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

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

Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

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

Brisneyland by Night – Part Five

by Angela Slatter

My heart thumped. No. Wrong neighbourhood. Wrong kind of kid.

‘Have you checked the tree?’ Lizzie liked to hide in the hollow of the jacaranda tree in my backyard. She had comic books in sealed plastic bags, a blanket, a couple of dolls there. Her mother and I pretended we didn’t know about it – every kid needs a secret place.

‘First place I looked. Not with her friends either.’ She shook her head, trying not to cry. ‘I don’t want to overreact …’ she said, but I knew that’s exactly what she wanted to do, like any mother. She wanted to scream until her baby came back; she wanted to kill the person who’d caused her this tearing fear.

‘Did you see anyone? Any strange cars?’

She shakes her head, stops. ‘A big gold Mercedes drove past a couple of times when I was in the garden. But …’

‘Did you get a number plate? Any of it?

‘WKD1 – I noticed it coz it was weird.’

She had no idea how weird. ‘Call the cops, better to be safe than sorry. I’ll go for a drive,’ I said, eying the gypsy cab as it pulled up out the front of my place.

She nodded and the movement of her head was enough to spill the tears over. I pushed her away. ‘You’ve got my mobile – call if you hear anything.’

I climbed into the cab, wishing I’d had time for a call shower to at least trick me into feeling alert.

‘We’ve got a problem, Ziggi.’

‘Just one?’

‘Kid next door’s gone missing.’

‘You think …?’

‘Don’t know. Wrong suburb, wrong area, wrong kind of home, but who wants to risk it?’ I tried to catch my breath. ‘Got anyone who can check a licence plate for me?’

‘Of course, I got friends at Transport. Cost ya, though.’

‘It’s only money.’ I gave him the tag and waited, staring out the window while he made the call.

‘You’re not gonna be happy,’ Ziggi interrupted my thoughts and tugged hard on the wheel, turning us around sharply.

‘Won’t be the first time. Where are we going?’

‘Ascot. You said there wasn’t anything there.’

‘I said I couldn’t see anything. There’s overground and there’s underground, Ziggi. Burrows, cellars, caves, tunnels, larders. Aw, jeez.’

I leaned against the upholstery and closed my eyes, hoping the afternoon traffic wouldn’t bring us to a standstill.

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