Plugs

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

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Mini Buddha Jump Over the Wall

by Jason Erik Lundberg

“What are you?” the little girl asked.

“I am a catoblepas,” I said. “And a quadruped. And a lonely soul.”

“Do you have a name?”

“Yes.”

“Well, what is it?”

“Mini-Buddha-Jump-Over-the-Wall.”

“That’s a strange name.”

“I am a strange animal.”

“Why are you looking at the ground?”

“Catoblepasi are cursed. Were you to look into my eyes, you would drop stone dead to the ground.”

“But why would you do that to me?”

“It is neither my choice nor intention, little girl. I am a pacifist, and wish harm to none, and so to prevent unnecessary loss of life, I am forced to forever look downward.”

The girl touched my flank and I shivered.

“You have pretty scales,” she said.

“Thank you. It is kind of you to say.”

“And I like the way you smell. Like the flowers Mum buys for our Guan Yin altar.”

“I am pleased you approve.”

A sound of shuffling and the whispering of grass blades. I could not tell what the little girl was doing. I did not know how she had found me in this isolated place. Southeast Asian mangrove swamps are not known for human habitation.

“My name is Anya,” she said, her face popping into view below me. “And your eyes–”

I shut them quickly, but was I fast enough? I had warned her, had I not?

“Little girl?”

No response. Eyes still tight, I nudged around in the grass with a hoof, but could feel no body. Had she merely wandered away? Could she have just rolled from under me? I could not stand the idea of causing her death.

“Little girl? Anya?”

I waited a moment more, then let out a long breath and continued along my previous path, knowing that either way, I was once more alone.

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