Plugs

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

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).

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

The Lephir

by AlexM

“Do not scoff, child. Do not tell me how your great-aunt sailed through a mid-winter storm and only lost one of her crew.

“Mid-winter storms are not the Lephir.

“You can imagine going into a strong wind, I’m sure. You can imagine the beat of the drum almost lost to the crashing waves, you can imagine the shouts of the oarsmen as they keep each other motivated.

“I was one of those oarsmen, my throat sore and salty, my back and arms aching as we bore closer and closer to the western end of the Strait. Yes, I rowed the Strait as a younger man.

“Can you imagine the oarsmen weakening? Can you imagine the ship beginning to move back the way it had come? Probably. Can you imagine what happened next?

“The Lephir whips the waves, and those waves hide whirlpools. Now, our captain knew about these whirlpools. He knew the places they most commonly formed. With his outstretched arm as our guide, we rowed close to the rock walls of the Strait.

“We thought our captain wise.

“As we tired, as we began drifting backwards — slowly, for we still rowed with all the strength we could muster — we heard screams from the bow. Twisting on my bench, I saw the torso of an oarsman fall to one side, missing his shoulders and head. Only the legs remained of another man.

“The creatures, long-necked and dog-headed, stretched out again from their caves a drumbeat later. Our arrows could not stop them from taking two men closer to the mast, and two more after that.

“They feasted — and do not say that we should have fought harder, aimed truer, rowed faster. They moved quicker than your great-aunt’s tongue set foolhardy challenges for herself and others.

“When our captain was devoured, we rowed harder. And we put up the sail, so that the Lephir would help to carry us east. We had learnt our lesson.

“There’s a reason only the foolhardy attempt the Lephir, child. The wind is not all they face.”

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