Molly’s Garden

By Jason L. Rowell

He woke up, the bright red message flashing “End of Reel.” Over and over, a hell of a way to start another day. He reached over, slapping blindly at the deck on the bedside table before clumsily finding the off button. As the Stimdeck wound down he removed the input electrodes tossing them on top of the small black deck and placed his bare feet on the cold floor. With his head heavy in his scarred hands he sighed trying to pull together the motivation to stand, to push himself out of the soft comforting bed and face the world and the cold reality that Molly wasn’t around. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the fuzzy glow of the deck’s status LEDs and in it the image of a glowing lotus half buried beneath the mounds of tapes and cases. He fumbled through the tapes, tossing most aside but picking out the one with the holographic blossom on it, he held it in his hands studying the petals as they shimmered across the smooth surface. He had this one specially made, just for him. Just for today, just for one final knock out. Continue reading

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New Hunger

By A. R. Gwydeon

Lying on the ground, I gasped for air, fighting against the pain. The rhythm of my heartbeat  started to slow and I was nearing my last breath. Eyes watering and jaw clenching, I stubbornly tried to hold on. I’m not ready to be food. The battlefield around me had gone quiet, littered with my fallen comrades. Just when I started accepting all hope was lost, a shadow approached  from the side. A horrifying creature reached out to me, rotting flesh barely clinging to its rickety frame. It stopped only a few feet away from me, terrifying black eyes glaring as a hissing sound gurgled from its mouth. A gaping hole filled the space where its stomach should have been and a rat was nestled in a pile of intestine, loops spilling out and draping over its torn uniform. Another rat emerged from a hole in the creature’s neck and then a third escaped from a leg.

More rats exited the body and soon a group was racing towards me. Fear  had a new name, as tiny, sharp teeth cut into my skin. Only minutes ago, death had been a horrifying prospect. Now I longed for it as the rats burrowed into me. First they feasted on my liver and kidneys, then moved passed the lungs to reach my heart, the sweetest treat. Finally, they attacked the soft tissue at the back of my neck and chewing through bone, tunneled to my brain. Consciousness slipped away with each nibble, peace would soon be mine. Then the lights went out in my eyes and my lips quivered as my final breath drifted over them. Then I was floating over my body, over the field; the clouds never felt so close! The feeling of absolute weightlessness washed over me and a soothing light called out to me ahead, but before I could reach it, an invisible force dragged me back to my half eaten mind.

My eyes fluttered open, awake to the world anew. Everything looked gray and the rats continued to feed inside me but this no longer mattered. A new hunger welled up inside me . A cry pierced the air and I rose to find the source. Clumsily, I trudged through the mud, my weak legs strengthening with each step. A sweet smell greeted my nose, enticing and promising to feed the new ache inside. More screams echoed and then I saw it, a warm body lying out, helpless. I knelt down, pushing aside the protests of swinging arms and bit deeply into the living flesh; it was intoxicating. Blood ran down the sides of my mouth as I continued to feed. Around me, a new army was rising from the dead, driven by hunger and not greed.

A. R. Gwydeon works in an old fashioned butcher shop and studies Celtic and Norse mythology. She lives a chaotic neutral life with her husband and two black cats in Portland, OR. This is her first published story.

Admiral of the Narrow Seas (Part 4)

By Sidney Williams

“Admiral of the Narrow Seas” is a serial published in four parts. The rest of the story can be found here

It is well documented that we found Teach in the Bay of Honduras. We knew not what he suspected, but we had little choice but to proceed with a veil of parley. It was a way to gain access without turning our ship into cannon fodder.

We weighed anchor near the Queen Anne and the chess game began. Continue reading

Admiral of the Narrow Seas (Part 3)

By Sidney Williams

“Admiral of the Narrow Seas” is a serial published in four parts. The rest of the story can be found here

He was not Caesar when she knew him in Africa.

“That is the white man’s name,” she said. “He was a chieftan in our land. He had all that he desired but me. He was smitten and asked me to be his bride, but I refused because I loved Samuel. It was then he conspired to have Samuel in chains. When I still refused to marry him, he ordered the ritual that took Samuel’s soul and put it in a clay jar. I swore then I would never be his, so he sent me to this land as well.”

It is true, Jonathan. All of this began in their homeland as a triangle of three lovers. We reached out and brought it to our door, a byproduct of deeds I’ve come to see are as dark as any magic. Continue reading

Admiral of the Narrow Seas (Part 2)

By Sidney Williams

“Admiral of the Narrow Seas” is a serial published in four parts. The rest of the story can be found here

Unrest was immediate. They had no respect for me, thought me both inexperienced and a coward since I had run from the deck. Of more concern were the whispers of the cloaked figure that had been spotted briefly despite the distraction of battle. Likewise, they had seen the look in the eyes of the Triumph’s crew and seen the order to burn. They knew our mission was more than gold and spoils.

The task of calming them fell to Jorgen. They respected him slightly more, though their superstition simmered and rumors about the strange woman below deck took on their own chilling dimensions. Continue reading

Admiral of the Narrow Seas (Part 1)

By Sidney Williams

“Admiral of the Narrow Seas” is a serial published in four parts. The rest of the story can be found here

My dearest brother, Jonathan,

Many ask why.

Why would a man of property, breeding and education give up respectability to take to sea as a pirate? Some have whispered I tired of the planter’s mundane life, others that I fled my wife’s shrewish nature and others still that my brain was warped by some tropical fever on Barbados. None of those reflects truth, nor could I reveal all in my letter to the governor pleading for clemency.

That missive called for eloquence and judicious revelation. Alas, he did not believe my privateer contention. Now, in the shadow of the gallows, to you, I will set down all that transpired so that you will know I was not just a scoundrel in search of excitement. While you may not choose to believe nor to tell others this truth, perhaps you will preserve it for generations of our family not yet born so that they will know what compelled me and know what they escaped. They, like you may dismiss it to insanity, but at least my statement will be preserved.

Continue reading

Amenities

By Adan Ramie

“Well, don’t you look pretty?”

Her words echoed in the dark, quiet room, bouncing off of decorated walls and high ceilings. She looked around her, suddenly spooked, as if some specter would jump out of the shadows at her at any moment. She shook her head, let out an uneasy laugh, and ran a hand through her damp hair.

“Jesus, Lee, you’ve got to pull yourself together,” she said aloud and tried to heed her own advice.

She glanced again at the young woman staring back at her from the full length mirror and grinned. She almost looked like a stranger after the much needed shower. Her skin still felt prickly and hot, scrubbed clean of all the filth of the world that poured over her on a daily basis, and she basked in the comfort of the apartment around her. The jeans she wore were already broken in, which was good because she always found it hard to run in stiff denim. The shirt was the closest she could find to a style that would suit her, but it fit, and the cold weather outside called for the long sleeves and the hood that she let hang down onto her back.

She walked across the room and pulled on a pair of socks that had individual pockets for each toe. She struggled to get each one in then laughed at herself as she wiggled her multicolored toes before sliding them into her old, dirty boots. They, along with her scarred leather jacket, were the only things she had on that spoke of her reality; for a moment, if she pretended, she almost felt like someone society would call normal. Continue reading