Plugs

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

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

Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.

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.

Archive for October, 2009

Where the Light Bulbs Go

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Laura stood on a kitchen chair and shined the little red flashlight at the top closet shelf, but the only thing she saw was the yellowed contact paper: no light bulbs.

“Angie!” she shouted, stepping down. Angie poked her head in from the home office, formerly a pantry.

“Hmm?”

Laura walked over and put both her hands on Angie’s cheeks. “Sweetie, did we or didn’t we talk about the light bulbs?”

“Light bulbs … ?”

“About if one of us used the last one, we would write it on the grocery list.”

“Oh that! Sure we did. Do I get to call you anal again?”

“No, you do not. Because one of us–not me–used the last light bulb and didn’t write it on the list.”

Angie took both of Laura’s hands in hers, kissed her, then turned back to her computer. “Not guilty, sorry.”

“It wasn’t me,” Laura said. “I replaced a bulb three days ago, and there were still two left.”

“Still not me.”

“You know you don’t always pay attention to these things–and this is the third time we’ve been out since Christmas!”

“Maybe your Mom cursed the closet. She said she was a witch.”

“My mother is not a witch, she’s mentally ill. Remember when we caught her with that mouse?”

“Relax … your blood pressure! Now, please let me work.”

Laura stood for a moment in stupefaction, then shoved the kitchen chair back into place and shut the closet door with unnecessary force. She left the kitchen with her arms crossed over her chest.

“Blood pressure!” Angie sang out.

Behind the closet door, past the top shelf, through a gap in the ceiling that led to a crawlspace, in a long gallery only a foot high, a mouse sighed in relief. She nosed her two new prizes into place, wrapped bare wire around each of their bases, then connected the terminals. Finally she went back and reconnected a bit of insulated wire. The crawlspace lit up with dozens of light bulbs: Christmas tree bulbs, floods, standard lamp bulbs, frosted globes, and more. Many were masked with bits of colored paper and fabric over toothpick frames, so the mouse was surrounded with glowing colors, varied and warm and mixing subtly where they overlapped. The mouse sighed and lay down to sleep in her fairyland, soothed by the faint tapping of the human woman’s fingers on her computer keyboard below.

Our Lady Of the Snows

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

“Her house is everywhere where winter is”; but this turned out not to be true, as I learned when I went away to school and, for the first time, met people from other parts of our country. I learned then that it is full of places — wooded valleys, and windy inlets, rolling farmland or monastery country, indeed, even the occasional bustling city, as big as or bigger than Kardery — places, in short, where the people live not too differently from us. They speak the same language; they read about the capital, and the Empress; children trudge to school to study the same lessons we learn at home.

And yet, despite all these similarities, there is one house inside which these people have never been.

Corinne (she was the first girl I had ever met with bangs; they rippled over her dark eyes like a sheet of water) said that where she comes from, winter means only that the sun is obscured by a new, low sky of cloud. She said, when one goes walking across the pasture to the cows, one’s body casts no shadows on the grass; no, nor the tall stones that hold up the sky; and underfoot the green is wet and brilliant enough to replace – almost — the hidden sun.

Bruno, brown and blond, said that in the plains, winter means no rain, and that means fire. (It makes a noise like an angry army in the mountains, he said.) While in Kuchko’s home city – Kuchko is thin and pale, with a scarred hand — the trees only turn gold (she said), and the water noisy, and white mist rolls in from the bay and makes silver oceans in the air.

But none of them – none! — had ever seen or walked with the Lady.

I told them that, when the first cold comes, I will take them out into the hills behind the school. There we can get used to the corridors, the galleries and halls, while they are still upholstered in autumn. And then, when the time comes, we will go out again — dressed for visiting — and I will show them into her parlor, and we will go to her among the silent trees, and render her what we have brought to give, where she waits for us in her receiving room: Our Lady of the Snows.

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