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

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

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

The Apprentice’s Tale

by Rudi Dornemann

Unlike the rest of the apprentices, who swan about in dark-colored and inevitably muddy-hemmed robes of plasticky synthetic velvet, Eyve Aerial knows magic and fashion are inextricable. Thus the macrame Mobius scarf. Thus the jester’s motley diamonds she inks all over her jeans with antique ballpoints. Thus the six-button waistcoat covered in mirrors etched with tiny warding hands that she always wears under the Anorak of Power. Only her gloves are purely practical, worn because things tend to catch on the Medusa-cursed iron of her left hand’s fingertips. The clothes make the magician — and a good magician, thinks Eyve, makes her own clothes.

It’s not like the other apprentices don’t dismiss her out of hand anyway. They’re all from named houses or ambitious parents at least, while she used to live on the street and work as a courier, and there are whispers she should have lost that job after losing a valuable parcel. They don’t know that Eyve’s seen a couple dozen glimpses of the future, and even remembers some of them.

So when, on an inauspicious Thursday, the apprentices are ambushed by a pack of husk-zombies, and their tongues are all tripping over the syllables of the repelling chant that they’re trying to repeat as many times as possible, none of them expects Eyve to step forward and push her gloveless hand into the chest of the lead zombie.

“You used to be somebody,” says Eyve, “somebody who doesn’t deserve this.” She snaps a spark from her rusty fingertips. The zombie is all flames above the waist as it stumbles after its fleeing companions.

“Let’s find out who sent them,” says Eyve. She’s bouncing on the toes of her monkey-boots.

Huddled in a nearby doorway, her classmates just stare at her.

“The lines of power will be faint,” says one, and another adds, “We can’t see them anyway.”

“You can’t,” says Eyve, as she zips up her anorak’s snorkel hood. She’s embroidered eyes on either side of the hood and woven charms and amulets into the fur of the opening around her face.

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