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.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

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 the ‘Angela Slatter’ Category

Grain of Truth – Part One

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Baron Samedi watches as I pour out the wine and measure the grain. He makes sure I don’t have a chance to steal some for my poor, shrunken belly; to sift through in search of something special. It’s not fair, but he knows me too well; isn’t prepared to risk the loss.

            Erzulie is different, sweeter, sloppier. She would turn a blind eye, figuring ‘What are the odds?’ Not the Baron, though.

            The other loas will be here soon. They always gather before a ceremony, to drink, eat, gamble. Their poker chips are souls.

            The humans – my people, once, before I wandered, too stupid to know better – call the loas down. Offer them food and libations – little do they know the spirits would come if offered nothing else. They hunger for the moment of possession, of stealing a physical form if only for a few minutes, a few hours, before the living body spits them out again.

            For the most part, the loas are lazy, which is why they steal away small idiots like me. I should have known better than to take the shiny beads the pretty lady dangled in front of me. But I didn’t and I’ve spent nearly thirty years trapped in the body of a nine year old.

            And I’m searching, seeking, looking for the thing that will set me free. The grain of truth they all talk about in hushed voices, the thing that will release me.

            There’s a knock at the door – the Marassa Jumeaux have arrived, the divine twins. They are children, they look like me, but I don’t play with them. Mama Bridgette lumbers up the stairs behind them and glares at me …

The Cabal’s third anniversary is approaching, and we’re looking for help figuring out how to celebrate, so we’re holding a contest. Click here to read the details and give us your ideas!

A Monkey in the Hand – Part 2

Friday, February 26th, 2010

How could I resist? A Galatea to my Pygmalion – but something infinitely more intriguing than an ordinary woman.

I’d read about sailors who’d caught a mermaid in the South Seas and tried to bring her back to Portsmouth. They kept her in a barrel of water on the deck, but it seemed she jumped ship not far out of the harbour, waved the men goodbye and ducked under the dark, cold roiling sea.

But if I could create something that knew no home but mine?

The mech-monkey had been easy, comparatively. This was far more complex, far more challenging. I do like my things to be beautiful and the mermaid had to be exquisite.

It took two months of solid work, the mech-monkey labouring madly by my side. Sometimes it refused to participate. I just thought it was being, well, monkey-ish. After I yelled and threatened to turn it into the guts of a harpsichord, it obeyed, albeit bitterly, dropping things, straightening things that were meant to be bent and bending things that were meant to be straight.

In the end, though, she was finally ready. Polished brass for skin, covered with engraved scales, an articulated tale where the smoke came out (a farting monkey was one thing, a farting mermaid another entirely). Her irises were emeralds, her lips embossed gold. Her hair I bought from a magnificent whore in Spitalfields who let me take the whole glorious flaming red torrent for twenty guineas. I spent another twenty guineas having it made into the finest wig you’ve ever seen, then fitted it tightly over the metal egg of the skull.

The breasts were my pride: jutting things, ruby tipped, inviting, hard to the touch, and cool in the mouth. I thought about making her a voice-box, but then decided that her smile was enough, the way the corners of her mouth slid back like a sled across an icy lake.

The monkey, needless to say, hated her. My clever little creature, so smart, so learned, such a happy companion when we were alone. And I started to neglect him, poor little sod. But in all honesty, dear reader, I thought her too large for him to do anything about.

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