Fantasy

AU,  Epic,  Historical,  Urban,  Magical Realism, Steampunk,

Here for the Reading 2022:

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New Story

September 27, 2022,  in Fantasy

 

Trans-Dimensional Monsters and Suburban Gods

by STEVE ODEN

 

∼∼ Where do the old gods go and what do they do, once the new gods of tech take over? ∼∼

Vanquishing monsters in the multiverse and the neighborhood, with the satisfying knowledge one was fitting right in to suburbia.

Just as migrant gods and their offspring so often do.

New Story

April 28, 2022,  in Fantasy

 

Up Sticks

by Liam Hogan

 

It took three and a half weeks for 24, Fell Street, to go looking for its owner,

finding, as it went, traces of him,

memories like woodsmoke at the beginning of Autumn.

Beyond a park the trail was strong, and soon 24 stood before 37, Toft Close.

But 37 Toft Close was dark and empty…

New Story

April 23, 2022,  in  Fantasy

for St. George’s Day

 

Artwork © Scott Gustafson. All rights reserved. For more information please visit www.scottgustafson.com

 

The Trial of St. George

by Andrew Jensen

 

After one has retired from dragon slaying, one would expect that that’s the end of it.
Time now for sainthood, congratulatory dinners, and ribbon cutting.  Then settle down and enjoy retirement.

Not quite.

New Story

 

February 25, 2022,  in  Fantasy

Maggoty Meg Flies Up the Mountain

by Jonathan Lenore Kastin

The beautiful children were the cruelest. 

As Meg went about her chores they would follow, chanting rude rhymes and throwing stones until she was bruised from shins to shoulders.

She was not going to let them terrorize her any longer.

It was time to see the witch.

New Story

for Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2022, in Fantasy

“Love Potion”
by Anne E.G. Nydam

   Xyblik’s Cosmic Emporium had stood for as long as anyone could remember at the corner of Elm Street and Hillside. The proprietor was an Old One, all writhing tentacles and slime, who bubbled cheerfully at his customers and loved nothing better than a good gossip. Abby Dimmock took this into consideration when pondering the best time to purchase a love potion. He would chat if she came when the Emporium was empty, and she was in no mood to chat about the sorry state of her love life.

 

Illustrations by Anne E.G. Nydam

 

 

 

A New Story

In Fantasy

January 25, 2022, in Fantasy

“Crow Born”
by David Far

Caught. Pinioned. A human squinted at me.  I flew up, desperate to escape, against the thatched roof, against the barred windows, up the fireplace chimney into a metal grill.  I fell into the ashes. 

The human grabbed me. “Do you understand me?” 

Meanings blinked in and out, swirled through my mind, came into focus.  Human sounds rolled up my throat, too round, unnatural, half choking me.  “Yeeess!”

“I gave you the spark,” he said. “I bound us together.” 

He stuffed me into an iron cage. “Only death can untie our knot.”

 

Here for the Reading 2021:

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New Story

 

December 28, 2021 in Fantasy

 

“Ghost Blue, Ghost Red”
by Malda Marlys

 

The world was lousy with monsters. That much Remembrance Wilson took on faith. This town, though, was tense enough with haunting that even the vultures following Remmy’s wagon peeled off early.

Town wasn’t a good prospect. Too many twitchy fingers hovered too near triggers for comfort. Amazing how many people would try to shoot a spook. Remmy gave some honest thought to passing right through, saving her show for the next outpost.

But Dr. Bombastus’s Invigorating Tonic waited for no ghost.

 

 

 

New Fantasy Story

 

November 27, 2021, in Fantasy

 

“Yemoja”

by Simbiat Haroun

The band of murderers had been dealt with.  The Goddess Yemoja sat silent, cooling her boiling blood.

The sight of the little messenger mermaid, with her slim strands of dreadlocks dancing gracefully about her, soothed Yemoja.

“Great One, the water has brought another foolish swimmer in from the river.”

“The water brings many such. Why tell me of one more?”

“This one is a marvel. She is not drowning.”

Yemoja straightened. “Take me to this marvel.”

 

New Fantasy poem
for Hallowe’en

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Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores

October 31, 2021,  in  Fantasy

“The Waiting Shade”

by Casey Laine

Don’t stray out onto the moor at night…

 

New Story

Happy Hallowe’en

 

 

October 29, 2021,  in  Fantasy

PUMPKIN RIDERS

by Steve Oden

The pumpkin competition at the Tempest Fall Fair was a bit different than most.

And raising those pumpkins involved a few unusual techniques.

 

Here for the Reading 2020:

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New Poem

October 23, 2020, in Fantasy

“Zephyr’s Fair Child”, by Scott J. Couturier

A small, illustrated poem for the elusive fairy spirits of the Autumn and Hallowe’en season

 

an Encore Story

April 17, 2020,

in  Fantasy

“The King’s Computer”

by Liam  Hogan

If you tip water into my mouth, I will drink. If you place a morsel of food in my mouth, I will chew and swallow. These are involuntary actions. Necessary, but of no importance. They do not distract me from my purpose, which is to think.

I was trained from an early age to memorise, calculate, compute. My brain has been honed into a perfect machine, dedicated to solving the King’s problems

I do not need light to think. I do not need soft beds, or fresh air, or music. I operate in a room deep beneath the castle. The single entrance is kept locked.

When I have no problems to solve I do little other than sleep. 

I woke from such a sleep as the cellar door creaked open.

First read live at Liars’ League, 2009, subsequently published in Arachne Press’s “Liberty Tales”, 2016.

 

New Story

 

 

January 31, 2020, in Fantasy

“Cloud Tower Rising”
by Ian Pohl

lead and end illustrations by Artur Rosa

 

Pulling his seeing-glass from his pack and surveying the valley, Devlin was astonished. He’d expected a wasteland. Instead there were rich farmlands. Veiled by wood smoke, he saw not rubble but shops and homes.

He looked further, to the cumulus clouds.  A sparkle caught his eye. He glimpsed white walls and slender towers of ivory and pearl rising with the blossoming cloud.

A cloud castle — a wizard’s stronghold.  It had survived, and it looked unscathed.

He loathed wizards, bleeding the land for generations, lighting innocents into screaming human candles, banishing rebels to the Demonic Planes. Their war amongst themselves left nothing save broken works in a haze of smoke and chaos.

But wizardly things fascinated him. He’d roamed far hunting for them. Most he sold. A few he kept — his far-seeing glass, his short sword that soaked up sunlight and struck blows like lightning.

Cloud castles held troves of such treasures, now free for the taking.

 

Here for the Reading 2019:

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For April 30, 2019,
we have in FantasyThe Memory Bank and Trust“,  by Patrick Hurley

The girl in Vanan Quick’s Memory Bank & Trust wore the dark robes of the desert nomads. Perhaps fifteen, she was thin, with vacant eyes, and hair shorn close to the skull. Not the usual class of client Vanan Quick served in his shop on Varrowmind’s elite Street of Sorceries. And not, he was sure, an applicant for the valued position of apprentice.

But he was ever the professional. “What can I do for you, young miss?”

“You are the memorist?”

Vanan blinked. Not at the question, for he was indeed a master memorist. It was the sepulchral voice that gave him pause.

He reached for the jade amulet at his neck. “I am. And what, pray tell, are you?”

For March 17, 2019,
we have in FantasyKing of Flame“,  by Janie Brunson

They blamed that summer’s wildfires on climate change and dropped cigarette butts. They were wrong. 

That wasn’t why the forests and deserts were burning.  I had seen why.  I had seen the King of Flame.


For January 27, the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad,
we have in FantasyThe Ice Angel of Leningrad“, by Eugene Morgulis

This story is dedicated to and inspired by the author’s grandmother, who lived through the Siege of Leningrad.

Beginning in 1941, the city of Leningrad suffered through a brutal 900-day siege at the hands of the German army. Nearly half its three million citizens were killed by bombs, freezing temperatures, or most often, starvation. Those who managed to survive did so in a number of ways, some unsavory, others unspeakable. But none as remarkable as Sveta Gorskaya’s way.

Here for the Reading 2018:

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May 30, 2018, Fantasy: “Cat and Mouse” by L.C Brown

So I’m out front of Jaxon’s, down in the French Quarter, singing for my supper.  For some fool-headed reason he lets this old cat sit on his doorstep and wail on her trumpet, just like in the old days, even though both of us could get taken for it.

So I’m singing for my supper. Me an’ my trumpet, making the magic them tourists wanna hear. They don’t want no sad songs no more. They want happy tunes these days, blues that sounds more like yellows and greens. So I give it to ’em, and they give me a couple credits, and we all walk away happy.

But not today. Today, the Silence finally finds me.

March 22, 2018, Fantasy: “Liqeni i Zi” by Corey Mallonee  
Ela and Ismail spent evenings huddled around a crackling radio, listening to news of the invaders, men who had drilled into their own skulls and grafted bronze masks to their faces. Of hungry bullets etched with curling script, which burrowed through flesh to the heart.

Often, in those days, Ela would sit on the bare stony shore of the lake and look out at the ruined temple, columns like broken bones guarding an altar of black stone where the village ancestors had sacrificed sheep and goats and sometimes men. Where, she was told, men would waken the gods.

Here for the Reading 2017:

Some stories are free to read, For all others, you can subscribe here!

Dec 28, 2017: Fantasy, “Revolution Days”, by Gary Kloster

Xin believed that on Revolution Day, she would kneel in the courtyard of Prosperity House and feel the razor’s touch.

Instead, a black car brought her and Scholar Tan to Smiling House, home of the Honest Guard. Men with white uniforms and black clubs escorted them into the towering building where the enemies of the Path were interrogated, judged, and executed.

On a hard wooden bench in a bare grey room, Xin waited.  She served the Common Path. She had nothing to fear.  But when she was called into the room, when she saw the man, the thing, tied to the table, she wished they had left her to the clean emptiness of her meditations, to her silent slavery.

Lead Illustration: James Zapata
thumbnail this page: Fran Eisemann

 

 

August 24, 2017, FantasyWhat Fools These Immortals Be, by Evan Dicken

I’d only glamoured him so I could get a better look, maybe ask a few questions, but when I looked back the man was dead. Riding a storm down from the snowline, cloaked in swirls of wind-driven ice, I went to find his family, to explain, to help. But when I found her sitting next to the embers of a dying fire, she was cursing the storm, the unseasonable cold, the dying crops.

She was cursing me.

 

 

June 24, 2017, Fantasy, “Conspiracy in Theory and Practice”, by Mike Reeves-McMillan

The dignified woman in gray and the little man in loud tweed were both in Lincolnsville about the goblin reports.  To her they were marsh gas and poppycock.  To him they were certain proof of his theories.  And he had plenty of theories.

The battle lines were clear, but the outcome was not.

May 28, 2017, Fantasy  “Souls of Dinosaurs”  by Alexandra Balasa

 

Iulian has hunted this soul for eight years, eight long and painful years. It is a horror dredged up from his nightmares to hear it so close. . But Iulian is the Empire’s bloodhound, and tonight he must take back that soul.

March 29, 2017, Fantasy  “Sweeter Than Lead”  by Benjamin C. Kinney

 

She stood atop the wall and stared at the shifting black towers of the Nameless City, as if this time she might spot the shadows of its bygone masters. She flexed her toes against the rampart’s top, the basalt as cold and solid as ever. Only the wall and her vigilance held the City in check, but one of those would not last.

 

March 15, 2017, Fantasy:The River’s Daughter and the Gunslinger God“,  by Matthew Claxton

The river’s daughter had hair as long and green as eelgrass, and skin the livid white of a fish belly. Her teeth were sharp, and through her thin lips, she sometimes whispered spells and curses, for her mother had been a sorceress.

Since her mother’s departure, swathed in furs in the middle of a winter storm, the river’s daughter had not seen a single outsider to the valley. She spoke to the winds and her siblings the creeks, and she amused herself by practicing charms to change her shape.

This dwarf, this outsider who moved with such purpose, fascinated her. She watched him from silent concealment in the forest.

Feb 27, 2017, Fantasy: “Repo Priest”, by Joel E. Roosa

“In here. Name’s Ben Wilton.  Been possessed thoiteen times now.”  She held out her crosses as if they were shields, and shuttled backwards.

            “Ma’am, it’s not a vampire.  Crosses won’t help.”  Father Belloch unlocked the decrepit old door, and let it slowly creak open.

            The walls were covered with blood-red heretical writings, curses, evil symbols, and dirty limericks. The green ooze covering the floor added a foul smell to the overall ambience. What he didn’t see was the victim in question.

            He rummaged through his backpack and brought out a small umbrella.  He popped it open and stepped cautiously through the doorway. 

 

Jan. 25, 2017: Fantasy: With the Breath of his Bare Hands, by Tyra Tanner

Elu smelled demon.

It was a raw scent, like blood in the mouth. The smell that promised a belabored death, a clawing death, a fangs-upon-flesh death.

Sometimes, the memories of his ancient heroics played themselves out in his mind, and the gore colored his sight, but the scent of demon was always there.

It kept his fear alive.

And fear had kept him alive.

 

 

Here for the Reading 2016:

 

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Dec 29, 2016: Fantasy: “On Rising One Snowy Evening”, by Karen Bovenmyer

When she clawed her way up out of the frozen earth she tried to gauge how much time had passed – were all her kin asleep, gone this time?  Her husband had died before his time and she had vowed never to leave her children, for death or nobody — she’s always come back when they had need of her.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dec 3, 2016: Fantasy: “The Tears of the Dead”, by Mark Rookyard

I think Father has forgiven me now. He’s been telling me of upstairs, where people live in buildings taller even than Joe’s tunnel. He says they have ‘windows’, big holes filled with glass that they can look through and watch the City. He says there is no sludge up there, and people have soft skin and clothes that aren’t torn and muddied. He said he once saw one of the Four that came on the Ship and rule over the City with an iron fist. I don’t know what iron means…

 

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Sept. 22, Fantasy: “Hunters of the Dead” by Laurie Tom

When the wild magic meant to the win the war backfired, the king abandoned the people of the wild borderlands. Now there were only hunters between the living and the wandering dead.

 

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June 8: Fantasy:  “Gatekeeper, What Toll?“, by Mike Reeves-McMillan

Photograph: “The Final Gate” by Mark Humphreys

 

 

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June 2, 2016: Fantasy: “Skinchangerby Eduardo Frajman
 

The price of change

Illustration by Mark Purzycki

 

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Fantasy, April 23 Lacrimae Knows“, by C..J. Jessop

 Even in the dark, especially in the dark, she knows.

 

 

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March 23, Fantasy: Dawn Blossom“, by John Eckelkamp

 

 

 

 

 

egil-by-chriskuhlmann-pic-magpieMarch 6,   Fantasy:  “The Magpie of Souls” by David Tallerman

Sword, sorcery, and enchanted castle

 

 

“Egil, Thane Uthred’s Huskarl” by Chris J Kuhlmann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight, New Year’s Eve, 2015 into  2016.  Greetings and Happy New Year.  Here is the very first of our stories — Fantasy:  “TO THE MONSTERS WITH LOVE”, by A. Merc Rustad, illustrated by Rob Shields

A short wild ride.  Have fun!

Don`t copy text!