Ten is one of those round numbers that, thanks to the usual human configuration of fingers as well as our dependence on the base ten numbering system, people like. It’s a sort of satisfying number. Two whole hands’ worth. Or feet’s worth. We’ve put together what we think is a satisfying set of stories and poems. A vampire, a merman, wooing through science, creepy children, fairy tales of all kinds… more than a handful, more than two handfuls, a whole mindful of imagery and imagination.
Night Games by Aeryn Rudel – Randall Simmons only plays night games. As he steps into the right-handed box and taps his bat on the plate, he reminds me why. His smile, aimed directly at the pitcher’s mound, is wide and predatory.
An Alphabet Of Science I Wasn’t Sure Existed By Briane Pagel – A is alpha particles; I’ve heard of them somewhere. Bbegins bacteria, so you will know I care. Cis carbon, like dioxide D’s decay rate, and why I hide.
What the Dollhouse Said by Karen Bovenmyer – The first time I see Eleanor, she gets on the bus with uneven pigtails and a faded dress. Don’t sit by me, new girl, I think. Don’t sit by me. Billy pokes me in the back of the head with a pencil, tries to make me cry, but he sees her quick. Coyote boys always find something vulnerable and trembling, and she probably knows that, because she sits right behind the driver.
Until It Is Over by M. M. Pryor – The white doctors clatter into Suma’s village every Saturday in a dust-smeared van. They bring cures, pills and sticks, and leave condoms and glossy pamphlets in their wake. Mama doesn’t believe in their magic, but she has been wrong before, so she takes Suma to the doctors one Saturday, just after her tenth birthday.
Rohrschach Redemption By J.M. Sidorova – She shifts her weight from one leg to another. That symbol, Death, is stamped across the forehead of her reflection, again. She heaves a sigh.
The Dictator’s Daughter by Tony Quick – Ursula stands at the window and her fingers brush the twisted knot of barely healed flesh at her throat. She watches the protestors outside the Presidential mansion. Men and women, even children, clamor behind a spray painted yellow line. Two golems stand on the opposite side, each twelve feet high, clockwork arms forward, ready to fire should anyone cross the line.
Suspicious Self-reflection by Timothy Kay – For an extra fee, I get the chance to look myself in the eyes before I die. It’s a premium service the clinic keeps quiet about, but I’m already paying them so much for the experimental procedure of downloading my physical brain into a computer, the extra charge hardly matters.
Korlonian Spiderweb by LM Alder – Nothing was working. No matter which way I tried to move the wings, no matter which propellers I attempted to use, the ship would not move.
Abductee 103. Northern Virginia. Partial Transcript.by Stephen Scott Whitaker – The windows purred white fire. Like an animal of fire had stepped through the glass
Android Flowerpot by JD DeHart – The smooth pottery surface melded with the less-than-gentle
Hostel Bed by Mark Petrie – You springy son of a bitch you don’t even fit the box
Jennifer Ruth Jackson
Colony of Copper -His copper skin scoured shiny By eons of desert sands
Fairytale Murder Attempts – Spindle prick unsuccessful
The Kappa Comes – Cherry blossom snowflakes Breeze into the lake
After Dark Llorona by Christine Swint – She will swoop from the clouds in a white gown edged in antique lace
Miracle by Brit Graham – A star unfurls in a womb, blowing bubbly in embryonic fluid