Featuring new cover art: “Kaybor Gate” by Alex Ries.

The Use and the Need

Besides the hat, however, the thing wore no real clothes, so the circular stamp reading VULCAN IRON WORKS—WILKES-BARRE, PENNA. was perfectly visible on its boiler-like torso next to a W.C.T.U. badge. Below, a chain-link skirt preserved some amount of modesty, swaying and rattling awkwardly around its legs with every awkward step. Its thick metal arms were jointed and riveted, and it gripped a formidable hatchet in its clenched and rigid hands.

Celestial Venom

Unlike street performances Senjam had witnessed, the charmer did not wave his pungi from side to side as he blew.  Neither did the cobra sway.  With eyes fixed on the old man, its only movement was an occasional flicking of the tongue.  As Senjam watched, the charmer’s left hand blurred out and seized the snake behind the head.  He thrust the creature into a wicker basket and placed a lid over it, all the while continuing to play with his other hand.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Use and the Need

Podcast: Download (Duration: 23:33 — 21.56MB)
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From three blocks away, Tom Brown could hear the big bass drum from the Women's Christian Temperance Union band as they thundered down Second Avenue.
From the Archives:
Walking Still
The Shiner Man’s covered wagon walked across the desert on six metal legs.