Plugs

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

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

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

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

Perspective

by Jonathan Wood

Four centuries after Colnel Braithwaite discovered Shangri-La, the bottom fell out of the Yeti market. Their furs were so prevalent and the creatures themselves so rare that anything new was too expensive to afford, and anything old was worthless.

This disaster was the final breaking point for the community that had grown up in the beautiful valley hidden among the Himalayan peaks. At first, of course, all had been well. There had been the celebrations at the valley’s discovery, then the joys of immortality brought about by the fountain at it’s heart, then the marriages, and children, and endless bounty.

But then had come the Sherpa uprising, and the quarrel between Braithwaite and Elkin, his old corporal, and Elkin’s settlement to the north, and then there had been the fracturing loyalties of Braithwaite’s sons, until he found he could barely walk more than a stone’s throw from his tent door before coming to someone else’s territory.

And so then had come the treatises and the chopping down of trees to form jagged barriers, and the carefully negotiated neutral grounds, for trade and hunting. And then the damn Yetis had gone and died out on him. Couldn’t even trust the wildlife of this thrice-damned valley to copulate properly.

War was the only option.

With the fountain’s waters there were few deaths. At least one inhabitant did, however, consider it–Braithwaite’s great grandson, Charles. He looked out over the valley and saw none of the green he had been told of, none of the trees. Only the criss-crossing of stockade and trench.

It seemed too much like cowardice to simply die though–a soldier’s mentality still persisted in the Colonel’s descendants. Instead Charles tactically retreated into the steep mountain slopes that defined the periphery of his world.

After three months of gnawing the bones of mountain goats, he stumbled over a cave that became a tunnel, that led deep through the rock until he gazed upon a new landscape. Charles saw snow–white and glistening; saw clouds below, stretching out, and saw through them a land he could never have dreamed of. He saw a land of silver and green, bright and beautiful. A land lush with life, and yet, when he strained his ears, all he heard at this height was a few birds, the crunch of snow beneath his feet. And it looked for all the world, like paradise.

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One Response to “Perspective”

  1. David Says:

    July 13th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    The first line is priceless.