Fabio Takes Me to the Cages Out Back by Jess Alfaro

 

I put on another layer of repellant and starblock. Fabio leads me from headquarters,

then jaunts off on his rounds. His arm points me down the path toward the newest find.

 

What hits me first: the lurid red faces, a striking contrast to their black bodies.

Not like other ones I’ve seen. Am I in the Amazon or outer space?

 

When I approach, some stay in the back upper corner, legs pulled up tight.

Others hang suspended from the ceiling. All of them stare, black eyes positioned

 

too close together on their crimson faces. Black hands wet with chunks,

fruit dumped in their trough, orange preferred over yellow or green,

 

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The Imp in the Armchair, by Brandon Sorce

 

It was the kind of nightmare you wake up from with something on your chest. Literally, it felt like this time. I let out a short gasp and coughed; I smelled old cigarettes. I don’t smoke—had I had anyone over who smoked lately? I was too groggy to remember much beyond the fact that I do not entertain at my apartment very often.

Blackness gripped my vision. It was dark enough that I could not see across my bedroom. Normally, slanted bars of light cast from the streetlight pierce my blinds. But not tonight. Tonight, the air was opaque and stale.

I rolled over onto my right side and craned my neck to see my alarm clock; it displayed a sickly green 3:13. Witching Hour, just great. One of the first things you learn in The Program is how time and space affect magic, and the spells that were particularly nasty had a proclivity for the Witching Hour. I felt fearful, perhaps remembering dregs of my dream. But even if that was not the case, the time put me on edge. My mind wandered as I roused myself further—how many bad things happening could I imagine at once? What if someone was breaking in? What if it was someone who would not hesitate to harm me in their pursuit of my crap? What if it was a lunatic casting shadow magic?

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Post-coital Heroin: Chapter IV from “On the Graves of Dragons” by Raelin Saretti

 

Fabulous legs or not, these stiletto heels were straining and pulling my calf muscles tighter than an elf’s asshole.  Word travels fast in the underground, especially when money is involved and I had probably less than a half an hour before some halfwit-junior-bounty-hunter was bound to stumble into me.  I had to get out of this outfit and fast.  Luckily the Academy’s general store was nearby and still open.

I grimacingly finished strutting my way across the grounds of the Academy and into the store whereupon I headed straight for the clothing section.  I grabbed a set of gold and orange robes, a big pointy-ass wizard’s hat, and a set of nice, sturdy boots with belt-buckles and changed outfits in one of the store’s private closets.

Sweet merciful arch support of the gods!  This was so much better.  I packed Allie’s clothes into my backpack and made my way to the cashier where I grabbed a pack of smokes, some elk jerky, and some green, bubbly sugar water off the countertop.

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Space Emperor, by Daniel Shkolnik

 

I.

Bare-chested on a witch’s rooftop in the gloaming of the volcanic sun, I screamed to make eternity know me.  (But scared a flock of pigeons off the roof.)  I cried to make the gutters gush me and the earth seep me.  (But my tears only watered the begonias in a window a few stories below.)  Desperately, I threw my wits against the universe to lodge myself in  memory gears!  (But found I’d lost my mind.)

They took me from the rooftop with a crane and lowered me into the asylum, and I was deeply afraid.  Afraid for my daughter. How would she eat?  How would she breathe?

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Artwork by Volodymyr Bilyk

HITH - 0008

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Bathroom Battles, by Arthur Davis

 

He thinks he can hide from me, but I have seen his type before.   They’re all alike; hideously malevolent creatures who swarm in the night and impose themselves onto places once thought to be uncompromisingly private.

He doesn’t see me yet, but he will.  He will move around the white room, my white room, the white room that is my private sanctuary, until he finds something to eat, then move on as though he had already been granted permission to undertake such an expedition.  As is common with creatures of his persuasion, he thinks there is no danger in his future.  This time I will not hide as I did before on the pretext of watching the bloom of his nefarious activity.  This time I will tell him that he has breached the boundaries of my territory once too often.  This will be the last time he will assert his arrogance.  I will hide and wait him out.  Then I will pounce. Read More →

“Reckoning,” by Chris McCreary

 

Not so simple being both asp

& then caduceus,

 

this falling

always headlong into Eiffel

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“Going My Way?” by D.L. Legere

“It’s not like I don’t deserve to be here—” I trailed off, bracing myself as another of the frequent sandstorms raged. On an open highway, with no shelter in sight, there was little I could do against the gale except squint my eyes and reserve the curses for later—assuming there was a later. But it ended as quickly as it began, and I shook the sand out of my hair, wiped my stinging eyes, emptied my boots, and continued walking in that order.

There was nothing else but to walk.

Although the sweat, more of a stink at this point, was a constant regardless of whether I was moving or standing still, the wheezing started again before I’d even covered another quarter-mile. The damn wheezing. I felt sand moving around in my lungs with a life of its own. I knew that eventually I’d be more sand than man, and then I, too, would join the breeze, hot and hateful.

Ash to ash, I thought. Dust to dust.

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Chapter III from “On The Graves of Dragons: A Journal of Sex, Elf Dust, and Magick in The City On The Cliffs,” by Raelin Saretti

Chapter III:  The Lady Is A Tramp

I had no time to waste, my lack of pants be damned.

Magick is often unpredictable, and there was no way to know how long the passageway would stay open.  What I did know was that Erik had gone through it, and that meant I was going to have to follow the motherfucker and beat my money out him tooth-by-god-damn-crooked-tooth.

I slung my pack over my back, scuttled up and over the railing, and shimmied down the pillar towards the magickal opening.  Running as fast as I could in heels using the tips of my toes, I charged my way in.

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Sweet Dreams, by Gregory K.H. Bryant

 

(From “…Sequences – Scripts for Animated Shorts”)

 

(3-4 minutes)

 

(soundtrack – silence for the first full minute – the suspicion comes to us that there is a problem with the audio track – faintly, a mere insinuation of ambient sound, a bare whisper which could be a breeze through the dry branches of a dead tree – do we really hear it?)

 

a bedroom in a Victorian home – the image on our screen is rendered entirely as a wood engraving, all in black and white – no color in this sequence – the images are all assembled as in a collage by Ernst – over the bed is a sumptuous canopy – in the bed are two nude children, a boy and a girl – they are sleeping, arms and legs incestuously entwined – we hear the subliminal whispering of the wind –

 

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