There’s fire all around and too much smoke to really see, but habits are habits, and Sam Yamato’s body has done this dozens of times. It’s not that he’s not hopped-up on adrenaline and terror. It’s that he is used to being hopped-up on adrenaline and terror.Continue reading
“The good witch, Mariah, comely and wise…” The bard stood in front of the fire with his arms wide, like he wasn’t in front of a mere seven people, two of them slaves who didn’t have a choice. It was the first line of a Mariah story, and Mariah herself was going to have to sit through the gods-be-damned thing.
Mariah had slept the night in an actual bed. The owner of the bed—baker? armourer?—had offered it to her in gratitude to the great and mighty sorceress (witch, actually) and saviour of his cousin’s… something something? She’d stopped paying attention and started praying to Dionysus that there would be wine. When they got there and there was wine, she felt justified that she’d stopped listening to the story about his uncle. In celebration, she’d also invited him to join her in the bed, but neither his wife nor her curse would let her. For the hundredth time that day, she swore at the witch who’d put it on her, this curse of “justice.”
Another messenger. From another village. With another monster they needed her to kill. And she didn’t have a fucking choice. Mariah stared into the camp fire, took a bite out of her lump of cheese.
The messenger was just a boy this time, smooth-faced, high-voiced. He sat off to her right and a little further from the fire.
Adjunct Professor Zhang’s final exam began as any would, except that one of her students was from thirty-two years in the future.
NB: This story is based entirely on the fact that “invigilator” is an extremely gnarly name for a very tame job. Enjoy.
The Invigilator sat facing a wall, eyes closed, watching every move in the pub behind her. In a place like that, there were plenty of eyes to look through, although the drunk ones made it harder. She had been on this particular case for two days, and there was a deadline. A certain valuable tome had been stolen from a certain Departmental office—she had not been told which office because the Faculty protect their own from outside scrutiny while viciously punishing incompetence internally—and her job was to retrieve it. The Faculty had made it known that missing the deadline would not be tolerated, so she was starting to be concerned. The intolerance of the Faculty could result in death.
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He lead me down the alley with the promise of a kiss. Not the most romantic spot. My hands were shaking. I hoped he would assume it was excitement. It was raining. His hands were firm on the sides of my head. His lips were cold. Afterwards, he pulled back and smiled. I’d never actually seen a wolfish grin before, but this one was. It was predatory. That’s when he opened his mouth, dug his nails into my cheeks, and sunk his fangs into my neck.
Don’t get too close! He’ll see us.
Devon turned to look over his shoulder. The street was empty. Of course it was. There’s not a lot of people out a 5am. Street lamps, store fronts, and whole lot of pavement. He kept walking.
What was that? said another voice. The first one had been cold, but the second was sharp, anxious.
Nothing! He’s an idiot. It’s fine.
This story started as a tweet, and I decided to expand it:
Once the Power has awoken, its Shadow will whisper in your ear forever. Only the ascetic way of the Pon-Ju warrior will keep it at bay. But, you must also learn to fight with a plasma-blade to battle those who have surrendered to the Shadow… #SCIFIFRI
— Orion (he/him/his) (@OrionKidder) March 9, 2018