Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

And Then a Curious Thing Happened

by Luc Reid

“It all began, you see, when my friend Robert Cloaksworth came to me and said that he had discovered ancient writings about the Door of Chum-Tuun, a fabulous Mayan site, lost for hundreds of years, that was reputed to be a portal to the underworld. Well, we set off to the Yucatan to investigate, and after about six weeks of hacking our way through the jungle with machetes–that’s how I developed such strong arms, you see, powerful as anything–we actually found it.”

“My god! And that’s when–?”

“Oh, no, no. Turned out to be nothing but a legend. We went back to England in a bit of state, really. Cloaksworth had claimed to fall ill at the last moment–all a ruse, you see, for my embarassment. Terrible fellow, Cloaksworth. Never liked him since. But I ought to be grateful, because my disgrace in England sent me travelling to Morocco, where I found a tarnished old oil lamp that I thought I might use as a kind of ornament back home. I took a cloth to it and began to clean it really very energetically, and it was only when a sort of mist began to come out of it that I remembered my Thousand and One Nights …”

“You don’t mean it was a djinni?”

“Well, of course it wasn’t, really. Actually it was a kind of mold inside there that threw out the most incredibly noxious spores. I was so overcome by them that I stumbled out behind the house into the desert and fell there, quite helpless. And just then I looked up and saw a sort of lighted disk descending from the sky, just floating there as easily as though it had no more to do with gravity than you do with a pufferfish, and a sort of door opened in the bottom, and sent down a beam of light that pulled me up–”

“Into a spaceship? They were some kind of aliens?”

“What? Oh, heavens no: it was a hallucination, you see. The spores. Actually, they were really quite poisonous, and I nearly died, but at the hospital there I was cared for by Marguerite here, and that, of course, is how I met my wife.”

“Your wife? But God, man, what I want to know is where you got a second head!”

“Oh, this? I don’t remember where I got that.”

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One Response to “And Then a Curious Thing Happened”

  1. gloundan Says:

    December 7th, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Heau de heau heau!