I nod. Thereís nothing more to be said. The card cheat rolls tobacco and passes to me a cigarette and I pass to him matches and we smoke. Over the street men and women unwise and unwell from drink come to the street from darkened horsehair alleys and some with hair mussed or ties unstraightened look about themselves. I look to them and look at the card cheat and his head is bowed as though he were a man desperate in prayer.
Ben Hoyle returns with a stylish short story.
A small voice uttered a word of curse, before laying the sword down and fumbling with the chin straps of his helmet. Another word of curse, and the gauntlets were taken off so two small, slender hands could give a try. "Aha!" a triumphant voice said, before the helmet was placed ceremonially to the ground. Blond hair sat atop a slightly pudgy face, which tried to look rugged with a 5 o'clock shadow. A pair greyish blue eyes stared eagerly at the monarch.
Sir Day volunteers for duty.
She shakes of what may a small bit of doziness from the drugs, and holds her smashed leg above the ground, possibly in pain but more just a reflex. She just knows that itís not going to work, so doesnít bother stumbling to find out. Maybe itíll slow her down a bit. It slowed her down enough before for us to surround her.
Hitch's short fiction warns us of complacency in the hunter's endgame.
My name is Hector Luis Ramůn. I am visible. I exist. I repeat these truths to myself, over and over, every day. Because to some, this is not true.
William Grallo presents a science-fiction short story in the old tradition, good strong speculation mixed with a little social commentary. This tale was previously published in Rosebud Magazine.
In my account of the story, I was calm and collected throughout. Those bomber pilots, they are all liars. Got that? Freakin' liars. So are the guys piloting the harvesters.
A sci-fi short by Peter Day.
When she looks down beyond her pitiful, dangling feet she sees an impossibly large, infinitely patient inky-black maw that is ready to swallow her life whole in one casual gulp. Above her, an uneven rocky edifice rises about a meter. It is too far for her to reach up to and, despite being rough and uneven, stubbornly refuses to present any handholds.
Paul Dean, aka SCC, aka the Blackbored's LeeLee writes a low-fantasy short.
As each one approaches, she sizes up the soul very carefully; they all look very different here than in real life, yes they do. Their souls are always uglier than their bodies. Being used to greed, attention, vanity, they do become very dark on the inside.
Gabby Dizon is the self-titled 3rd World Game Designer, based in Pasig City, in the Phillipines. Here he diversifies to bring us the first in his six part work of fiction.
Anton’s keyboard is backlit glass. There are stains where he has spilt richly sedimentary red wine across it. Underneath it there are the glossy flyers for a dozen pole-dancing clubs that line the road outside.
More short fiction from Jim Rossignol.
But there was something more severe in her tone tonight. Timmy obyed the implication of the command, if not the direct order. He mopped his plate clean up. He had a bath. He went to bed.
Strap returns with a short-but-sweet tale about the value of considering others.
The hysterical radio announcer summed it up best of all, as he signed off his show like this: ĎGood luck to everyone out there. Iím going to switch off now, perhaps for good. Thereís something outside my room and I just donít know what it is. Goodbye!í
Jim Rossignol, PC Gamer writer, freelancer and the positronic brain behind the fabled Big Robot, contributes a short story to _blackout. Part of a novella based on his two short stories, 'Obelisk' and 'Plugging Away'.
Tim was no longer sure he could let this happen. If thereís any doubt, then itís usually wrong. Tim had plenty of doubt right now but at what point did the subtleties of the greater good overrule the basic rules of right and wrong? He still wasnít sure he could live with this. Nausea was beginning to grow in his stomach. Since the word had first come to him that drunken night in the union two years ago, terrorist, he couldnít escape from feeling like one.
Budding writer Chris Carver presents the prologue to his science-fiction tale.
Somewhere, someone is screaming. Itís a jarring, sudden noise, painful to the ears. The voice is male. Probably. It is hard to tell. The scream is primal, primitive, a throwback to an age clouded over in the haze of memory. It is a scream of absolute fear. Not the cathartic release of energy that accompanies a scream of pain, but an instinctive reaction, freed from inhibition.
Ben Hoyle contributes _blackout's first piece of fictional prose, a dark and somewhat supernatural tale.
She'd said he wouldn't dream but she'd been wrong about that. From the moment Stock felt consciousness slipping away, his mind was filled with bright colours and echoing voices. Random images, fragments of memory distorted by sleeping reason, danced lightly before his mind's eye. He was a child again, living high up in the Enwhy Hirise with his mother.
Another 'Part One'. One day I'm going to write a novel. I'm going to find the right story and all the energy and have all the time and that'll be that. This is the first part of the first chapter of an earlier attempt. I won't call it failed because I still have a firm idea in my head of where it could go, it's just that I don't know if I particularly interested in that destination any more. We'll see.
I suppose it's a biological mechanism of the utmost irony that those experiences we associate with the danger of death are imprinted so indelibly on our memories, especially the event itself.
First part of an intended longer piece. I love to find lesser known bits of mythology, particularly from sources that are less glamorous than the usual Greek or Egyptian sources. This first part is just about dying, though.
The stranger stopped at the pavement and raised his head, almost as if he was sniffing the air like a dog. He turned his head to stare at the boy across the car park. Even at this distance he felt the strangers gaze and he turned away quickly and scurried back to the safety of his guardian.
I always wanted to write a story along these lines ever since as a kid, I read a short story in a generic sci-fi anthology, "With an Eagle on Her Back" it was called, translated from French. The library near to where I used to live were a little backward in their categorisation, filing all of the horror and sci-fi in the children's section. I surreptiously read pretty much everything on that shelf at an impressionable age. Not that I think that did me any harm, but those adult stories from way out on the rims of some pretty fevered imaginations left some deep impressions on me. Never could find that story again, though.
Elizabeth burped gently as she pushed the remains of her meal around her plate. her hand unconsciously brushed the pronounced swell of her abdomen as the remains of the Stroganoff completed its third circuit.
God, I hate this story. I didn't want to write it, they MADE me. I wrote Mother to Be when I was 19 to fulfil a creative writing assignment at college. The assignment was one of those formula-based things, A meets B, A falls in love with B, etc, etc. As a 19-year-old just off the leash the last thing I wanted to write was love stories. It's here because the naivete of it makes me cringe and and it's as well I have a reminder around that the stuff I think is so clever today might not seem so bloody smart in ten years time. It also holds the distinction of being the first thing I ever had published, in an end-of-year student anthology.