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

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

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

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

Archive for the ‘Authors’ Category

The End

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

I don’t want to put the world away, but you’ve already started. You pour the oceans back in their bucket and snap the lid closed, and by the time I stop sulking and come over to help, you have already taken apart the Himalayas.

None of the tiny people are shrieking or running or shouting doomful messages on the world, because now that we’re done playing, all the little people are still. I brush them into their box in an unruly pile, not bothering to line them up.

I admit it: eventually we grow too old to play with the world–but I wish we could keep playing with it the way we used to, you lining your armies up in the north and me in the south, you making miracles and me moving learned men to spread ideas across the surface like peanut butter, like fire spreading over grass. I remember when you destroyed all my dinosaurs and I wouldn’t talk to you for weeks, and when I tried to melt the world but you got me to stop because of the polar bears. I remember how you used to look at me, the way your face crinkled by your eyes, your hoarse laughter … anyway, I remember.

You remember too: I know you do. Somewhere in your heart you still wish we could play. Somewhere in your heart you forgive me. Or anyway, you should.

When the world is broken down and tucked away, you drift away from me across the scuffed linoleum, your skin pale, your eyes tired, and as you slip out through the open door, you turn and say the last words you’ll ever say to me.

“Turn out the sun, OK?” you say. Then you’re gone.

Hanna’s Last Day

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

I thought it would remain open forever. Full of wonders and horrors. Comedies and tragedies. And grand dramas giving context and meaning to our sometimes rote existences. Its beautiful, terrible light set imaginations ablaze, illuminating both dark corners and sunlight days alike. Today it takes me a little longer to get out of bed and start my routine. They are closing the Vortex of Inspiration down and it is my job to get it done.


Standing outside my locker, in the Bureau of Vision and Illumination, I check my uniform one more time. The lab surrounding the vortex is full of dignitaries and high command and all sorts of upper brass pomp and circumstance. They’ll be watching.


When I was first told of the vortex I thought my commanding officer was insane. A device that is some sort of mad blend of science and magic given to us by the gods? Next she’d be telling me that Ra or Posiedon were real. They weren’t. But she went over a long list of gods that were real. And issued me a phone book sized official bureau document full of their offices and staff and contact numbers.

“Why are you telling me this?” I asked.

“You are being promoted.” She shook my hand. “Welcome, you are now the secretary to the under minister of Unfulfilled Dreams and Lost Masterpieces.”

“What do I have to do?” I asked.


I walk along a white painted line that leads into the spinning, blue vortex. I’m holding a transparent globe, full of agitated water. The bureau’s emblem is engraved on it. Everyone is watching as I pass into the vortex. Feels like I passed through a wall of water then it feels like nothing. On the other side is a bridge. It looks like San Francisco, only the colors are tinted blue and over-saturated. A woman is waiting on the other side of the bridge. When I get close enough I see her features are so strong. So exotic. Like a statue from a musuem. She takes the globe and the water inside stops spinning. Go back she says. Her voice is so beautiful I am overcome with sadness.


“The Vortex was a gift to the higher ups,” my CO had said. “A gift we squandered.”

“What do you mean?” I had asked

“One too many flat, unimaginative Hollywood remakes. One too many cities designed thoughtlessly. We stopped using it and now they want it back.”

I had wondered if these things were only symptoms of some greater disease or transgression.


I thought the vortex would remain open forever. Now that it is closed I do feel different. An aching void. Not entirely unexpected. I wonder what the blackness feels like to them. I leave the lab and do not stop in the locker room to change. I run for the parking lot with the thought on my mind. I light a cigarette and sit in my car and wonder if spark will ever come again to our darkness. I try to picture what it will look like. What it will feel like. And who might be waiting for it.

 – END-

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