Plugs

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

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

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

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

Archive for the ‘Brisneyland by Night’ Category

Brisneyland by Night – Part Four

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Most folk, Normal or Weyrd, are law-abiding. But there’s a market for everything: some tables demand the tenderest of flesh. It was a particular taste indulged in by the very few, a leftover from the past. Someone had to source and butcher that flesh.

Kinderfresser. All those fairytales and it turns out my father was the monster.

He got sloppy and didn’t take the hunt far enough from home. Grigor lasted precisely how long you think a child killer would in prison. The people he’d been supplying just faded into the background without trace, and the flow of child disappearances seemed to stop for a long, long time – at least, those connected to Brisneyland’s Weyrd.

Now, though, something was changing and there was a new product out there. Not child flesh, but something almost as bad. Wine made from children’s tears.

‘How many kids now?’ I asked.

‘About forty in the last few months.’

They were being sucked dry of all the tears they might ever cry, taking their ability to feel joy, compassion, pain, their ability to care, and ultimately their lives. Those tears were bottled and offered for sale very quietly by someone who disappeared too easily. All we had were stories from Weyrd who’d heard it from a friend of a friend – and a lot of missing children.

‘I’ll seek what I can find about that house,’ said Bella.

‘Houses generally don’t get registered under “super villain”.’

I was exhausted. I’d been awake for a long time.

‘Bela, I have to sleep. I’ve got nothing left.’

He nodded and rose, then he pushed me towards my bedroom. I lay down and felt him pulling my shoes off. There was a gentle kiss in the middle of my forehead and I thought I heard the front door snick shut, but wasn’t sure.

The knocking woke me. I felt sick and groggy. Swearing about Ziggi and drivers in general, I stumbled to the door.
There was a distinct lack of Ziggi. Lizzie’s mother stood there, pale and shaky against the late afternoon.

‘Mel. What?’ I managed. She looked at me with desperate hope and I just knew I was going to disappoint her.

‘Is Lizzie here? She said she was coming over to read with you.’

Little bugger.

Her voice rose, seeing my blank expression. ‘Is Lizzie here?!’

Brisneyland by Night – Part Three

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Ziggi dropped me home. I handed him a wad of the notes Bela had given me. Somehow it didn’t feel like my money. ‘Same time tonight.’

He nodded; drove off. I limped up the path. The jasmine was thick on the front fence, overpoweringly sweet.

‘Verity? Can you get my ball?’ Between the fence palings a small hand appeared.

I picked up the ball. ‘Birthday present?’

‘Uh-huh. But I like yours best.’ I’d given her a book of fairytales – the proper ones, where little children are eaten by wolves with no hope of rescue. Her mother had frowned, but Lizzie ate the stories up.

I dropped the ball over the fence.

‘Thanks, Verity. Can I come over?’

‘Not today, my friend. Maybe on the weekend.’

‘Mmmmm-huh.’

Inside, the hot air almost smothered me, so I quickly opened all the windows. The breeze did its thing and soon the place was bearable. I sat in one of the faded green chairs on the back deck and waited.

I stretched my leg out and rested it on the top of the table. I looked at the jacaranda tree in the backyard and nodded to the extremely fat kookaburra perched on one of its limbs. A movement caught at the edge of my vision.

‘It’s rude not to knock. It’s also rude to keep my house key since we broke up.’

Bela sat. ‘Someone might need to help you.’

‘Your kind of help, I can do without.’

‘And a big hello to you, too.’ He nodded at my leg. ‘Sore? I can fix it, you know.’

I touched his face. ‘Your price is too high.’

‘So, answers?’

‘Plenty of ideas. No answers.’

‘Why am I paying you?’

‘No idea.’ I told him about last night’s tour.

He sighed. ‘There hasn’t been activity like this since your father.’

I closed my eyes.

There’s a market for everything.

My mother was Normal and gone before I knew her. My father was Weyrd. For a long time I didn’t know there was a difference. The everyday things were salt in corners to soak up curses; bake blood into the bread to keep ghosts away; sweep towards your front door, chanting for wealth.

My father. Twenty years ago he was jailed as a kidnapper and killer, but that didn’t even begin to touch the skin of what he was.

Kinderfresser. Child-eater. Butcher to the Weyrd.

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