The Best of BCS, Year Two anthology now available
“Hence the King from Kagehana, Pt. II,” by Michael Anthony Ashley
They all had to die. That was the right thing, Saga knew for certain, so he buried his fingers into the mound and found the fuse. He yanked it free, unraveling hand over hand, clearing it of fetid earth and inspecting it for rot and wear as he went. When he held a full thirty sticks’ worth, he laid straight the line and prepared the flint and replotted his escape route, upwind so the little things couldn’t smell him when they came.
“The Red Cord,” by Wren Wallis
Ordinary catastrophe. Is there such a creature? All catastrophe feels extraordinary to the one caught in its tide. It is no comfort to the ones whose fortunes I read, to say to them, This thing is ordinary, this thing that will happen to you.
“To the Gods of Time and Engines, a Gift,” by Dean Wells, from BCS #80
Cecily grabbed a shard from the mirror, traced an unsteady line along the flesh of her wrist. Scars and metal piercings adorned her arms where she’d cut herself before. “They demand the spilling of blood,” Granduncle would always say, when he bothered to notice her at all. “They envy us, you see, and covet the iron flowing freely in our veins.”
A heavy pressure struck Imre about the head–the air itself drumming his ears–even as his blade impossibly passed through Ariosa’s shape without slowing. No impact. No blood. Instead she blurred and before his eyes faded into the air, a ghostly mist. He swore as he caught his footing, just an instant before Ariosa reappeared with a hammer-fisted blow that jarred Imre to the spleen. Vesti met hymn with a crack and Imre’s battle-scarred blade exploded in a cloud of black and copper pieces.