“The Witch’s Second,” by Marissa Lingen
Lillian countered by flinging a particular spelled spice blend about her. I couldn’t tell what it was supposed to do, other than make me want roast chicken for luncheon, but Lord Benderskeith fell to his knees. Lillian took advantage of his moment of weakness to reach for some of the fermented entrails. But Lord Benderskeith rallied astonishingly, summoning an ugly little imp to wreak havoc with Lillian’s work.
“The Angel Azrael Rode Into the Town of Burnt Church on a Dead Horse,” by Peter Darbyshire
When he was done killing another glass, he dragged the demons’ bodies out of the saloon into the street for the buzzards circling overhead. They’d eat anything. There were a few more people standing in the doorways of other buildings now. He couldn’t tell if they were ghosts or not. He didn’t have an eye for that sort of thing.
“My Father’s Wounds,” by Ferrett Steinmetz, from BCS #75
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.
But experience had taught me that dissertations on magical systems are incredibly dull for all save the oblivious nincompoop who actually believes anyone wants to listen. No, when people ask you what you ‘do’, all they really want is a snappy line or two they can repeat over dinner later. Well, to hell with that.