Issue #20 — Jul. 2, 2009

“The Land of Empty Shells,” by Caroline M. Yoachim

The rest of the birthing was hard work, but painless. Dziko and Terra sprinkled water over the clay to soften it and kneaded the flesh together until there was no way to separate his riverbed brown from her sunset orange. Then they divided the babyflesh into two equal pieces, soon to be their children.

“The Bone House,” by James Lecky

I like to carve. I like to sculpt. But the ironwood trees in the forest shatter even the finest blades. Father says that the war has changed them, that the magic of the battlemages has infected the land, and I have no cause to doubt him—he has been my educator and my window on the world. Bone is easier to shape.

Audio Fiction Podcast 017

“The Mansion of Bones,” by Richard Parks

Kenji began to chant. It might have been a passage from the Diamond Sutra; I was not pious enough to know one book of Buddhist scripture from another, but Kenji, despite his flaws, knew nearly all of them and could recite the appropriate passages at will. Which he was doing now. The shadow moved away from us toward the outbuilding as we stepped out onto the rear veranda, always keeping the structure to its back, or such I judged its back to be. It was hard to be certain with something so close to formless.

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