One is the Lady of the Waking Waters, an immortal mermaid. The other is a thief, who steals lives until a wish can be fulfilled, and a life-changing choice must be made.
I only led the worst of men down to the Waking Waters and death, down to my love in the pool below the falls. I only led the foul men with filth on their tongues, the rich men who contrived to rule other men. I only led the men with hatred in their hearts and iron in their hands. I spurred them on with tales of hidden silver or the sight of my girlish thigh, down out from the mountain town of Scilla, down to the hills and the pines and the ruttish perfume of wildflowers.
All so that the Lady of the Waters might love me.
Well, that and so I could rob their corpses.
The 29th century treats the 21st like a prison colony. One convict, Maya, dreams of a jailbreak. Or, failing that, revenge.
“‘You know why they dump us here? You know why I think the twenty-first century is the prison century?’
‘Because the Corrective Council abolished the death penalty and couldn’t send any more people to Stalinist Russia without someone noticing?’
‘I bet they calculated that twenty-first century America was the worst placetime to live with the longest life expectancy. Highest rates of anxiety in recorded history, but they’re gonna cure cancer soon enough that we’ll have plenty of time to suffer.’ Maya tried to toe another brick off the edge, but it wouldn’t budge. She pulled back to kick it, changed her mind, stomped on the silver tar paper roof.”
A queer, antiauthortiarian fantasy story that is mostly just about survivor’s guilt. And demon gods.
The five hunters behind her breathed in deep, breathed in unison. They were close, their lips almost to her ears, and the wordless chant was heavy in the air. Four sets of lips belonged to men she cared not much for. The other belonged to Lelein, a woman who had breathed hard into her ear in other moments, passionate moments. The trees hung boughs high above the hunters, the moss of the ancient forest soft beneath their soft-heeled boots.
A story of adventure and love set in a post-apocalyptic tea-farming commune in the Pacific Northwest.
An autumnal smell broke my train of thought. Autumnal smells had no place during Beltane, but there it was, amidst the ambient scent of the tea fields, the iron sweat of the dancers, the pine smoke.
A voice carried through the evening’s scents: “Fire!”
Burning tea plants. The smell was burning tea plants.
A short horror story in the style of an online review of a campground.
I used to look forward to dying, back before I’d met the dead. The thought of death had been a comforting one. Death had felt like sleep, like oblivion. Oblivion is the place where forgotten things go. I’ve long wanted to forget, so I’ve always wanted to be forgotten.
My cynical critique of misanthropy, in science fiction form.
It was a shitty fucking mission. It was a volunteer mission that hadn’t had a single volunteer until Caroline. But on a backwater like Earth, she had a chance to make a name for herself and be left alone. All she had to do was try not to die on entry, find the terraforming team. Find a way to report back. If she wanted, find a way home.
A crustpunk traveler, on the end of his rope, stumbles into the paranormal.
The woods were shrubby and shitty and full of ticks. It was the kind of embarrassing midwest excuse for a forest that is both the result of clearcutting and that makes me think a second clearcut would, just in this one case, be an improvement. The sun was on the back of my neck and I’d had my thumb outstretched for hours. The muscles in my face hurt from smiling at every single motherfucker who wouldn’t pick me up.
A horror story set in near future Baltimore. A queer street punk wrestles with a world in which angels bestow upon each of us a curse.
A night like any night, my bare mattress on the floor, old window glass between me and the street outside. A few bottles on the floor, one filled with piss in the corner–the toilet was three stories down and if there’d ever been a railing there certainly wasn’t one now and I’d rather piss into a bottle than break my neck drunk in the dark.
What happens when your self-driving taxi decides to drive you to jail?
“This police district requests all principal transportation providers to log passenger information of those traveling to and from specific locations. While customer privacy is of the utmost importance to us, we at Taxy are both required and proud to uphold our legal responsibilities.”
A very short love story set in a post-human world.
“Sometimes I think that the kindest thing I could do would be to cut the wires,” I told you. I was being cold to you. I’m fairly sure it was the only time I ever was. I’m fairly sure because sometimes I think about everything we did together and everything I ever said to you, as if that could help me make sense of what happened.