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.

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.

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Archive for March, 2011

The End

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

He carried her all the way to the end of the universe, and showed her where it all dropped off. Stars streamed down the long black wall, leaving streaks of silver behind.

From the crook of his arm, she asked, “Where does it all go?” She was five, and she asked a lot of questions.

He juggled her a bit in his arms, and pointed. “Down there,” he said. His eyes were bright, reflecting the shine of the stars and the spaces around them. He was not what she expected at all. For one, he was far too prosaic. Her mother said that platypuses proved he had a sense of humor. Her father said physics was serious stuff—no dice games. Both of them were at home asleep, and either of them would have felt all their questions sucked away down into the streaming black of the end of the universe. Either of them would have felt like they were falling and falling and falling. Either of them would have woken up immediately, relieved.

She asked, “Where’s that?” and he frowned at her. He was used to being questioned. He was used to ignoring the questions he wasn’t interested in, which was most of them. His frown seemed to take up all the rest of the end of the universe, and echo back to the beginning. Streaming stars trembled, and swept around him.

She sighed, and struggled down out of his arms. He let her go, spreading out his hands, watching her make her way to the edge. It was not behavior he was particular familiar with. She thrust out her chin, assessed the drop, the lines of incandescent light shivering down into points, away and away forever. She turned and smiled at him, and he could not help but smile at her, wrapped in the luminous vapor of the stars. She smiled at him again, and turned, and she leapt past the edge of the universe, beyond the end.

Shore Birth

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

It was a still sea that spat him forth, the surface as flat as a pond, the waters rank with dead sea-grass and the bloated bodies of fish. There was no sun to herald his arrival, nothing but a faint spot somewhere above the slate-grey clouds.

A jagged rock snagged his bobbing vessel, and the skin around him tore. As he uncurled from his foetal position he found twin horns on his head, sharp and mean. They made short work of the amniotic sac, and in moments he’d freed himself.

Awareness. Movement.

He saw his body for the first time, drank in the enormity of his limbs, his height, touched his long snout and horns. He was. The newborn knelt in the motionless brine, sluicing the wreckage of skin and slime away from his matted fur.

He cupped a handful of water in his broad hands, and lifting it above the murk he saw his own face reflected. He was a bull-man, a hybrid of man and beast. A minotaur. While there were many blanks in his mind, these terms of reference came instantly to him.

The child stood for a long moment in the shallows, pondered the desolate stretch of shore, the endless cliffs. The beach was loose stone, here and there covered in thick drifts of dead sea-grass, white and crumbling to dust. There’d been no high tide in months, if not years. In moments he realised the concepts of tidal patterns, lunar cycles, the works.

With some panic he realised that he was the only living thing on that desolate shore. The world he’d just been born into had an ocean but no tides, death but no new life to make way for.

‘I’m alone?’ he asked, voice a thick rumble. It was a strong and deep sound. He cried out in fear, an animal bleat, the sound echoing against the cliff-face.

As the sound faded, the beach was once again silent and still.

Drawing a deep breath through the fat pipes of his nostrils, the bull-man found control. He clambered ashore, the rocks doing little against the thick leather of his feet. This shale shifted beneath his weight, but he kept his balance, shuffled forward.

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