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A MATTER OF GOATS

A MATTER OF GOATS, by Ben Fenwick:   An eerie call fell down the wind from the dark mountainsides. It was a high-pitched tone that fell slowly into a humanlike, ululating sob. Anton Le Bouveret felt the hairs on his forearms and the back of his neck prickle. The dark, rugged, Balkan shadowland surrounded them […]

LADY CARDULA AND THE GRYPHON

LADY CARDULA AND THE GRYPHON, by Shawn Scarber:     Duncan hated human-sized books. Sadly, they were about the only tomes created and though he wrote long letters to the monks who lived in the Sambata monastery imploring them to copy larger editions, his letters often went unanswered. “If I were a dragon, they wouldn’t […]

A BREATH OF DARKNESS

  A BREATH OF DARKNESS, by Liz Colter:   The wind gusted up the mountain, rattling the pine cones and shaking the blue-green branches of the trees. This was no fickle spring breeze, nor even a winter gale; it was a wind that carried the feel of fangs and decay and misery. # The chorus […]

MOUTH OF THE JAGUAR

MOUTH OF THE JAGUAR, by Evan Dicken: Hummingbird was to be the final sacrifice of the day. The man before her struggled on a raised stone slab, chest heaving as a flock of blood-spattered priests pinned his arms and legs. Sunlight glittered on the Cazonci’s obsidian dagger — curved like a jaguar’s claw to better […]

BY WAY OF THE EASTERN ROAD

BY WAY OF THE EASTERN ROAD, by Jesse Knifely: Ren Terrowin skidded on the grimy kitchen floor and the tray of baked apples he held tottered. He slowed his steps as he picked his way across the flour sacks and potato peels littering the stones. A day of celebratory feasting left its debris. Ren delivered […]

THE CHALLENGER’S GARLAND

THE CHALLENGER’S GARLAND, by Schuyler Hernstrom: Molok rose from his resting place in the damp earth. He mounted his black warhorse and rode through the gray mist, past broken tombs and stunted trees. Before a cliff’s edge he brought the mount to heel. Tendrils of fog coalesced in the heavy air, weaving themselves into a […]

THE HOUSE OF NHARAT

THE HOUSE OF NHARAT, by Garnett Elliot: The Moon Goddess revealed her full glory against a night filled with scudding clouds.  From his vantage atop Nin Ursu’s mud brick walls, Ekkur could see the distant silhouettes of enemy bowmen.  They crouched among the fields surrounding the city-state, not quite close enough to loose their shafts.  […]

THE LAST FIRST TIME

THE LAST FIRST TIME, by Colin Heintze: Every time I went to Karkil I stopped for coffee. I had always enjoyed Karkil’s brew, a great deal of my enjoyment coming from the fact that no living lips had tasted it for two-hundred years. From my seat on the café terrace I heard the ass braying. […]

THE LIVING CURSE

THE LIVING CURSE, by Ethan Fode: There was no fire or smoke, only the terrible groan as the temple crumbled, the thick columns snapping in half, the walls buckling outward. He barely noticed, consumed by the song of the sorcery in his bones, the oily feel of the ancient magic coating his soul. When he […]

A PARADISE OF WASTELAND

A PARADISE OF WASTELAND, by Adrian Simmons: On the fifth day after the sandstorm, Lemyta went to look at the world she had drawn in the dirt.  She leaned over it, not yet so burdened by years that she needed to squat down to see it.  Several animal tracks crossed the design, jackal and gerbil, […]

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