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

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.

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


by Daniel Braum

Captain James and the Red Cassandra bore down on a merchant vessel reported to be carrying a King’s ransom in Spanish gold. Ever since they had retrofitted Cassandra with parts of the strange ship that fell from the sky, the seas were full of easy pickings and pirate life was good. The royal navies of Europe were no match for Red Cassandra’s new armor and firepower. James knocked back a swig of rum. His pirate ship was invincible.

He was almost ashamed at how easy plundering had become. Why had the occupants of the flying ship abandoned it? And where were they now?

The merchant vessel drifted into range. Easy. Too easy, James thought.

Ten navy ships crested the horizon. He could have given the order to fire on them but he wanted them to be close enough to see.

He waited till they approached and then gave the order.

Fire !

Beams of red light shot from Red Cassandra’s new cannons. The navy ships wooden hulls were neatly sliced in two with a series of satisfying hisses. Then the seas were alive with the sounds of panicked men, burning wood, and frigates filling with water on their way to Davy Jones’ locker.

“Aw, that was too easy, Captain,” first mate Rudolph said. “At least they could have fired on us. I like the sound of cannon balls bouncing harmlessly off Cassandra’s hull.”

As Rudolph spoke a shadow fell over them. The sky was cloudless and the rest of the sea was bathed in afternoon sun. James looked up. A giant sphere of shining metal hovered above.

Cassandra’s cannons shook in their casings and lifted into the air, ripping planks from the deck along with them. The new hull plating followed into the sky and disappeared into a hatch in the belly of the floating craft.

The strange spherical ship rose into the heavens.

James ordered the Cassandra to sail back into hiding. The navy was defeated today but they’d be back. He knew without their new weapons and armor the days of easy pillaging were numbered.

James watched the flying craft until he could see it no more.

Who were they, he wondered. Was life the same for a pirate up in the sky? Maybe somewhere, among the stars, there still was a place where a man could be free.


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