“You’re a good girl, Ruthie,” Ma says, placing hands on my arms. She’s looking at them—really looking at them—for the first time in longer than I can remember. “You’ve always been a good girl.” The cadenced beeping of her heart monitor rises up from the background noise of the ward, intrusive, and it seems to […]
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I was thinking of you. It was late and the lights in the bar were set low, creating the cozy, private feeling that you always found so depressing in those sorts of places. They’re my sort of place now, but there was nothing private about the mass of people pressing on me as we stared […]
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“Let’s race to the shore,” William challenged. “I’m not interested,” Arthur said. He watched his twin’s shoulders droop and his gait slacken, then he took off toward the water. Deceit was always his surest path to victory. “That was a dirty trick,” William protested as he caught up to his brother. Arthur ignored him. His […]
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Dragon spit went global just after midnight on the 23rd January 2016. It wasn’t intentional. Tam Duncan was playing about on Twitter when he came across a photograph of a cute cat and a Game of Thrones character. He’d had a few beers, and he posted what he was thinking. @tamd See that #GRRM – […]
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Benjamin Bengfort was a much better scientist than he was a writer. He was the world’s foremost authority on artificial intelligence with an alphabet soup of degrees listed by his name, a corner office, and tenure…
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Behind the local anchorwoman, Tessa’s snapshot hung suspended in the corner of the screen.
“Day two of search for missing woman,” the ticker tape read.
I switched off the set. I palmed my face and scrubbed the two day old stubble along my jaw.[…]
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Iron spear tips brushed the bound captives’ necks. Battle scars still bleeding, they knelt in mud at their guardsmen’s feet. Most of Pempamsie village stood gawking at the captured slavers held just inside their walls.
The sight of the prisoners’ ragged armor and chains made Ralo’s stomach clench.[…]
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Death arrived in London in a plain, brown, cardboard box topped with a ribbon.
Martha Bazelton found the box on her stoop early on a chilly Tuesday morning. Expecting to see little but the week’s milk when she opened her door, Mrs. Bazelton instead took her first steps toward her own gruesome and painful death by cocking her head to the side with curiosity. Then she leaned down and picked up the object of mass doom[…]
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“So how’d you guys get together?” Katie asked.
We stopped at the top of the rise, leaned against a pink wall in the shade of an awning: Janie and I, and the couple we met at dinner, first night of the cruise. It was an effort to remember their names: Katie and Kevin. I kept thinking of them as Lucy and Ralph. As in, Ricardo and Kramden.
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Those who survive combat with the Sarakul return home with holes in their memories. As memory-setters, it’s our job to delve inside their skulls and repair the damage.
When I say “our job” I’m stretching the truth, since I’m not yet a memory-setter. During my last three years of apprenticeship under Master Agoza I’ve assisted with many restorations. Even completed a few solo. But technically I’m still an apprentice.
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The fire engine races as fast as my heart through the dark, snow-banked streets, sirens shrieking.
Still I see his blackened shell, red eyes pitted inside a face twisted with madness and malice. Still he is with me. But I couldn’t tell the shrink that because I have to keep going. If I don’t get back out there and do this now, my career is over. And the memories will be there to haunt me just the same.[…]
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Joreth knew when Maia entered his father’s smithy, despite having his back to the door. Her honeysuckle scent wafted through the smoke and curled like a fist in his gut. He yanked the rope to squeeze the bellows, but the rush of air couldn’t block out her voice.
“Good day, Halbor,” she said, addressing the master smith.
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I stopped counting two hundred and thirty-seven days in. That was the day the magistrate told me that I only had eight more hours of community service to earn my freedom. Magistrate also followed that up with “I’m going to see to it you never get those eight hours, filthy orc”.
The jail cell was getting smaller.[…]
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It is here, sadly, that I will do my last writing in this world. Sad for me anyway, though probably not for anyone else who has read my work. Critics have called my ideas unreal, impractical, and half-baked. They say my characters are inconsistent, impossible to root for, and are involved in unrealistic plot turns. But this piece will be different. It will be better. It will contain what none of my writing up until now has: Realism.[…]
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I am no storyteller, but I photograph my wife every day.
One of my favorite photos of Anne shows her sitting on our bed, face stretched and beaming, with the little white pregnancy test stick in her hand. Her freckles glow in the picture. Her eyes jump at will between green and brown. Most indoor photos give them a darker tint, but not this snapshot. Her single dimple, left side, is deep and at its face-cheering best. Anne’s dark curls wear sun-bleached highlights because it dates to late summer, only six months before the first death in Vermeer Park.[…]
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The Nova walks into the room. Then he glides into the room. The next time, he tries coming in through the window. The producer wants to make it look as natural as possible, so they do it a few more times from a couple of different angles.
Then it’s my turn. For this episode, they’ve dressed me in what my PR guy tells me is my signature outfit. Black dress slacks, black sports coat, white button-down shirt, and skinny black tie, nicely contrasted by the scruffy black Chuck Taylors and about a half a day of forgetting to shave or brush my teeth after the last beer.[…]
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It was an occasion of truce, as King Hubert of Xonia and his retinue attended the annual ceremony hosted this time by the Kingdom of Yostec. A number of other kingdoms were also participating, but the focus was on Xonia because they were the closest and fiercest rivals to Yostec, with a decades-long border dispute, and their king was young and untested. Would he make his mark here—or fail to?[…]
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It is not easy to live backwards in time, even when you are Merlin the Magnificent. You would think it would be otherwise, that you would remember all the wonders of the future, but those memories grow dim and fade more quickly than you might suppose. […]
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The three dead guys in my squad kept making too much noise. They shuffled their feet, dragging tattered boots through the underbrush, and every loud rustle, every crunch from their clumsy steps made the rest of us cringe. The living had dark stains growing down the armpits and backs of our shirts despite the cool air. […]
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The packed concert hall was far from silent. People whispered to their neighbors, fancy clothing rustled, jewelry chimed. In the wings, William Reis waited, the sound of his rapidly thumping heart filling his ears. […]
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