“My Father’s Wounds,” by Ferrett Steinmetz
I tear the robe open. Father’s belly’s a ruin–but he has been, as he is in all things, strangely exacting. I press in with my fingers, feeling the wound’s edges; mercifully, they don’t go up underneath the ribs. No, he’s slashed his intestines with expert precision–a deadly but slow wound. Plenty of time before swollen guts and poisoned blood will take his life.
“Bone Diamond,” by Michael John Grist
“Shh,” I whisper. I lift my bone shears and disconnect his left clavicle at the articular process, snap it at the foramen. He is screaming but I do not hear it. The smooth shank of bone sucks out of the trembling meat of his back, and I hold it up to the gathering dawn light. There, buried in the center, is a diamond, blazing a deep and furious red at its heart.
“Ink and Blood,” by Marko Kloos, from BCS #74
Wilhelm doesn’t know what he will say to her if he catches up. He isn’t even sure that he will try to speak to her again. All he knows as he makes his way across the busy market square is that he wants to keep her in his sight just a little while longer, because her smile made him feel like someone other than pudgy Wilhelm from the paper store. He knows that once she slips away, life will become boring and ordinary once more.
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.