16
Dec

The Brittle Blade

by Onabe Ōkamiotoko (御鍋狼男)

Milo had come to the tavern for anything but a drink.

He sat at the table alone, hands occupied with what was between his legs — a dagger made of bone. With a silent focus, he sharpened the blade with a whetstone while the noises of the tavern blossomed around him. Bright, joyous music from the stage filled the room, and lamps flickered from the walls, establishing a cozy atmosphere. Milo sighed. His heart was heavy. He’d been keeping track of the days in his journal for the past week, eager for the arriving full moon.

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16
Dec

remember to love each other

by A.S. Mara

It used to be something they celebrated every year, counting down the days beforehand with casual reminders, planning reservations and buying gifts for each other. Not a huge deal, but still a special day they liked to remember. But as the years passed, and the electric chemistry that buzzed between them slowly eased into something softer and more comfortable, the celebrations petered off too. It was hard to pinpoint exactly when it happened, only that at present, more often than not, they simply forgot about it.

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16
Dec

Out of this World

by juou no zan (女王のザン)

illustrated by Z. Zacht-Zoet

 

There were perfectly good reasons why Colby was staring at the alien across the club. It wasn’t like ce was xeno or anything–not that there was anything wrong with that, what consenting adult sapients did together was their own business–but ce absolutely could not stop staring. Ce’d never seen an alien in real life before, and ce hardly knew anything about zhenegas. For instance, ce hadn’t known their bright blue mouths actually glowed in low light. Ce hadn’t realized what a difference an extra joint in each limb would make to their flexibility, even just while dancing. Ce had perfectly good reasons to stare that had nothing to do with wanting to find out what kind of genitals a zhenega had, or this zhenega had, at least. Though maybe not perfectly good reasons to stare for quite so long, because it was rude and the zhenega had noticed cer, made eye contact, and was making its way through the crowd to cer.

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16
Dec

Where You Gonna Sleep Tonight

by Wakahisa Rei (若久零)
illustrated by The Winter Cynic

 

His memories were already fading. They were always stark in the first moments after waking – every scent (iron, flesh, sweat), every sound (screams, cracking, thudding) and every sight (horrified eyes, bodies, the full moon). Then, nothing. He’d get up, still dizzy from the change, still disoriented, remembering that yes, he was human. As he remembered his humanity, his memories turned to haze. It was like trying to recall a movie he’d seen years ago. Normally, this bothered Marius – they were his memories. He didn’t have much that was his.

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16
Dec

Local Flavor

written and illustrated by Ptarmigan

The summer in Minnelaskwa’s Iron Valley has finally come to its merciful end, where the weather transitions from ‘hot enough to where it’s only tolerable to sit around the house drunk in your underwear’ to ‘cool enough to sit around the house drunk in your underwear and an open flannel shirt,’ which incidentally, is what Cicada happens to be wearing right now.  In other words, it’s comfortable; an ideal climate for lounging on the couch with his laptop wired into the TV, stoned out of his gourd and wasting the day watching dashboard videos of drunken dwarves careening into each other and swearing in their native tongue before walking away unscathed and/or engaging in a fistfight with the other driver. It’s the perfect entertainment as the end of the logging off-season draws near.

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16
Dec

Knickpoint

written and illustrated by Iron Eater

Year’s End was just around the corner, which of course meant as many things that could be a pain in Riaag’s ass as possible were choosing to do so. The current focus of his ire was an issue with one of the new grain-storage buildings they’d built just before that year’s Harvest. Said building now lay in scorched pieces on the ground; through swift action and good fortune they’d kept the other buildings from joining the conflagration, but a single lost store meant that much less to trade with and that much less of a buffer if the winter turned bad. Riaag still wasn’t sure what to make of it. When the Hill God had ordered His children to work the fields of Naar Rhoan, He hadn’t said anything about said fields blowing up afterwards.

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16
Dec

Just Seven Days

by Hyakunichisou 13 (百日草 十三)

  1. We’re gonna pop some cherries tonight

The way Greg would tell the story in later years, the moment he saw Tim Curry in a corset and torn stockings was the moment everything became clear. At the time, though, it felt like everything had just gotten way more complicated.

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28
Oct

The Cuckoo

by shukyou (主教)

 

Flashbulbs exploded like fireworks as they stepped past the customs gate into the terminal, the happy reunited family. They’d gotten permission to take the Millers behind the scenes a little, past the point where those picking up arriving passengers were expected to wait, so that the reunion itself might take place away from the media’s prying lenses. They were ready now, though, ushered forth by cops and social workers into the bright public eye.

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28
Oct

Returning

by Kuruma Ebi (車エビ)

illustrated by beili

There was something in the lake by Bleakhall House.

This was common knowledge in Roxburghshire, whose visitors were often told stories of dark shapes moving under the surface of the lake, of witch-lights that appeared over its surface and unwitting guests who had fallen in, never to be found again.

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28
Oct

Heading Home

by Hyakunichisou 13 (百日草 十三)

If it weren’t for work, Duncan would have been parked somewhere quiet on a night like this, tucked into his sleeping bag with a book and a mug of tea. The rain mottled the windshield between swipes of the wipers, and the glare of the van’s headlights made the downpour into a pewter sheet that obscured the road. Even as he slowed to fifteen going downhill he could feel the wheels want to slip. He slowed even more as he came to the curve, acutely aware that there was nothing but a corrugated steel guardrail and a few wooden posts between him and an emphatic encounter with the Canadian Shield, sixty feet below.

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28
Oct

How to Get Into the Krixin Resort

by juou no zan (女王のザン)

“Oh shit,” Rirdan said. “The Krixin Resort is opening to the public for a week next month.”

Devere leaned into the room from the galley. “Shit, really?” he asked. The Krixin Resort was always filled with rich idiots, which would be reason enough to hit it, but Devere’s old partner, M’ŋary, had a key to a physical safe in the Member Resources office, which Devere had managed to get a hold of before abandoning their old ship.

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28
Oct

Cruorem Veritas

written and illustrated by Iron Eater

Hugh had known for a very long time that the only thing he was capable of doing well was hurting people.

Some gentlemen among his peers had only found this out when they started along the staggering, fawn-legged road that led from a boy’s years to manhood, but not Hugh. Hugh had learned swift and early. He had fallen in with patrons who were understanding of his shortcomings and found good outlets for them, ones that didn’t cause trouble with the constabulary, which meant that on days like today when he sat on the opposite side of Mr. Clifford-Smythe’s terrible desk it was with unbound hands and unsullied clothes. Not everyone could say that.

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23
Sep

Greek Kiss

by Astasia