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January 06, 2015
is a sneak peek at the cover of issue #12 and the stories inside.
Download your free copy by right-clicking on the image to the left and
saving the link.
by Zoe McAuley
The woods were silent, devoid even of bird-calls. Three cars had been
parked in the clearing. Two remained untouched, but the third lay near
the trackway, partly smashed against a tree and tilted into a small
ditch. Two swerving furrows in the gravel led up to its resting place.
The roof was partly torn away, while a spray of blood crusted upon the
remaining shards of the windscreen.
The little squad halted at Fiona's quick gesture. Dartgun drawn,
Fiona approached the car alone. It stank of blood and worse. She didn't
need to get close to see inside. Both the front seats were soaked a
deep red. In the driver's seat, some ragged remnants of a person
remained, caught up in the steering wheel. A pair of men's shoes and
feet still rested on the pedals. The passenger door hung open, a
crumpled mess, with a smear of blood and offal leading a few metres
towards the woods and ending in a splatter of gnawed and scattered
bones. Fiona felt her skin crawl and her stomach rise. She popped out
another pill, dry-swallowing this one before returning to the squad.
The newest of the medics looked green.
by Aaron Polson
crossed the gravel road and worked down the slope toward the black
surface. He hesitated at the edge of the high grass, but waded further.
It caught and scratched his jeans, whispering foul things as he fought
until it was nearly waist high. His left foot stepped on something hard
like a branch. He reached down and touched it. He paused, heart
What the hell was he doing?
He listened to the sound of the wind, his beating heart, the
distant hum of a semitrailer on the highway two miles to the west. He
closed his eyes. Branches clacked together overhead like the pencils in
Libby’s box. The sound folded around him. He blinked and scanned the
distance, following the black line of trees where the barbed wire broke
Greenwillow’s spell, and he saw them.
Shapes moved over the moonlight-washed grass.
They moved toward him and the pond.
by Charles Ebert
“Listen, Lenny, what you’re doing, now; you just can’t walk away from it. It’s not that easy.”
“What are you talking about, Vic?” she said, inching toward
him. “I’m doing what I’ve always done: data entry, order
“It’s not what you’re doing. It’s who you’re doing it for.”
“You got me that job.” She waved a finger in his face.
“Yes, and for your own safety, I’m telling you not to quit.”
Lenny turned away from him, trying to comprehend what he was
saying. This sort of thing happened, of course. There were
unscrupulous people in the sleepworking industry, people who were ready
to exploit their unconscious laborers for illegal purposes. Such
abuses had been fairly common ten years ago, when the drugs hit the
market. But nowadays those people were easy to avoid.
Surely Vic wasn’t stupid enough to get her involved with criminals?
THE SIEGE OF OSRIC
by Benjamin Sperduto
nothing threatening through the haze of pounding rain, Serafima
motioned for the others to follow her down from the rubble. She
splashed into the street and trudged through the knee-deep water
towards a large stone building that appeared to be intact. Halfway
across the street, she tripped on something beneath the water and
nearly fell. The hidden obstruction gave slightly when her foot struck
It was too light to be a chunk of rubble. Most likely another body weighed down by armor.
After pointing out the obstacle to the exhausted man behind her,
Serafima forced the building’s splintered door open with a shove.
Inside the water was just as deep, but she at least had cover from the
rain for the first time that day.
by Anselmo J. Alliegro
the time came Larkin sat at the café with Lawrence and waited for Dr.
Grimm. He finally appeared, crossing the street and occasionally
looking over his shoulder. Bursts of colored neon faded on the somber
“I think I’m being followed,” whispered Dr. Grimm, holding a pocket PC tightly against his chest.
“Who could possibly be following you?” asked Larkin.
Dr. Grimm took a seat without answering.
Lawrence glanced at Larkin with concern. He observed Dr. Grimm
and inquired, “What did you find at the Health Department?”
“Information on vital statistics. It shows the rate of cloning is
increasing. And now with the nano-scan, and the promise of preserving
the mind …. Yet nothing indicates the population is rising so quickly,”
disclosed Dr. Grimm.
Lawrence leaned back, raised his brows, and warned, “An increase in biomass leads to competition … extinction.”
by Mike Driver
The mound of material was about a foot high, loose and crumpled,
grey, a bit like the cladding material we’d seen tamped into the
rafters. I moved closer but there was something about the shape that
set me on edge. I didn’t like the way the ripples and textures seemed
to move under the torch light, or that I couldn’t help imagining a
grotesque face peering out at me from the folds.
wanted to snatch away that top cover and make the image disappear but I
was filled with trepidation as I reached out my hand to touch the
coarse textured cloth. Then, almost imperceptibly, the top sheet
shifted. A crease that had been clearly evident a moment earlier was
gone and a different one, like a crescent smile, had now formed in its
place. I drew my hand away and watched the sheet intently. Perhaps it
had been a trick of the light, but as I watched it happened again, the
cloth shifting and moving softly in the beam of light. There was
something moving around under there.
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