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.

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

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.

Archive for the ‘Women’s Battle College Isle of Skye’ Category

Dana Takes a Dare

Monday, October 11th, 2010

The Women’s Battle College didn’t have nine days of chariot races, law-giving, marriage-sanctioning, and mead-drinking on Samhain. They had a special dinner instead, and contests all afternoon.

The students had their own custom: they dared someone to walk nine times around the standing stone on the headland at midnight. They said Skye herself would come and grant a favor.

Dana took the dare.

Nobody came with her. She swished through the long dead grass, wondering how they would know she’d really done it. At least it wasn’t raining, for once; the moon rode the wind.

The stone made her nervous even in daylight. It always seemed about to turn, grating on its axis, to have a look at who had come to visit.

Nine times around, counterclockwise; then she stood and waited, feeling cold and foolish.

“You’re up late, Yamamoto,” said a pleasant voice from behind her.  Dana squeaked.

It was Dr Eire, the headmistress, who laughed kindly, saying, “so much for back awareness.”

Dana ducked her head. “Yeah.”

“It’s all right. I’m supposed to be that good,” grinned the headmistress. “Come sit.”

Dana followed her.

“Mead,” offered the headmistress, passing her flask. Dana took it.

“Thank you, Dr Eire,” she said. “Am I in trouble?”

The headmistress looked out over the bay.

“I suppose you ought to be,” she said. “But I generally come here on Samhain, to see who took the dare this year.”

She paused.

“Supernatural beings grant favors at a price. Students never seem to remember that. Still, now that you’re here, did you have something in mind? If I can grant it, I will—at a price.”

It was good mead. Dana passed the flask back.

“I’m such a terrible student, and now I’m benched for a couple of months with this broken wrist. I just want to do better.”

Dr Eire turned, but Dana couldn’t see her face, angled into darkness.

“You’re not a terrible student,” she said. “Your coming to this headland proves rather that you are a determined one. The trick will be for you to see that yourself.”

Dr Eire helped Dana up. The headmistress stopped at the stone and poured some mead at its foot.

“And the price?” Asked Dana as they went down the hill.

Dr Eire chuckled.

“Don’t tell anyone what happened,” she said.

“Fair enough,” Dana grinned.

General Yamamoto Softens

Friday, May 28th, 2010

When Women’s Battle College went on Candlemas break, Dana Yamamoto went home to Japan. She took the Orient Express to the hydrofoil from Vladivostok, caught the Kyoto Limited, then shouldered her pack and walked through the blossoming streets to her mother’s high wooden house. When she entered the courtyard, the General chided her.

“I would have sent a chair,” she said.

“I know, Mother.”

“Well: welcome back,” said the General.

They sat in the spring silence and drank tea, looking out at the rock garden; Dana saw that her mother had raked it into a new pattern.

“What do you see in the sand, Mother?” Dana asked suddenly.

Her mother took a sip of tea, set down her cup, fastened her eyes on a river rock near the center of the waves of stone.

“Lives I could have saved,” General Yamamoto replied. “Wheels that turned too quickly.”

Dana put out a hand and found that her mother’s arm was living bone clothed in flesh, warm to the touch; somehow she had expected river stone.

“Mother!” She said. “I am studying with Dr Fujiwara. I will learn to save the lives, to slow the wheels.”

General Yamamoto looked at her with the kindest eyes Dana had ever seen in her mother, and did not tell Dana that she too had studied hard for the same end.

Instead she said, “I know, Daughter.”

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