Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

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

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

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).

A Night on the Town

by Jonathan Wood

Let us walk among the menagerie. Let us peruse its delights. See this one here, the way the flesh peels back, the exposed musculature, the sinew flexing, the streaks of fat glistening. Have you ever seen such a thing? Have you ever beheld such a thing?

And this other, this female. Such colors, such beautiful staining beneath the skin. All the colors of decay – green and black and purple and white. Like a rainbow of death she is, amongst them all. They approach her, they back away, they are uncertain. They fear her purple teeth.

And the song of this one, growing louder with each sip he takes. What fluid can cause such a display, all colors and sound? See how its mouth flays the flesh even as it sings, each increasing exertion on its part causing ever more damage. Yet it carries on oblivious as its blood pools around its feet, warning the others away.

Let us walk among the menagerie. Let us lick them, taste their salt and their heat. Look how they arch at the touch. They love it, you know. For just a little while. But our fluids will scar them, will etch them. We are like sculptors, and they like clay.

See this one, the small one. It is deadly. Like a viper, like a cuckoo. Do not let it touch your eggs with its oh-so-white hands. It looks like porcelain but its heart is dullest stone.

And this one, it has edges. Oh, how they bite at you. Posions so bitter you they will bottle your blood when you are gone.

They are dangerous, yes, these creatures, though we have such power of them. You laugh, I see you behind your mask. Oh yes I see you. And they see you too. For in observing we too are observed. Even as we seek a dish to serve, so too do they. Do not forget the rules of the menagerie. Always remember that beneath our clay, our silk, our layers of wax and pus, we are animals too. And one must always feed the animals, lest the animal feed on you.

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