David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

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

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.

The Marrying Kind

by Jen Larsen

Her first fiancé, the evil scientist, proposed from the moon. The light glinted off the helmet of his space suit as he shook his tiny fist on monitors all over the world. With the magnet they built together at his back, he threatened democracy and declared his love in one breath. How could she say no? He died in a firestorm upon reentering the earth’s atmosphere, and she never kissed his acid-scarred lips again.

When she helped reinstate the throne of the rightful king of Atlantis, he asked her to be his queen. She wore a seaweed gown and held a scepter made of starfish, and they swam through the reefs on moonlit nights. They planned the reemergence of his kingdom on the world stage, water streaming down the great coral towers. They never saw the shark that devoured him whole–her name the last word on his lips. She emerged dry-eyed from the sea, far ahead of the assassins, and she never looked at the ocean the same way again.

She was the one who left the vampire. Though you never really leave a vampire—you just leave behind a pile of dust.

The bounty hunter, the ninja, the hired gun. They fought to the death over her before she could choose, and she had to leave the country on a swift boat well after midnight, Rio de Janeiro receding in the distance. She dismantled her machine gun and swore off relationships. She went to go live with her mother. She got a job as a marketing manager. She drank cosmos and did not look down dark alleys, accept mysterious packages, or clap eyes with fedora-wearing strangers. She never said yes to anything. She got five paid vacation days a year. She wondered if she could still kill a man with a comb.

One night, at midnight, the mutant king of the alligators showed up in her room with a rustling wedding dress. “I’ve been watching you,” he said. “I’ve been waiting to make you mine.” She had been sleeping. She wasn’t sure what to say. “You dislike marketing,” he continued, “and have a difficult relationship with your mother. Your friends are self-involved. You are tired of the crowds, the pollution, of ordinary life. But in the sewers, you will be my queen.” He extended his glistening paw towards her. He bared his alligator teeth.

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