The Best of BCS, Year Two anthology now available
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“The Ivy-Smothered Palisade,” by Mike Allen
A flare of illumination washed the chamber in flickering shadow and gleam. I’d gone through another door, into a different room, longer and wider than the one I knew. Runes were scratched on every visible inch of walls, ceiling and floor. Repeated phrases: Death feeds life. Life breeds death. Death breathes. Tall and heavy armoires slithering with gold filigree lined both sides of this horrid space, most with their doors open, spilling out once-beautiful gowns now molded and rotting, reminding me of molted skins.
“Pridecraft,” by Christian K. Martinez
I was sagging, listing in pain, by the time I could see Rattle and the crew. They were waiting on the Eight-B platform, near the engine console. The Eight-B line had a rust-and-people smell that mingled into a peculiar musk. I imagined the stench of Hail’s blood and body beneath the usual platform scents. From Rattle’s face, I knew she didn’t have to.
“Bearslayer and the Black Knight,” by Tom Crosshill, from BCS #92
They clashed in Bear Forest, and the trees sighed around them. Unarmed, dressed only in shadow, they explored each other with sore fingers and hungry eyes. The enchantments of battle cast aside, they were two men of flesh and bone–no taller than any others and no stronger.
“Thieves of Silence,” by Holly Phillips, from BCS #21
The song became a chant, slow and rhythmic as a sleeping heart. The dance wove together three women, then four, then one alone with steel in her hand. Zel dreamed on her feet, free of pain, comfortable with the prospect of death. Two of the sisters went away into the darkness beyond the ring of fire. When they returned, they bore a white ghost between them. A white-feathered ghost with yellow eyes that burned brighter than the flames.