Plugs

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

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

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

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).

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by Rudi Dornemann

In the way of all archetypal stories, Orpheus didn’t make his trip to the underworld and back just once. As each generation retold and reinvented his story, he relived it, and he never learned: he always looked.

Sisyphus probably didn’t notice anything when his repeated predicament repeated. But Orpheus couldn’t stop himself from hoping any more than he could stop himself from looking.

One day, while amusing his future bride by making boulders jig in time to his lyre, he found himself increasingly depressed with everything that was waiting to happen. He thought he’d visit Daedalus. It was an age of invention, and maybe the spirit of the age even moved in the old tales. He told Eurydice he’d be right back and left her and the stones humming his last tune.

The inventor’s single word suggestion: “Mirrorshades.”

“That’s hardly my style,” said Orpheus. “And how will that help?”

“The underworld isn’t well lit. No one will notice,” said Daedalus. “The trick is to turn one lens backwards. She’ll be in the edge of your vision all the time, no need to turn back yourself, so, technically, you won’t be breaking the rules.”

“Perfect,” said Orpheus.

“I’ve made a sketch,” said Daedalus. “I’ll have the boy build you a pair while I flameproof these wings.”

What Orpheus didn’t realize until he pulled out the glasses at the foot of the stairs out of the underworld was that Icarus never did anything except to excess. Both lenses were mirrored on the inside.

He put them on and played. He’d climbed the stairs so many times that his feet knew the path by feel. The peripheral glimpse-image was enough for him, he kept his eyes steadily ahead, and he made it all the way to the top.

He took off the glasses, expecting sunlight, but saw he hadn’t left the shadowland. Hades and Persephone shook their heads. Eurydice was gone.

“Looking forward is the only way to leave here,” said the king of the dead.

“She’s always behind you now,” said Persephone.

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