17 September 2018 ~ 4 Comments

DP FICTION #43B: “The Fisher in the Yellow Afternoon” by Michael Anthony Ashley

You feel an explosion and wake up face down on a rocky patch of dirt. A spurt of blood fills your mouth with iron and salt, and you push to your knees, gagging, but all that drools off of your lips is soil and leaves and a few bitter-tasting pine needles. You breathe and spit, but the blood taste is gone. It never was. You exhale relief as the panic fades with the dream.

You raise your face to a clear yellow sky and chilly air, the white sound of water rushing over you with a comfortable, misty breeze. It’s the smell of the park when the elk are bugling and camping means nights in flannel over canned spaghetti, and no problem with the cold because it makes the heat of the fire so incredibly perfect.

And you hear an enormous voice. “Is that a memory?”

You end your moment with the sky and lurch to your feet, backing away from the rocks and slick bracken along the river bank, which you realize is very close. And straddling the river with its hind-claws—its left fore-claw gripping the soil on the far bank and its right fore-claw stirring down in the white rush—is the bear.

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03 September 2018 ~ 3 Comments

DP FICTION #43A: “Glass in Frozen Time” by M.K. Hutchins

I freeze time. The frothing soap suds in the sink become glaciers. Dust motes hang in the air like stars. And I move.

I catch Sadie’s plate of mac n’ cheese before it splatters to the floor. While I’m there, I wipe down the table, fix Sadie’s pigtails, then — what the heck — I run downstairs and start a load of laundry.

Then I’m at the kitchen sink, water streaming, motes spinning, and Sadie’s three-year-old voice bubbling merrily on. “— I so happy to go to my Nana’s house!”

“Me too, sweet pea.” 

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16 July 2018 ~ 4 Comments

DP FICTION #41B: “Jesus and Dave” by Jennifer Lee Rossman

It had been just over a year since the second coming of Jesus and, like most atheists, I couldn’t say it had been a particularly good year for me.

Sure, the Lord’s first bit of business had included clearing up some of the more vague parts of the Bible, including some mistranslations and things his father had, in his words, “gotten wrong.” That put an end to a lot of bigotry.  The lack of world hunger and the new commandments about littering were incredible, of course, more positive change than I’d hoped to see in my lifetime.

But it’s just… having proof that my entire belief system (or lack thereof) was absolutely backwards, and having every holier-than-thou relative constantly sending passive-aggressive emails filled with selfies of them and His Holiness…

My fellow non-believers converted, and one even became a priest. I think I’m one of the few who refused to do so.

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02 July 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #41A: “Crimson Hour” by Jesse Sprague

on’t think. Don’t feel. Concentrate on the work. Berend sliced under the unicorn’s scarlet hide. He worked swiftly to skin the beast while the pelt remained a vivid red. For a short time at dawn and dusk, a unicorn glowed red, and only during those few minutes could a blade pierce the animal’s hide. Normally, animals came to his butcher shop gutted, but with a unicorn that wasn’t impossible. 

As he pulled the pelt back, he pondered the cuts that would come next. He’d have to remove the heart first—for the Hero.

Lined up on the stone table beside the unicorn, an array of tools waited. For now, the bone knife was all the job required. Berend’s hand paused under the unicorn’s jaw. The village shaman had already removed the horn, leaving a jagged circle of white bone. Around this circle and coating the muzzle was a thick splatter of human blood.

The blood of my only son.

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01 June 2018 ~ 12 Comments

DP FICTION #40A: “Tank!” by John Wiswell

The tank hates revolving doors. They’re paralyzed watching the doors whoosh by, trying to imagine anyone getting into the convention center through these things. The curb crumbles beneath the tank’s treads, and commuters honk for them to get their back-end out of the road. Two tweens sneak around the tank’s chassis, carrying a rack of brightly colored cosplay wigs, and slip into one of the revolving glass chambers.

“Be brave,” the tank tells themself.

The tank nudges their barrel inside, getting barely halfway in before the door clanks against their barrel. Instinctively they try to back up, rending steel frames and shattering glass everywhere.

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02 May 2018 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #39A: “The Efficacy of Tyromancy Over Reflective Scrying Methods in Prediction of Upcoming Misfortunes of Divination Colleagues, A Study by Cresivar Ibraxson, Associate Magus, Wintervale University” by Amanda Helms

MAGUS’S NOTE

My colleagues will note that in writing this paper I have not attempted to divide the research from myself, as can be noted here with my use of “I” and “my.” Unlike some individuals whom I will not name, I have never attempted to pass blame; I take full responsibility whenever it is deserved. Therefore, and because the use of the third person and passive speech loses the vibrancy and verve the subject of tyromancy deserves, I have elected to forgo the more pedantic and tedious tone such works more frequently employ.

CONSPECTUS

This report discusses whether tyromancy, divination using cheese, might be more effective and accurate in its predictions than the more popular methods of scrying through reflective surfaces, such as mirrors or bodies of water. Specifically, the report considers whether tyromancy is more effective at divining colleagues’ misfortunes. While the literature on tyromancy must be greatly expanded, this study’s results indicate that indeed, cheese might tell us more than the average crystal ball, mirror, or pool of water.

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16 April 2018 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #38B: “Her February Face” by Christie Yant

In her youth the doors to the shrine of Elena’s heart were wide open for all to see. Some kept their hearts in private spaces, secret and hidden, but not Elena. She kept hers in the front room, because what good is a bright heart if it can’t be shared? 

Every morning she polished the shrine, and dressed her heart with fresh flowers that filled the air with the scent of jasmine and violet. She hung small crystals that caught her heart’s light and refracted it into every color, filling the room with rainbows. 

On the wall above her heart Elena kept her collection of smiles. Smiles for celebrations, for sunrises and sunsets, for soft sheets and warm limbs, for surprise and wonder at her extraordinary good fortune. It was an impractical placement; it would make more sense to store them near her vanity, but she liked having them out where visitors could appreciate them and where she could select exactly the right one at the last minute, before she walked out the door.

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16 March 2018 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #37B: “Soft Clay” by Seth Chambers

I wander the Chicago streets unseen. I’m plain, drab, faceless. I’m a shadow drifting through the world of form. It isn’t all bad, being this way. I ghost into theaters and museums and concerts without paying. Guards see me bypass the lines and slip through the doors, but somehow I never quite register.

Being nobody has its perks but now I hunger to be somebody once again, to have a name again. To do this I must find the right man to follow. I wander the Chicago Loop looking for certain telltale signs of pain, longing, emptiness.

We live in a world of grief and so it doesn’t take long to find him. He carries himself with an undefined heaviness and peers through a fog of yesterdays. His emptiness drags me along.

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15 January 2018 ~ 4 Comments

DP FICTION #35B: “Brooklyn Fantasia” by Marcy Arlin

Griffin was an undocumented immigrant griffin from Cardiff, Wales. He lived with Bringer of Dreams, a semi-materialized entity from Albuquerque, and Fossil Leaf, an animate rock, on the first floor of a run-down salt box row house in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn.

Griffin had golden fur and an emerald beak and was extremely vain about his fingernails. Rumor had it that he had known Richard the Lion-Hearted, but since he had started the rumor, no one believed him.

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01 December 2017 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #34A: “Hakim Vs. the Sweater Curse” by Rachael K. Jones

For our one-year anniversary, my boyfriend Kit gives me a knobbly sweater knit in irregular rows of beige, dark beige, and light beige, studded with white yarn blobs shaped like aborted ponies. The left arm—clearly shorter than the right—is tourniqueted midway by red plastic gift ribbon knotted into a bad bow.

Everything but that arm gently undulates of its own volition like jellyfish tentacles, simultaneously guileless and sinister.

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