New: The Best of BCS, Year Two anthology now available
“The Tiger’s Turn,” by Richard Parks
On the face of the matter I had to agree. While the estate would technically belong to the Imperial Family, I had been assigned the position of steward–quite a handsome income. “Security is the greatest illusion of all, Kenji-san. As for my poverty, it was more of a problem when I was drinking. Don’t mistake me–I am not ungrateful. I am merely puzzled.”
“The Calendar of Saints,” by Kat Howard
“She wasn’t my opponent when I executed her.” I accept mortal commissions; I’ve killed before. Those deaths were honest. Magdalena’s was a waste, and my hands are filthy with it. With a casual nod, from a cleric who knew nothing about the sword-edge of truth, I have been made to feel like a heretic.
“A Spoonful of Salt,” by Nicole M. Taylor
Dr. Benjamin, he was running, running through the rain from one tent to another, trying to save his Story Eater and those pasty wax circles he’s spent so long collecting and, once, he looked up. Mala was sitting there on the top of the sea wall. She wasn’t wearing a rain slicker or even shoes and she was just looking at him like he was a rat, like he was a bug. Like he was something with too many eyes and too many legs and all she wanted to know was what ridiculous thing he was going to do next.
“The Judge’s Right Hand,” by J.S. Bangs
A Seraph approaches me with two brands, red?hot from the coals. The first is Adultery, and it blackens my right cheek. I bite my tongue to swallow the scream. The second is Death, and it sears my forehead. This time I do scream.
“Butterfly,” by Garth Upshaw, from BCS #78
Aidan’s color had worsened overnight, and one of his ears had sloughed off, replaced by shiny grey scar tissue. His eyes were the only part of him still fresh and wonderful. He smiled at me when he woke and saw me examining him. “Morning.” He coughed and spit a tooth into his palm. “Sorry.”
I didn’t have to ask whom he meant, but it seemed that Daiki, in this one regard, was not going to get his wish. The bushi produced two flea-bitten, scruffy men. Both were bruised and bloody but alive. Two more were not. Daiki kicked the body so that it rolled face up and studied the dead man’s features. “It would seem the bandit has escaped me after all.”