“The Mathematics of Faith,” by Jonathan Wood
The final scenes leave me breathless. The priestess’s condition enters its final stages, and, though she hammers at the portals of her sealed chambers, no-one comes to her aid. The artist responsible for the narrative cuts his scenes faster and faster, becoming more and more metaphorical. We see her eyes tighten in pain; a shot of the two birds, both young and old, silhouetted against a gas flame; the woman’s hand clenching her bed sheets; the gas flame flickers; the woman’s hand relaxes; the young canary sitting alone on its perch, its older companion nowhere in sight.
“Of Shifting Skin and Certainty,” by Justin Howe
Such is our addiction. Living formless is its own refuge—our skin-shifting a means of escape, to always have a new identity waiting in the tank for when the one we wear becomes overly tiresome and persistent. But the King no longer wearies of change, and has but one face now to show the world. And though it resembles candle wax, it remains. “That is my difference,” he says.
“The Alchemist’s Feather,” by Erin Cashier, from BCS #25
“A splinter.” Maria holds it out to show me. I make a motion to take it from her with my remaining whole hand, and she nods. The splinter is long enough to be one of my absent fingers, and it takes two tries to pull it free. A drop of blood wells up in its path. “My mother used to kiss my cuts.” She stares at her own blood idly, remembering home or food or what I do not know.