Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

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

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).


by Daniel Braum


Through solid information I had heard that Minaesphoptuian Hirentheah, a minor demon, a particularly slippery class six, had been at Valentino’s Bar and Grill. Valentino’s was a real spiffy pool joint; two floors, over a hundred tables, a sexy wait staff; place got real crowded on Sat nights. It fit Minaes’s modus operandi; debauchery and desire. Money and sex and egos flying around along with drunken pool games made for bad bargains and easy dealings.

Why work harder than you need to, the last demon I had collared said to me. And I agree. But I don’t take bribes, I collect bounty. Big difference.

As I enter Valentino’s I think of her sitting in the secured cell in my basement. Sooner or later a bounty to go out on her, and the rest of them.

Minaes stands out in the crowd to me, clear as day. I see right through her guise of zoot-suited pool shark. Then she sees me when shouldn’t. I’m masked to the gills way above what a class six can detect. But her glances betray her and she shows me the positions of the five major demons at the bar and tables. To the crowd they look like grizzled under cover cops.

Minaes dissipates into the ether, not bothering to cover her tracks but I can’t follow. A storm of demonic magic flies at me. Curses. Words of binding. I buckle in pain as the demons encircle me.

“Bounty on you, Ilyanna,” one of them says. “Illegal detention of Infernal-kind.”

I try to escape but I have no strength.

“There are bounties on all of you,” I say. “Hunters that have been on your tails for centuries. Release me and I shall hunt them…”

“A deal?” Another of the demons says. They are quiet. Conversing in each other’s minds. The crowd is running out of the joint in panic, thinking it’s a raid.

“Seal the deal in blood?” the first one asks.

It’s a dangerous game, opening my veins voluntarily around their kind. Voluntary is the key for them to have a hold on me. A guarantee I’ll keep my part. I don’t know if its gonna make things worse, but I’m not going back to Pandemonium, not tonight, so I might as well try.

I allow them to open my vein and I ready to receive the blood.

– END –

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.