Plugs

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

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

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 ‘Brisneyland by Night’ Category

Brisneyland by Night – Part Six

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

I broke a panel of glass in the front door and let myself in. Ziggi, on lookout duty in the cab, studiously ignored my break and enter.

I crept along the long hallway to the kitchen. A door in the pantry floor was open. I guess when you’ve got a glamour around your house and you live in Ascot you think you’re bulletproof.

The stairway leading down was brightly lit. At the bottom: a large room, walls painted white. In the back corner, a round vat with a screw-down lid and pipes running into and out of it like a still. Behind that ran rows and rows of wine racks, stretching back into the shadows. The basement was much larger than the house above.

In the middle of it all a cold metal table, with Lizzie lying on it and next to the table stood a woman.
She looked like an Ascot matron. Maybe in her sixties, but her true age was concealed by a combination of cosmetics, a little glamour and a lot of Botox. She was short, a little thick around the waist, wearing an impeccable pale blue dress and elegant ash-blonde hair. Her knuckle-duster rings were probably worth more than my house.

‘Verity?’

I nodded.

She smiled. ‘You’re the reason she’s here, you know. I followed your scent – my, what a vintage you would have made when you were young! What wouldn’t I have done to take the tears from you? The wine tastes so much sweeter when it’s born of sorrow.’

‘You’re not eating them?’

‘No. If you take their tears you can’t use the meat. It’s too dry, tough. Really, it’s either wine or veal.’ She smiled.

‘Lizzie,’ I said. She didn’t stir. ‘Lizzie!’

‘She can’t hear you, dear. It’s a little sleeping spell until they go in the press. You don’t want panic; that sours things; but fear brings out the tears.’

‘Wake her,’ I said. ‘Wake her up and give her to me and we walk out of here. I tell no one about you.’

‘I knew your father – wonderful butcher. But rash, sloppy in his hunting.’

‘Bela Tepes knows I’m here,’ I lied. ‘You mess with me, you mess with him. You mess with him, you mess with the Weyrd Council.’

‘Two of my best customers are on the board, lovie,’ she said confidentially.

Brisneyland by Night – Part Five

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

My heart thumped. No. Wrong neighbourhood. Wrong kind of kid.

‘Have you checked the tree?’ Lizzie liked to hide in the hollow of the jacaranda tree in my backyard. She had comic books in sealed plastic bags, a blanket, a couple of dolls there. Her mother and I pretended we didn’t know about it – every kid needs a secret place.

‘First place I looked. Not with her friends either.’ She shook her head, trying not to cry. ‘I don’t want to overreact …’ she said, but I knew that’s exactly what she wanted to do, like any mother. She wanted to scream until her baby came back; she wanted to kill the person who’d caused her this tearing fear.

‘Did you see anyone? Any strange cars?’

She shakes her head, stops. ‘A big gold Mercedes drove past a couple of times when I was in the garden. But …’

‘Did you get a number plate? Any of it?

‘WKD1 – I noticed it coz it was weird.’

She had no idea how weird. ‘Call the cops, better to be safe than sorry. I’ll go for a drive,’ I said, eying the gypsy cab as it pulled up out the front of my place.

She nodded and the movement of her head was enough to spill the tears over. I pushed her away. ‘You’ve got my mobile – call if you hear anything.’

I climbed into the cab, wishing I’d had time for a call shower to at least trick me into feeling alert.

‘We’ve got a problem, Ziggi.’

‘Just one?’

‘Kid next door’s gone missing.’

‘You think …?’

‘Don’t know. Wrong suburb, wrong area, wrong kind of home, but who wants to risk it?’ I tried to catch my breath. ‘Got anyone who can check a licence plate for me?’

‘Of course, I got friends at Transport. Cost ya, though.’

‘It’s only money.’ I gave him the tag and waited, staring out the window while he made the call.

‘You’re not gonna be happy,’ Ziggi interrupted my thoughts and tugged hard on the wheel, turning us around sharply.

‘Won’t be the first time. Where are we going?’

‘Ascot. You said there wasn’t anything there.’

‘I said I couldn’t see anything. There’s overground and there’s underground, Ziggi. Burrows, cellars, caves, tunnels, larders. Aw, jeez.’

I leaned against the upholstery and closed my eyes, hoping the afternoon traffic wouldn’t bring us to a standstill.

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