned. Visitors were required to purchase one from the merchants outside the city gate. Mirror merchant Enjo didn’t know the origin of the tradition, but he liked to sound wise to his customers as he charged them a premium to be allowed inside. “The sky god gave us the rule,” he might tell one group of travelers. “Each mirror is a piece of the sky, so in carrying it through the city, we remember the gifts of the gods that come to our city.” Or another time, “The tradition comes from the sea.” Though Enjo has never seen the sea himself, living out here in a dry country. “As the sea reflects the blue above, we transport a sea of glass to this land of drought and tumbleweeds. Someday it will draw the goddess’s eyes our way, and the sea will bless us with rain.” Stories of deities left him unsatisfied, so more often he invented the heroes of the past to entertain his customers. “The hero Falla swore an oath to always watch behind her own back, and doing so saved the city from an attack by a mercenary army, hired by a corrupt councilman. We carry mirrors in her honor.” “The guardsman Torm once caught three thieves in a single night, using a mirror to peer around corners. Thieves in this city have had terrible luck ever since we all began carrying the mirrors.” “The first mirrors were gifts from a visiting ruler who carried them from his extensive mines. But while he was here, he disappeared into the mirrors, and we never learned where his land lay or how to bring him back. We keep the mirrors as a service to him and his retinue, so he can return someday, if he ever makes the attempt.” “When the rock formations marched against the city, the Wizard Whose Name is Forgotten crafted a gigantic mirror to shelter the entire city. The stones, made animate, laid siege to Malshennes for almost a year, and our ancestors lived on gathered sunlight. On the brightest day of the year, the sun grew so intense that it melted the mirrors, but before all was lost, a blinding flash petrified our attackers. You can see them out there still today. And these--these are the fragments of that mirror, cooled and hardened and still holding a touch of that wizard’s power.” His customers thanked him for the stories, paid a handsome price, handled their cheap mirrors with reverent awe, and entered the city. But words spoken over mirrors have a reciprocal power, and Enjo’s stories reached into realms he knew nothing of, jealous realms that longed for the lands of deities and heroes and works of magical wonder. Enjo began to see shadows within his mirrors, mists and movement out of the corner of his eye. Distracted, he stumbled over his stories, invented even wilder tales to cover his moments of distraction. When voices rose from certain mirrors, he flipped the mirrors face downward. Visitors to the city shied away from his stand and bought mirrors from the other vendors. Enjo grew gaunt, though whether it was hunger because he was selling fewer mirrors or sleeplessness from the haunting of the voices in the mirrors, he couldn’t say. At first the mirror voices were unintelligible. They rose from the mirrored worlds within in vague syllables and unformed phonemes. In time, the sounds settled into words he could understand. They spoke of the sky god and the guardsman Torm, of the goddess of the sea and the hero Falla and wizards without names. None of them real. Each of them merely his own inventions. He stumbled away from his vendor table, dizzy and weak. Still the words sounded, over the other market sounds, over the distance that grew between him and his mirrors. The words reflected Enjo’s stories back to him, calling on those imaginary beings to answer the mirrors’ summoning. A pair of travelers were climbing up the road toward the city. Enjo was hungry, desperate to sell something. Desperate to get rid of his mirrors entirely, if he could. He ran to the couple and said, “I have just the mirrors for you. Come to my stall, please.” His desperation no doubt showed through. A desperate seller was not a trustworthy one, but he couldn’t disguise his straits. “Please. I have the exact mirrors you need, and for the two of you, cheap. Very cheap.” The two women exchanged a glance and let themselves be led over to Enjo’s stall. “These mirrors.” Enjo ignored the voices within, talked over them as if they didn’t exist. “These have been dedicated to the Heroes-to-Come. They are the masters of the mirror. Little is known of them. How many they are, their appearance, or how their powers will manifest.” He spoke the words directly over the two mirrors, and the glass clouded with his breath. “So we insist on everyone carrying a mirror, so that when it’s needed, the Heroes-to-Come will have their tools at hand. And when the beings within the mirrors attempt to rise, those heroes will wrest control from them. They will pull the beings from their home realms, defeat the threat they pose to ours, and confine them in new mirrors that have no escape.” The voices within grew quiet, stilled. The women shook their heads and kept their distance from him as if they feared his mad ravings would infect them. They crossed to a different vendor, but Enjo didn’t care. He would perfect the story next time, and it would be his story, reflected downward into the reciprocal realms of the mirrors within. And the voices would finally leave him alone.
Published on Nov 2, 2021
by Robert Bagnall
“And this is the room in which the Cantor Gregory invented the hat....” Elizabeth had suspected for most of the morning that their tour guide was making it up as she went along. This latest one-step-too-far factoid seemed to confirm it. She glanced around the rest of the tour party, but the faces had all the dull credulity of cattle. Except for her family, of course. They weren’t falling for this pseudo-historical drivel. Because they weren’t even listening.
Published on Mar 19, 2021
by Mishell Baker
When I shook Femi's hand in the office break room on my first day, everything faded: the snot-colored linoleum, the nauseous fluorescent lighting, the wheezy hum of the refrigerator. Instead of "Nice to meet you," I heard myself say, "You are a fragment of heaven." I pulled my hand back, feeling like a complete moron, but her tranquil expression didn't waver.
Published on Apr 7, 2011
by Michael T. Banker
There's something about the Vanishing Girl. I watch her from the Presto Portraits booth of the county fair. A man in a cowboy hat is painting my portrait with punchy, animated strokes; if he's not finished in six minutes, the portrait's free. He tells me to angle my head left, and that's when I see her. The Vanishing Girl, her sign proclaims her. I allow myself to stare. After all, I'm posing for a picture; I can't look away.
Published on Sep 4, 2013
by Jacquelyn Bartel
The door swings closed with a soft click. I rest my back against it, chest heaving, as I strain to hear any sounds from the other side. My pounding heart is deafening. My eardrums pulse with its rhythms. I tiptoe across the plush, burgundy carpet and peek out the heavy curtain. The driveway is still empty. Bobby Donne is right. I am a coward. I sink to the floor. Shivers run wildly up and down my skin. Having adventures is so much easier when I'm lying safe in bed at night. With my Scooby-Doo pajamas and my red, plastic flashlight I can be anyone; a knight saving helpless and beautiful damsels, a suave space explorer, a crafty detective who always gets the bad guy, a daring first mate on a perilous sea voyage. But in the daytime, I'm just me: weird little Casey Adams, the "Space Case" of Roosevelt Elementary.
Published on Jul 17, 2012
by Alan Baxter
***Editor's Warning: Adult Tale*** "I need a volunteer!" Mephisto scanned the crowd, one hand shielding his eyes as if from a bright sun. His red-lined black cape whipped around as he strode from one side of the stage to the other.
Published on Jun 23, 2014
by James Beamon
The Festival of Undying begins as it normally does, with the Pushing of the Wizard. Virtually every one of the eighty villagers trots out their own effigy of Deranged Blomssaft, many of them beautifully crafted with colorful robes, polished stones for eyes and sheared sheep's wool for hair. The villagers gather at the edge of the village and upon the sounding of the ram's horn, they release their individual Blomssafts. While the seventy-seven effigies fall silently to disappear as specks into the distant landscape miles below, the crowd emulates the desperate last screams of Deranged Blomssaft. And then they cheer. Next comes The Eulogy, given by the village mayor in the town square. This year it's Leymin Draft, a portly man who looks like a chubby cheeked, happy baby when he smiles.
Published on Dec 16, 2019
by David Beyt
Jack gets the animal home to his apartment and sets it on the counter in the kitchen. Then he just stands there watching it. He's sure there's no such thing as whatever this is. It doesn't even look like an animal really now that he thinks about it, more like something out of a fairy tale. It has wide, trusting eyes and a body like a stuffed toy. Jack puts a hand out, and the animal nuzzles its head into his palm. Its fur feels like lambswool on his fingers. The woman who sold it to Jack had another dozen, maybe twenty animals Jack had never seen before. She was old and warty and smoking a pipe. Sitting there in the shadows between the crates and the cages, she looked exactly like the kind of person who would own a magical pet store. It kind of ruined the moment when she spoke with a thick Brooklyn accent. "Sure, buddy. Have a look around. Mi casa, su casa, y'know? No pictures, though, okay? You know how it is, man. Got to protect my investments."
Published on Jul 11, 2017
by Thea Boodhoo
My Dearest Lahar,
Published on Jul 20, 2021
by Sue Burke
Rule 0. Magic works. But few people believe in it. A half-dozen students awaited their teacher in a secluded garden. The sorcerer, they thought, would be an elderly man with a long white beard and wise, sad eyes. Instead, a carefree young woman strolled in, wearing a fashionable hoop skirt, bell sleeves, and corseted waist. She hummed as she sat on a wicker bench.
Published on Apr 19, 2021
by Tara Calaby
When the townspeople found Rosalind sitting astride the mayor's daughter with her skirts hoisted to her thighs and her bodice loosened at the chest, they knew she was a witch. She was feasting at her victim's lips, sucking the soul out of poor Leda's body as she lay, bent, in the shadow of the mill. The preacher was summoned and, although Leda protested, Rosalind was shackled and presented to the mayor for trial. On the first day, three witnesses were called. The miller stood with flour on his shirt and stammered as he told the townspeople that Rosalind had been seen near his mill before. Once, he had watched her gathering flowers and, the next day, the crooked form of a bird's embryo had been found in the nearby grass. "And she never took a husband," he finished. Indeed, she had turned the miller down.
Published on Jun 17, 2013
by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks
The goose tumbled through Jayce's open kitchen window, getting its wings tangled in the curtains and pulling them down with a crash to the tiled floor. By the time the goose freed itself from the gauzy fabric, it was no longer a goose, but a man. Jayce sat at the table with a mug of coffee. She tossed over the jeans and AC/DC T-shirt that the man had been wearing when she first had transformed him to a fowl. Her choice of animal had been deliberate because he was foul. Behind that handsome face and charming smile was the foulest man she had ever met.
Published on Jul 11, 2016
by Jay Caselberg
Marsius pulled his coat tight against the wind. The snow blew in flurries swirling about his face and his fur boots sank deep. The sharp, dirt-ice smell crept under his hood, edged and filthy like the season. He looked up at the sheer stone Academy walls, their tops lost in darkness. Somewhere above, the remaining college members were heading off to dinner, or the library, or bed, secure and warm. There was no point dwelling on it; the prison awaited. He pulled his coat around him more tightly and lowered his head into the icy wind. It took him half an hour to trudge to the broad prison gates, battling through the narrow streets. The high buildings funneled the wind and whipped it around him. Twin torches sat on either side of the gate, guttering and flaring, sending the acrid scent of burning swirling about with the wind. He lifted a leather-gloved fist to bang on the iron-shod door. At his third attempt, someone heard; a small door recessed in the main portal swung inward and a head poked out. There was annoyance on the face it presented.
Published on Nov 11, 2011
by Beth Cato
Not even the soothing heat of a full cup of tea could ease the agony in Sir Oren's hands. Each finger joint throbbed as if it contained a burning coal. He cursed, trying to cradle the cup between his palms, but the brew sloshed and speckled his velvet housecoat. Oren exhaled in frustration and set the cup aside. If he couldn't drink tea, how in the ten hells was he supposed to manage pen and ink? The secret of his pained hands had been kept this long because the king had no immediate need of him, and his other commissions had far-off deadlines. Oren claimed headaches, avoided the map room entirely, and tried every available concoction to heal his hands. Nothing worked.
Published on Aug 24, 2012
by Beth Cato
Congratulations! Your magic manifested itself. Maybe your teenage years won't suck quite so much, right? Wrong. The good news is, you found my website. The bad news is, I'm not the top result on Google. If you're under imminent threat of death because of your experimental spellcasting (a cacodemon pursues you as you read this on your phone), call 911 or your nation's equivalent. Local police train to handle these things. If you're injured, doctors can glue your body together again--perhaps literally, if someone/something turned you into Humpty Dumpty. (This has happened. Do an online search for "Fresno High School Humpty Dumpty Tragedy.")
Published on Nov 22, 2016
by Diane Chattaway
Hunched over her cane, hidden behind people, she stared ahead at the girl, happily jotting her name down in books. Plagued by memories of failed attempts, and drunken stupor, she stepped forward in line, pushing the book she'd burned six years after publishing it, over.
Published on Jan 14, 2021
by Curtis C. Chen
I really shouldn't have taken any of it personally. "Is this accurate?" the insurance adjuster asked. "Thirteen different protection and concealment spells for a single building?"
Published on Aug 9, 2016
by Amanda Clark
"You're not looking hard enough. Why aren't you down at the embassy, harassing them into helping? They won't listen to me. I'm just the mother." Elise had gone to the safe then, which he thought she didn't know the combination for. She had silently taken out the small book, the one she was never to touch because it was confidential, for work. "Ask one of them how to reach him," Elise had said, handing it to his mother, just to get some peace. After calling the women, each of their names written in perfect block letters, his mother gave it back. She retreated to the living room, saying she would wait for the export officer.
Published on Jun 13, 2012
by Elizabeth Cobbe
For the crust: 1 sleeve Graham crackers, crumbled
Published on Mar 16, 2021
by Donald S. Crankshaw
"It's eccentric," Alric said, "but surely it's not dangerous." "The Council's vote was unanimous," Duke Richard said. He looked ridiculous in a bright yellow doublet. The color would make anyone look foolish, as the other old men seated around the table proved, but its gaiety was especially jarring against Richard's habitual dark expression. "You know your duty, Guardian."
Published on Sep 29, 2011
by Guy Anthony De Marco
"What is it?" I asked, marveling that the dusty, timeworn box was able to actually keep its shape. "Why," he said with a sly grin, "it's a Case of Curiosities. Very rare these days, not many of them left."
Published on Apr 11, 2012
by Preston E Dennett
"You need what?" I asked, unsure I'd heard her correctly. I'd done love spells more times than I'd care to say, but a hate spell? A stunningly attractive woman stood before me. She had a rather plain look, but there was something indefinably gorgeous about her. "You heard right. A hate spell. You are the Great Wizard, Melton, are you not?"
Published on Feb 6, 2018
by Nicholas Diehl
She looked like soot and snow, kohl eyes and spiky black hair and pale, pale skin, as if she carried an umbrella, rain or shine. If she did, he wondered, would it be black or white? One or the other, given the rest of her clothes. She wore black jeans and small white tops, tight across her chest. That was how he met her, in fact: She caught him staring at her breasts across the lab table one day. He flushed and dropped his eyes, but she winked at him later and blew him a kiss when she left. The next week they were lab partners, and every week after that. Still, he wasn't really expecting anything. He'd seen her around, holding hands with a blonde girl a couple of times, so he figured he wasn't her type.
Published on Jun 8, 2015
by Emily Dorffer
"Hand me your wand and tell me what happened," Principal Woodson said. Grover clutched the bag containing the shattered remains of an intricately patterned vase closer to his chest. "Please don't expel me, sir," he said between sobs.
Published on Jan 24, 2019
by Lise Fracalossi
Mine is not the face of evil. It is more of a rotten toadstool of a face, after fifteen years of my twin's hard living. Too much jowl, teeth decayed to stinking pulp, lips cracked with venereal sores.
Published on Mar 26, 2021
by Helen French
Wesley and Kara sat on the side of a hill in Etriun, facing the water below them and the night sky above, waiting for the future to happen. "The fireworks will begin soon," Wesley pointed out, breaking the silence.
Published on Jun 16, 2017
by A. T. Greenblatt
Kaylee's first act as sorceress was to bring the voices back. The rain thrummed on the shingles of her quiet home as she lit the candles, drew the diagrams, and read out the names of each dusty ancestor, carefully laboring over the subtle inflections of the gh's and 's. One by one, she called the raspy, aged voices back from their silence.
Published on Mar 31, 2015
by Lee Hallison
The day Ruth met her fairy godfather started out poorly. She sat across from Frank, twisting her cup between her hands. "Yesterday was our anniversary," she said, watching the coffee swirl.
Published on Mar 20, 2012
by Sean Patrick Hannifin
"We might kill the wizard tonight," Jonlen whispered. "Or be killed," Slip whispered back.
Published on Dec 15, 2010
by Elliotte Rusty Harold
Magical and Professional Services Diagnosed with demonic possession? You may be eligible to participate in a study of cutting edge exorcism techniques. Qualified participants between 12 and 200 will receive room, board, magical care, and may be compensated for time and travel. (Not liable for pre-existing damnation.) Contact Fr. Wirrhenius at St. Stephen's Temple, Priestly Quarter.
Published on Mar 21, 2016
by Erin M. Hartshorn
It was the quality of Reina's silence that first drew Sarna to her as she sat in the gardens outside the old palace ruins. Sarna had come to the outskirts to gather the grasses that would be used for the First Meal at the convent, after the midsummer fast. Her sickle for harvesting hung at her belt, untouched; the gardens might be on her way to the gathering fields, but she would not remove plants from the palace gardens. Nor would anyone else -- too afraid of ghosts or magic or the ire of the current prince of their city-state, even if he would never have the power kings once did. She knew she had nothing to fear from magic, from essence, and ghosts could be banished to drift. Crossing the prince, however, would not be wise. Thinking how fortunate she was to have the gardens to herself this morning -- the city was increasingly crowded as the fast and its ensuing feast days approached -- Sarna walked along a path tiled with bricks from one of the broken walls. She rounded a corner to see a girl of perhaps twelve sitting on a fallen pillar, intent on a red lily in the nearby grass. Her black hair was tied on the top of her head in an Estian artist's knot, exposing the flat planes of her face to the summer sun. The one bit of ornamentation she had was her hair clasp, of volcanic glass the same sheen as her hair; otherwise, her attire was as quiet as she herself, an unremarkable dove gray blouse with a charcoal-colored divided skirt. The girl could have been the child of anyone in the city were it not for her complete stillness of body and soul.
Published on Nov 5, 2010
by Amanda M. Hayes
A penny plunked into the fountain outside the Chinese restaurant, and one of the resident goldfish swam up to investigate. He tasted metal in the water. He took the penny in his mouth--he was large, as goldfish went--and tasted something else beneath the tang of countless human hands: the coin carried a woman's wish for a new job. He couldn't discern details without swallowing it, so he did, and began to digest. By evening a bright, shining, almost golden penny lay where he had been, until the owner's son scooped the fountain clean of wishes, and threw them in the register with the change.
Published on Oct 6, 2011
by Kate Heartfield
Maudlinday Empathetic magic is cruel magic: the more skilled the wielder, the more he risks every time he enters the trance. Now that you are senior apprentice, it will not get easier. It gets much, much harder.
Published on Dec 4, 2014
by Alicia Hilton
More glad than mad, the hatter greeted a new customer, a petite man whose spectacles gave him the dour expression of a vexed beetle. The customer said, "I want a chapeau crafted from broken promises and pitch." He scratched his nose, rubbing a rather large mole. "No, not pitch, can you use spider webs and witch spit?"
Published on Apr 23, 2020
by Sylvia Hiven
Gabriel wouldn't ever have thought there would be circumstances rough enough for him to set foot in lower Manhattan Chinatown. In the old days, perhaps, but not after the integration. Too many dragons. There were mainly humans, of course; clingy people chattering in Mandarin as he walked by in the drizzle, one offering traditional Chinese souvenirs while the next tried to sell him pornographic holograms--"real girls, real action, not Jsunji made!" But in the shadows beneath the awnings, he saw their willowy shapes, the odor of their dirty scales wafting against his face as he walked. They wouldn't do anything now, but ten years earlier, they would have scorched him and promptly sucked the meat off his bones. It made him pull up his collar and walk faster.
Published on Feb 18, 2011
by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
I'm not the one who should get the family recipe. It has passed from mother to daughter for more generations than anybody can count, and I'm a son, not a daughter. But my three sisters didn't have the vision to read the writing on the family recipe page, and I did, so Mom was stuck with training me to make the solstice cakes. I'm seventeen, and I was looking forward to running away to the Western Culinary Institute next year, partly to get away from Dad, who says these things that sound like compliments but aren't, like, "Nice quiche, Zach. Very flavorful. Who knew you had it in you?" I've been interested in cooking since I was nine, so he should know I had it in me by now.
Published on May 20, 2014
by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
"I don't want to," I told my younger sisters. I punched my frustrations out on the bread dough, then folded it into itself on the floured board, and kneaded. "Come on, Lila. What would it hurt?" asked my sister Stray. She was sitting at the kitchen table, shelling peas into a big bowl. Juniper, the youngest sister, put the kettle on to heat water for tea and stayed out of the argument. They were in it together. The two of them had created a profile for me on a dating app and summoned a date. I bet Juniper came up with the idea. Stray should know better. "Get dressed," said Stray. "He'll be here in ten minutes." "The bread," I said. Which was feeble, but I'd already said no three different ways. Stray cast a stasis spell on the dough, took it out from under my hands, and put it in the fridge. I looked at my familiar, Gillyflower the calico cat. She was smirking, all her whiskers quivering with delight. "You're no help," I said. You haven't been on a date since you were twelve, she thought. You don't know how to have fun. Go. I stuck my tongue out at my cat, which was such a mature thing for a twenty-five-year-old witch to do, and fled upstairs to my room. I didn't know what I was dressing for, since the younger sisters had set the whole thing up, and I wasn't about to give them or the date the satisfaction of thinking I put any effort into this project. I threw on my dancing dress, which had long white sleeves, a green bodice, and a twirly skirt made of blue and green scarves. Well, okay, it was my best dress. Everything else in the closet was work clothes, which meant basically T-shirts and jeans. I cooked and baked for our household, and I cleaned and maintained the rooms we rented out to AirBnB clients. I would have liked to have a bakery, but everybody in Grantham knew my sisters and I were witches, and because of a few piddling experiments we'd conducted in our teens, nobody who knew us would eat anything we prepared. I tied my red hair in a knot at my nape. My date prep was done. Someone knocked at the front door, and someone let him in. "Hello," Juniper said. "Good evening," he said in a voice like melted chocolate. "Are you Lila?" "Lila's little sister," she said, almost squeaking. Hmm. I put on my black flats and headed toward the staircase. Then went back to my room and grabbed my traveling bag of witch supplies. Then ducked back into the bedroom once more to collect my wallet. I had vague memories from movies of women needing mad money if a date went wrong. Grantham was small enough I could walk home from anything in town, but if he took me somewhere else-- "This is Lila," said Stray as I came down the stairs. "Lila," he said, and the word stroked me. I frowned at Stray. What kind of dating site had she gone to? Was the man a wizard? My sister shrugged. "So nice to meet you! I'm Ken." He held out a manicured hand. Everything about him was fresh and elegant, from his silvery hair to his green cotton shirt, dark slacks, and shiny black shoes. He had a face that was boy-band pretty, plus time and a few scars. "Hello, Ken," I said, having flashbacks to my friends' Barbie and Ken dolls when I was younger and allowed to visit normal houses--before my powers manifested. "I'm Lila." I took his hand and felt a staticky shock. I glanced at Gillyflower. My calico familiar was hunched on top of the bookshelf, her fur puffed up so she almost doubled in size. Her eyes were slits. Oh. Good to know. I could change my mind right now and send him packing. I looked at Stray. She blinked slowly. Okay, she was all right if I cancelled, too. Juniper bit her lip. She'd been asking me for six months if I ever did anything fun. I had brushed her off. Fun for me was spellcasting, but we were so hemmed in here. Everyone in Grantham knew to come to us for healing, help, and magic, but we had to watch our step. As long as we were good witches, we and our town got along. One had so few opportunities to get up to mischief. I slung my witching bag over my shoulder and smiled at my sisters. "Where are we going, Ken?" I asked. "I thought we'd start with the Truffle House," he said, naming the only upscale restaurant in Grantham. "Lovely." I glanced at my sisters and twinkled. Stray frowned and went for the broom standing in the corner. The one with the long, knobby broomstick and a big bush of mixed twigs for the brush. I stepped out onto the porch with Ken and shut the door behind me. His car was large, sleek, and dark, and had a jaguar on its bonnet. He held the door of the passenger side for me. The leather seats were covered in plastic. When he shut the door behind me, I saw it had no handle on the inside. While he walked around the car, I looked into my purse. I had several spells prepared for emergencies. I picked out three. I would refine my choice once I knew what Ken was. He slid behind the wheel and turned on the sound system. Soft music. Not the kind I would ever listen to voluntarily. He started the engine and drove to the end of the block, where he turned left--away from town. "Isn't the restaurant the other way?" I asked. "It is," he said, "but I have something else in mind for us." I gave him side eye, which he didn't notice. He was smiling. "Ken, do you have any family?" I asked. "What an interesting question. No, I don't. Not anymore." "Nobody to notice if you're gone?" "What?" He looked at me, which was good, since Stray and Juniper, on a single broom, wobbled into view, and then lifted up out of sight. "People where I work would notice. I bring in a lot of money for the GOP," he said. He pulled into a wooded area, far back into the trees. He turned off the engine and stared at me. "You interest me, Lila." "I should hope so. What's the plan now?" I said. "Terror is usually part of it. That's the part I savor. The killing and eating is an added bonus. I have a feeling you knew something would happen, though. Are you trying to trap me?" "Why, yes," I said, and picked the chicken transformation spell. I added a gender flip. We didn't need a rooster in our flock. He changed elegantly into a gray-blue, silky-feathered Isbar. They laid green eggs. My strength was cooking magic, and there were special things I could do with green eggs. Stray pulled open the driver's side door. "Are you all right? Oh!" She looked at Ken, squawking in the driver's seat. Maybe we could call him Kendra. "How do you like our new car?" I asked.
Published on Sep 24, 2021
by Liam Hogan
"So," the crone said, looking up at the tall, muscular man holding a stout cherry-wood pole, "You want to be a Hero, do you?" Her cackle was cut short as he shook his head and his wife stepped forward, a cloth covered bundle in her hands. "Wise woman," she said, tugging back the shawl to reveal a sleeping baby, a wisp of pale hair on his crown. "Please--it is not for us, it is for our son."
Published on Feb 18, 2016
by D.K. Holmberg
The bright green truck pulled in front of the house and parked in the driveway. Tracy watched as the driver leaned toward the passenger seat before getting out. He wore bright blue coveralls and a funny looking hat--not quite a beret--with a shamrock logo on it and carried a thick wooden clipboard in one hand. She pulled the door open before he reached the step. Taylor squirmed in her arms but she refused to set him down until she knew what was happening. Noise blasted behind her as she pulled it closed.
Published on Mar 17, 2015
by M.K. Hutchins
First Wish: I wasn't stupid. Someone had abandoned that lamp in the gym locker room for a reason. I thought about just wishing to lose weight, but the genie might vaporize my arm or something to meet that requirement. So I wished that I could lose weight.
Published on Oct 14, 2015
by M.K. Hutchins
The smoke in the speakeasy swirls between me and my date. She's dolled up with lipstick and a swell hat, but she'd be pretty without all that. "You work as a court stenographer, right?" I ask, nervously fidgeting with my drink. We sit near the back, where the piano-man hammers out a rag. "You must hear fascinating stuff all day."
Published on Jun 17, 2015
by Jess Hyslop
The first time he knocks at your door, be cautious. Your mother will pluck at your sleeve, hiss at you to come away--but do not feel you have to obey her. Do not feel you have to open the door either.
Published on Jan 7, 2014
by Thomas F Jolly
The crypt had not been locked. The graveyard was so remote and so rarely visited by anyone that vandalism had never been an issue, so getting access to the crypt was like visiting a 7-Eleven. Ras had walked right in. The air inside was musty, and the center of the room was dominated by a large stone sarcophagus. Green moss decorated the corners of the room. Ras wondered for the hundredth time if Jerome LeVine had chosen the crypt just for the sake of easy access, knowing that someday, some other necromancer would come along and try to raise him using one of the many spells LeVine had written while alive.
Published on Nov 14, 2011
by Naim Kabir
Em didn't have a single drop of magical blood in her body--and yet here she was. The fiftieth annual Occulta Luda Ad Promotionem Veneficii Et Ignotorum.
Published on Sep 11, 2015
by Simon Kewin
"That's Erelong, child. That's where you were born." Mayve pointed down the hillside to the valley laid out beneath them. Elian, still breathing hard from the climb, squinted against the bright sunlight, the dazzling silver of the river winding wide through the valley. Between stands of trees she saw a patchwork of ruined stone buildings and, in a round open field, the circle of standing stones. Jagged white rocks rose from the ground in an uneven circle, like the earth's crooked teeth, like impossible summer snowmen.
Published on Aug 23, 2011
by Joshua Curtis Kidd
Brady Coleman joins a crowd of kids in the park after school to watch Jed Martin make two toy robots fight using magic. The simple, plastic toys don't have batteries but, when Jed waves his wand, they begin to take slow steps toward each other. Punches land with the sound of groaning metal and sparks burst from mangled joints. "Whoa," Brady says along with the other kids. "Oh, man!"
Published on Mar 7, 2018
by Michelle Ann King
Katrine grew up with the stories, she knew them as well as her own name. First there was true love's kiss, then the fair maiden became the radiant bride, and she lived happily ever after. But the stories all stopped there, and Katrine hadn't realized just how much ever after there would be.
Published on Apr 15, 2013
by Edward Gary Kratz
Arnold Gold walked in timidly, holding a cardboard sign. "This says knock and come in." Robert Brewster was sitting behind a desk. "Sorry for the chaos. We're just relocating. Construction is not quite complete. And my secretary is on her break. But we'll get by."
Published on Oct 27, 2011
by Jamie Lackey
Clouds gathered on the horizon, even though no wind churned the smooth face of the gray-green ocean. Marlene scowled. "The weather witch is angry again."
Published on Aug 12, 2015
by Anne Leonard
The night after her father died, Anya brought a tea set out of her dreams. How odd, she thought, looking at the cups and saucers scattered on the bed. Cunningly painted golden fish, lifelike, swam on blue glaze that looked like water. It was not unusual for her to dream things into existence--they always vanished at nightfall--but they were never so useful. So domestic. Small red flowers which shed sparks, a painting with images that moved, a set of daggers with jeweled hilts and sickle blades made from glass. Once, memorably, there had been a basilisk. Then she recalled that her father was dead, and the hollow spot of grief within her opened up again, a well from which only bitter water could be drawn.
Published on May 29, 2019
by David D. Levine
Published on Mar 30, 2012
by Marissa Lingen
You are not the first to read this spell. The others have all been like you. All exhausted, all desperate. All sure that you will close the circle before you finish the invocation, let the energy drain. All sure that you cannot afford to. That your people--city or country or province--cannot afford for you to.
Published on Apr 3, 2017
by Ken Liu
In the moonlight, Magda walked through the memory room. This was her room, even more so than the kitchen. Nate never came in here. Piles of papers and bags of old clothes turned the floor into a maze. Along the wall were broken bookshelves, chairs missing legs, old toys from her girlhood.
Published on Aug 10, 2011
by Marina J. Lostetter
The magic appeared in 2019, when a rogue comet performed an impossible loop-de-loop while passing Earth. The strange astrological phenomenon was a sign, a sigil, a portent--or perhaps just a pretense. Whatever it was, the day after, millions of people around the world awoke to find themselves blessed--or cursed--with magical abilities. The magic appeared random, with no rhyme or reason as to why some people had received powers when others had not. Worse, the majority of the new warlocks, sorceresses, alchemists and whatnot couldn't pin down the rules to their particular brand of hocus-pocus before things got out of hand. Luckily, MaryLin wasn't like most people. She'd figured out her place in the new world right away. Having been raised by a professional poker player turned semi-professional con man, she'd learned early on: find an angle. All you need to survive is an angle.
Published on Aug 14, 2015
by Mary E. Lowd
Angie and Tyler's hands touched the green-gold brass of the magic lamp at the same time. The metal was slick with creek water and they had to dig away the mud and wet moss that had half buried the lamp using their bare hands. Their fingers smeared the mud, leaving their hands and the lamp dirty. Someone must have thrown it into this creek, deep in the woods, years ago. Angie and Tyler had strayed from the trail hours ago, and Angie kept oscillating between feeling thrilled to be alone with him in the forest... and terrified that she was making a dangerous mistake. She and Tyler had only been dating a few months. He seemed perfect and kind, but she knew that abusive men used a honeymoon period to lure their girlfriends in and then isolate them. Right now, they were pretty isolated.
Published on Jul 31, 2020
by Emilee Martell
It's amusing, the men who coo at our virtue, our spinsters' garb, the way we walk down the street with arms linked and eyes demurely downcast, amusing how they could scarcely imagine how well we know each other with our petticoats off, corsets ripped with haste, hands and tongues dancing, devouring, worshiping in ways it has never occurred to them to worship a woman. It's amusing, the jealousy in their eyes when they see the prosperity of our small inn, the way they loudly attribute our success to the kindly sympathy the customers must feel for us as we struggle with unfeminine labor, as though hard work and good food and a strict lack of lice are entirely irrelevant efforts.
Published on Nov 13, 2019
by Sarah G Matthews
The name collection started as insurance. The elder witch got by on dribbles of her power. She played the part of the doddery old healer, the minor magician. She peddled tinctures and told her neighbors to call her Granny Burdock, or just Granny, please. The villagers introduced themselves in turn, friendly, unsuspecting. With each new name, the elder witch would smile and say, oh, how very charmed she was to meet them. And then she would retire to her hut at the edge of the village, and she would open a tattered book and record the new name.
Published on May 26, 2021
by Shamus Maxwell
The shop was almost bare. A few unpromising objects lay scattered willy-nilly on its rickety shelves. As he gazed at the forlorn selection of wares Magnus was approached by the proprietor, an old and wizened man with a mild, yet sinister, grin. "Are you looking for anything in particular, sir?"
Published on Feb 13, 2012
by Dafydd McKimm
Soon after the old man wakes, he takes his lyre to the cave where the sleepless dragon guards the golden hoard of a long-dead king and plays songs he hopes will send it to sleep. Before leaving his hut, he feeds the dying fire from a dwindling pile of foraged wood and sets a pot of bitter tea to boil. With trembling, scrimshawed hands, he ties back his hair, as thin and translucent as the chill breath of winter that covers the hard ground outside his door. His bones, which creak like the wind-ravaged pinewood that spreads for miles around his hovel, implore him to stay indoors. But nothing can distract him from the fervor he feels at the thought of the wakeful dragon and its hoard of ever-guarded gold.
Published on Jan 31, 2020
by Lynette Mejia
The magician wobbled a little on his bar stool. "Ask me what I did for a living," he said. Somewhere deep inside of him a small voice was shouting to shut up, that he sounded like a fool, but he ignored it. His plane was likely delayed until morning, anyhow.
Published on Nov 2, 2015
by Caw Miller
"I need a choir," Kindor shouted at the bookseller. "Calm yourself, my good sir. I have many choirs and many full books. What book?"
Published on Jul 26, 2018
by Gabriel Murray
When he looks at you it's obvious he has no idea what manner of fellow you are, and that is how you know that you've got him. No one likes knowledge, after all, least of all curious individuals like Spencer. Oh, certainly he thinks he does--why else would he collect all those fine books, that beautiful blue globe in his conservatory, and all the planets strung on iron rings in glass?--but you're familiar with the tang of curiosity. Mr. Spencer likes not knowing. The pleasure is in the chase, as with copulation; he wants to be puzzled. You're happy to oblige him. So when he studies you, you meet his eyes and look away. Johanna introduces you with a brave little smile: "Geoffrey, this is my friend Claude," she says to him. She's winding a little strand of tea-colored hair around her index finger while she speaks. Poor Johanna: she is a poetess, after all, and the Spencers believe in free love, but you can see the knot of worry for his disapproval in the tendon of that finger. Even a happy wife would know whose name was on the deed of that house, and you're well aware that Johanna Spencer is not a happy wife. "Claude is a friend of Mr. Partridge's; I met him at the Partridges' salon, in the city. Have you ever thought of coming?"
Published on Apr 16, 2013
by Mari Ness
He had replaced his hands with wands, one tipped with amethyst and lined in silver, the other dotted with emeralds and lined with gold, spraying a continuous fountain of golden sparks. When the wands came together, carelessly or deliberately, the resulting clash of colors and sparks stung the eyes. People whispered that he had been a poet once. A failed poet. A _very_ failed poet, sniffed some. His work had lacked rhyme, meter, meaning, beauty, sophistication, experimentation: he'd been begged never to recite again, never to bother the learned journals with his pained and ugly words. That explained the missing hands, the glowing wands, although others protested this explanation. No poetry, however ghastly, could bring anyone to _that_. No, it must have been some other obsession playing on him: a lover, a child, a demon.
Published on Sep 28, 2010
by Maria Melissa Obedoza
Prince James winced as he watched the court jester stumble back into an open cabinet in a futile attempt to catch a wayward juggling ball. The jester fell amidst a shower of colorful props and knick-knacks ranging from odd to downright ludicrous. James sighed. Pantolino was undoubtedly an awkward, bumbling fool. The only thing worse than his jokes was his bad sense of timing. For all his clumsy ways, though, he was beloved by the entire court--from the lowliest servant to the king himself. Pantolino had a heart of gold and a gentle nature to match. He had a warm smile and a ready ear for anyone in trouble. Simply put, he was everyone's friend.
Published on Jul 27, 2011
by Aimee Ogden
Coffee at Cardinal Cups always comes with an off-menu bonus. One of Jojo's regulars pulls up to the drive-thru with his Wednesday morning office order: three frappes, two lattes, one soy mocha. He always leaves a good tip, and he always pays with a credit card. Credit card users are great for customer service witches like Jojo, who need a full name to do their best work. "Have a good one, D!" she says, handing him the carrier tray, and she knows he will because his coffee comes with a nice cantrip that'll help him send all his emails for the next week with zero typos and exactly the right number of exclamation marks.
Published on Aug 21, 2019
by Kat Otis
Deep in Chislehurst Caves, the children play Pin the Mustache on Hitler while a battle rages unseen overhead. The children laugh as they spin, dip, and glide, arms outstretched like Hurricanes and Spitfires. Cheers and groans follow each attempt, for no one has come near the mouth though Billy did manage to pin his over one baleful eye. Ruth declares it is her turn next, snatching the blindfold from Billy's hands and tying it over her eyes.
Published on Jun 10, 2015
by Kat Otis
Marchesa Barbara Gonzaga of Mantua minced her way across the sickroom in foot-high platform shoes. As I had already treated several broken ankles resulting from such fashionable footwear, I was duly impressed by this skilled display. However, I was not nearly as impressed by the bouquet of lavenders she held superstitiously close to her face. Flowers might help offset the foul stench of her dying husband, but they did nothing to protect against plague. "How fares he?" Barbara lowered herself into the chair beside the blood-splattered bed and studied Ludovico's fever-stricken form. Though I detested the filth, there was no point in cleaning the bed; he would simply cough up more blood as soon as the task was complete.
Published on Oct 31, 2016
by Carma Lynn Park
The sorcerer was young, still with a downy beard, his power small and flickering. He set his mind to obtaining greater strength, and after much study he decided to lure the creature of living darkness, whose energies he could then tap. The creature would need a pit, deeper than the lowest basement of his castle, deeper than the copper mines of the Frostshadow Mountain, deeper than the Everquiet Caves. Because blood and fear would stoke the creature's life force and swell its energies, supplying it with victims would give him even greater power. His mouth stretched in a smile as a plan struck him, and he congratulated himself on his cleverness.
Published on Oct 3, 2011
by Aimee Picchi
what is a sorcerer
Published on Jul 8, 2019
by Stephen S. Power
I've vetted the manuscript for Hazel Amor's "Lovecasting: 73 Spells for Finding and Binding the Man of Your Dreams." Legal requests the following changes be made and queries resolved prior to publication. Page xii: The author expands on the story that opens each episode of her show on Lifetime: An "Asian doctor" with a "wand" touched her "meridian point" and said she suffered from "low energy." He then prescribed the "magical regimen" that inspired her Lovecasting program. Has the doctor granted permission to use what could be considered his IP?
Published on Mar 30, 2015
by T.A. Pratt
Marla Mason, sorcerer in exile, looked over the railing of the balcony, down at the lavish resort hotel's pool with its swim-up bar and tanned, happy people lounging on chairs, and thought, I can't take another day of this. "I can't take another day of this," she said aloud to her companion, Rondeau, who leaned on the rail popping macadamia nuts into his mouth from a tin. He wore the most outrageous aloha shirt Marla had ever seen--its eye-wrenching pattern included not only parrots and palm trees but also sailboats and sunsets and what appeared to be carnivorous plants--and had the self-satisfied look of someone with more money in the bank than he could spend in even a fairly dissolute lifetime.
Published on Mar 11, 2011
by Sara Puls
Testing the strength of his wings, Caddis shivered with pleasure. They felt strong and sturdy, ready for flight. And this time they'd grown in brown, just like his fur. A few days ago, before Mr. Taylor sliced them off so brutally, so inartfully, they'd been purple. Far too obvious. Maybe this time Taylor wouldn't notice at all. Or maybe he'd realize that Caddis was not an ordinary dog, that he belonged with a wizard who would teach him magic, who would let him flutter and soar. As Caddis gave his wings another flap, the puppies in the window display began to yelp and yip. Taylor, who was asleep behind the counter, shifted, then opened his eyes and yawned. Caddis scurried into the corner of his cage and set to gnawing dumbly on a bone. Just like a proper dog should.
Published on Jan 6, 2014
by Cat Rambo
At the time he did it, the wizard Moulder found the idea of removing his heart, applying a calcifying solution, and storing it in a safe place, all in the name of achieving immortality, quite reasonable. He performed the ritual in the small but ominous tower he had built in one corner of his parents' amber-walled estate, watched over by dour-jawed stuffed crocodiles and glassy-eyed owls and his faithful servant, Small, who held out the iron receptacle to hold his heart, her face impassive and unjudgmental, and laved his hands afterwards with cold water. For thirty years, the practice served him well enough. A heart is the seat, the root of change, and it is as the soul changes that the body degrades, which is why childhood to adulthood is so marked with its physical transformation.
Published on Jan 29, 2013
by Melanie Rees
Brietta ambled between the rows of stalls, keeping her distance from her mother. A ringmaster bellowed over a megaphone, asking people to join in the fun, and carnies bustled between stalls under the watchful eyes of the seagulls squawking a familiar tune. And for some reason the tune did seem familiar. "We've seen these stalls already," Brietta moaned, lagging behind.
Published on Sep 5, 2012
by Jenn Reese
You were expecting a dank cave, spiders and bats and water sliding down dark rock, or else a yurt, or a thatched hut with chicken legs and the smell of your childhood inside. I'm sorry to disappoint. The sofa is from Pottery Barn, not even on sale, with upgraded fabric. "Sea mist." Who wouldn't pay more for a color with that name? I make no apologies for being good at what I do. You want a witch in a hovel, try Craigslist. First, gather your sticks, your kindle, the detritus of your love. The little things upon which we'll build the working. She gave you a birthday card, but didn't print "love" above her name? Yes. More. The sweater in colors you hate, a souvenir bought hastily in the airport on the way home from a long trip. A coffee mug stained with her lips from the visits to your apartment that always ended before dawn.
Published on Oct 9, 2013
by Julia Rios
"How do you create a memory? With craft and skill, and the right supplies, anyone can learn." Rena smiled, panning her head from one side of the room to the other, catching every client's eyes along the way. The first spread was on vacations. "A little sand, some colorful papers, and a whimsical plastic flip-flop make this piece really shine." Rena pointed to the happy couple, hands entwined as they strolled along a beach at sunset. "Yes, you too can have this experience. It's not as expensive as you might think."
Published on Aug 9, 2012
by A. M. Roelke
You can do a lot of things when you're a wizard. I reached out to touch the boy who lay dying, writhing in agony in the sodden trenches next to me.
Published on Aug 21, 2012
by A. Merc Rustad
Wrought iron fences loop around the gardens: six deep, the outer three progressively higher, more elaborate, and with more spikes atop, while the inner three create a mirror effect. Say you make it over all six fences without impaling yourself or falling or getting trapped between iron bars that suddenly constrict or twist or move. Say you avoid the fourth fence, the electric one, or the second one with the poisoned varnish, or the sixth one with a taste for blood.
Published on Apr 17, 2015
by Kelly M Sandoval
She used to keep track of things. Of dates. Of names. Of time spent in one city before drifting to the next, staying unnoticed and unremarked. Of schools she attended, hands shoved in pockets, head down, saying, "My name is Jennifer (or Susan, or Emma, or Faith) and it's nice to meet you." She used to remember her name.
Published on May 16, 2017
by Marie Croke
The wyrd for water is water, but my guards give me nothing but tea and wine though they know I hate the taste. I've tried to use my spit, but the Si'aer were much too specific in their language to listen to such disturbing beggary with their wyrds. So I pretend to doodle upon the cell floor, writing and rewriting the wyrd for water. Over and over. But nothing happens.
Published on Jan 10, 2013
by Susan A Shepherd
He went through all nine skills, and found nothing that worked. He carved wood and stone, seashells and goathorn, but the things he made had no life of their own either before or after the waker touched them
Published on Sep 21, 2010
by Robert Anthony Smith
I sat on my work stool, making another meaningless potion. A small flame burned beneath a vial of orange liquid, throwing shadows over the rows of jars lining my table. The potion began boiling and turned a honeycomb yellow. I topped the vial with a wooden cork and dunked it in an ice bath. Once it cooled, I tossed the vial to Urthel.
Published on Jan 23, 2017
by Alex Sobel
“We talked about you in class today grandpa,” I said. The colored parts of his eyes widened like a submerged marble surfacing in a cup of milk. Interested, maybe annoyed. “We got to the chapter in our history book about the Great Wizard War.” I didn’t mention that his name only appeared a single time or that the beginning of each chapter has a bank of important names that are bolded the first time they appear in the text and that his name wasn’t one of them.
Published on Apr 16, 2021
by Eric James Stone
Your Imperial Majesty, Humble though my current condition is, I am proud to write those words to you, for today they are true. The day of your coronation is joyous for the Empire. Most of your subjects believe that you are the prophesied Bringer of Perfect Justice whose reign will be eternal in fact, not just name. Gods grant it be so, if they will still hear the prayer of this, your servant.
Published on Jun 20, 2012
by Amy Sundberg
My guardians, tall and robed in blue, whisper when they see me now and shake their heads. They're dissatisfied because I haven't orchestrated an escape attempt for at least five Champions. Well, okay, exactly five. Since the Champion known as Eric. I'm not supposed to know the Champions' names, of course, but I see it as my job to break the rules (of which there are never-ending lists) as often as possible. Why else would they choose a girl forever sixteen to preside at the Court of the Sybil? They're looking for trouble, even hungry for it. My adolescent fire is what runs the magic they seek. Plus, anybody in my place would have to bend the rules just to provide some variety to the monotonous sameness of never reaching seventeen.
Published on Jul 22, 2011
by Molly Tea
I woke up from a deep sleep to a beautiful face. She was unassumingly beautiful, the kind you could blink and miss easily. A gawky tangle of limbs, a crooked nose, pallid skin as if she were carved from a candle with a blunt knife. Eyes blue and distant beneath two panes of glass. She looked plain, awkward, uncomfortable--and yet.
Published on Apr 21, 2017
by E. Catherine Tobler
The yellow light in the cracked green window flickered and then by degrees began to grow dim, throwing the thing that sat on the warped porch into shadow. Wind stirred leaves; they rustled like paper, dry and ready to ignite with the smallest spark. Cold rain forestalled that. "Jumbo gumdrop serenade, sweet serenade." Nesta scooped the bundle from the wet porch and hustled it inside. She kicked the old door shut behind her and hopped from her left foot to her right as she approached the long table. Splinters danced in her toes.
Published on May 29, 2013
by Chuck Von Nordheim
Evan didn't have much magic left. He'd almost used it all up before he met Trevor. He never had a lot--just enough to make his invisible friend, Nave, come and play. But Evan hadn't needed Nave to come and play after Trevor moved in next door because Trevor became Evan's best friend.
Published on Feb 7, 2012
by Holly Lyn Walrath
When Aria cast the first spell, it was like filling a quarry in her belly she never knew existed. Saying the words and knowing they would work filled her with a sensation of wholeness, with the utter totality of truth. And hot on the heels of this came the rush of excitement, the startled joy of discovery, the blush of success. Sure, she was only trying to lift the stain from the carpet so her mother wouldn't find out about her clumsy attempt at smoking, but it was something, right? Later, at breakfast, she absentmindedly cursed and levitated the milk. Her mother cried out in delight, "Your first spell!"
Published on Aug 13, 2018
by LaShawn M. Wanak
Megan doesn't want to leave the dock after the late shift is over. She lingers, standing with bare feet planted apart on the warped boards, facing the waves that lap across the water. I can imagine her toes growing longer, seeking out knotholes and cracks, stretching towards the murky water underneath. I fear one day I'll find her fully rooted, unable to come back home. Up and down the shore, I can hear the murmurs of the other women, though it's too dark to see them. I can see the water, though, just below the edge of the dock. When I brought the flashlight earlier, the water wasn't so high. It unsettles me as much as the sky. I've stopped looking at the sky directly, but I can feel it spiraling above me, strange, unfamiliar.
Published on Sep 11, 2013
by Sarah Gwendolyn White
From the perspective of the police officer surveilling him, Mark Hampton looked like he was probably regretting purchasing a love potion. The thin, blonde man was visibly struggling to remain interested while across the restaurant table, his wife eagerly promised him that she was willing to do anything--anything!--to make his upcoming birthday special. Did he want to take a day trip? A whole vacation? A second honeymoon?
Published on Jan 8, 2018
by Christie Yant
Estelle knew to avoid the men known as Les Corbeaux in their long, filthy coats, scavengers wielding shovels and pry bars in calloused hands. They were seen less often than they had been in her mother's time, there being no shortage of bodies for the anatomist's table during the long years of Revolution, but here and there one heard of a grave opened and a body missing. It was not unheard of to find a pair of them in the dark of a new moon, or beneath a cloud-bound starless sky. Only a man foolish or desperate would commit his blasphemy alone on a clear night by the light of the Harvest moon. Perhaps Estelle was the fool for being there. She had been glad of the light when she had set out from the factory in Javel to visit her lover's grave, wilted red roses clenched tight in her hand. Now, though, she stood exposed as she came upon a man bent over a weathered marble slab.
Published on Nov 9, 2018
by Tianyue Zhang
The magician says: "The price will be steep. Death magic demands no less." "I can pay." The husband declares it unhesitatingly, but the bedchamber they stand in belies his words. Like the rest of the house, the room is a little too grandiose in size for its few remaining items of furniture; the four-poster monstrosity upon which the body rests fails to obscure the missing wardrobes, the absent bedside stand, the dark rectangles on the wallpaper where paintings had hung. The unwashed windows fade the late afternoon sunlight to the color of old milk.
Published on Oct 31, 2013
by jez patterson
It wasn't just Al Capone and every flower shop the world over that looked to Valentine's Day to make a killing. Nadira ignored the body of Lady Charming--and the love tokens hanging from Lady's skirt, jacket, scarves and multiple belts--and glanced up and down the street.
Published on Aug 29, 2017