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

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

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.

Water Bodies

by AlexM

Marcius watched the slow movements of condensed water on the window, and didn’t know what to do.

Behind him, a dead woman lay on a bed. She lay as if asleep — but too empty of life for that mistake to be made for long. “I see no marks of injury external or internal,” Cimber said. “She’ll have to be thoroughly scanned at a morgue. Most likely heart failure.”

Not an improbable conclusion, given the white of her hair.

Except for the water on her window and the secret words it made. Marcius glanced between them and Cimber, torn. If he revealed the truth, he risked seeing another artist contained. In her condensation-words a trusted water interpreter might find a clue to the artist’s identity — and that would mean containment, imprisonment of another man or woman who could help Marcius. But every case he helped solve earned a reduction of his debt to Cimber.

As Cimber requested a pick-up for the body, his eyes moving across the screens embedded inside them, Marcius said, “That’s not why she died.”

Cimber looked directly at him.

“She bought a water body,” Marcius continued, glancing at the window. “Those are her words on the window. She says that she was bored, and now she’s leaving in her new body. Soon she’ll be floating through the city, playing with the rain, the rooftops, the undersides of weather balloons.”

He could not keep longing from his voice. Neither could he ignore the look of displeasure on Cimber’s face.

Cimber had not approved of his little brother’s decision. And when he realised that Marcius had left without repaying a debt, disapproval had turned to action.

Running down metal roof-tiles, along drainage pipes, gutters — like slides at a child’s amusement park. He remembered it with painful clarity.

Some people worried that too many citizens bought water bodies, and made the act illegal. Marcius worried that too many artists would be contained before he’d repaid his debt.

Later, outside the apartment, Cimber acknowledged the debt reduction. “Another forty-six cases to go,” he said. “And I see you haven’t changed your mind.”

“I’d go back now, if I knew you wouldn’t return me to a human body again and again.”

Forty-six, he thought as Cimber began silently walking home, until I can be water, until I can play with the rain again.

He hoped that the artists taught their techniques faster than they were caught.

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