Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.

Tales of the Future #2: The Actuary and the Mothman

by Rudi Dornemann

Once upon a time, some years after the Unified Realities treaty opened up immigration from one dimension to another, an actuary and a mothman were neighbors. They got on well enough, nodding and saying “hi” when they passed each other in the hallway or in the hovercarpark, occasionally trading opinions on the weather or the local sports teams.

One day, the actuary’s vendo/disposo unit broke down and, as he was wrestling with all the very, very tiny parts and swearing very loudly in the dialects from several alternate realities, he was interrupted by a knock at his apartment door. It was the mothman, carrying a toolbox.

“Heard trouble,” said the mothman. “This always work for me.” He handed the actuary a nanospanner the size of a particularly skinny hair.

The vendodisp was soon fixed. The actuary was so grateful that he invited the mothman to come over for dinner and he made his specialty – a stew with precisely cubed vegetables.

When the mothman was leaving, he said, “Very good. Grant three wishes.”

The actuary hadn’t expected this, and puzzled over the mothman’s words while he vacuumed vaguely luminous dust from the chair where his neighbor had sat. He’d heard that the mothpeople could influence reality – the mothman must have been saying that he’d make some changes at the actuary’s request.

That night, the actuary tossed and turned, trying to decide what to ask for. By the time his alarm rang, he’d narrowed it down to eight things. He had it down to five by the time he heard the mothman’s door close. The actuary threw on his clothes and ran up to the roof, just in time to see the mothman getting onto his car.

“I can’t decide,” said the actuary.

“Not worry,” said the mothman, with a twinkle in his multifaceted eyes. “Already do.” And off he went.

While the actuary watched the mothman merge into traffic, the building super came up behind him and said, “Wishes?”

The actuary nodded.

“Don’t stress,” said the super. “Mothfolk live outside of time. Whatever it was, was likely taken care of before you were born. You’ll probably never know what it was.”

That all made sense, but the actuary knew that he still had to make lists of what he’d wish for. He might not sleep for a week, but he’d figure it out.

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