Tag: Contemporary fantasy

The Spiteful Witch Fairies of Bayonne, New Jersey by Audacia Ray

What’s that saying? Hell hath no fury like a doña de fuera whose Tumblr has been deleted?

Feral is pissed off. She slouches morosely in the shade of a poorly maintained boxwood shrub. She absentmindedly stretches and contracts her claws in the dirt while she scrolls on her phone, pressing and double-tapping on the touch screen so hard that her pointer finger drums a soft, angry rhythm on the glass. She’d been preparing for this moment since Tumblr announced two weeks ago that they were banning sexual content starting December 17. There was some cruel commentary embedded in that message: dear sex workers and NSFW weirdos, on the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, you will cease to exist on our platform. So long, and thanks for all the clicks.  

Ogres Among Us by Shelly Jones

Rose always admired the ogre’s house with its symmetrical shutters and tidy porch, swept clean even in the autumn when dry, curling leaves scuttled in the wind. Some neighbors’ porches were full of bric-a-brac, odds and ends that found no place within the house: an old, threadbare chair, a snow shovel despite a spring thaw. But the ogre’s house was immaculate, everything just so. Often, Rose stood in her dining room window staring across the street at the ogre’s house, sipping her morning coffee or clipping a final hair-roller in place before bed.  Its white pillars and low railing bolstered her dreams, and Rose would sometimes wake up, her pillowcases soaked in sweat, her body aching for the serenity of that porch.

Fury by Harvey Molloy

When Shaun gets home, he opens a cold one—and one for his flatmate Connor if he feels generous—then checks his updates on Instagram and Twitter.  At work he hides his phone in his backpack. Keep the good screen time for home. Well, that’s the plan. But since the start of the month he been checking the phone every half hour and when he’s not coding or reading work emails or at a meeting he’s hunched over his phone or thinking about tweets and posts. He even dreams Instagram dreams.

This evening he comes home, showers, and slumps onto a lounge chair, phone in hand. Here’s a photo of Chava, Auckland’s newly-elected youngest ever councillor, outside one of the flagship pharmacies piloting a safe drug zero-waste scheme, smiling as she holds a carton of almost expired paracetamol. Why let this drug go to waste because the companies made surplus drugs after the last pandemic wave? The new scheme will collect surplus drugs and donated food as part of the ongoing rebuild project.

Work Ethic by Jennifer Walker

“Don’t exaggerate,” her mother snapped when Sarah phoned about her new boss at the Bureau of Land Management. “I’m sure he’s only a demon from the horde. The Apocalypse’s been hard on everyone. Just be glad you have job security.”

Sarah wasn’t surprised. Even with the world in flames her mother had to focus on her career. Still, she tried to protest her boss was, undeniably, the Beast of Revelation, but she was interrupted by a horrifying scream from somewhere very close to her mother before the line went dead. A minute later her mother texted: dead rising at B’Nai Abraham, grandma not looking too good, call you back.

The Timekeeper by Chelsea Thornton

The hour struck midnight. Everyone in the sleepy town of Everstead could hear the chimes and gongs and bells of clocks. They all resonated from the same gloomy, eldritch manor at the west outskirts of the borough. The residents had heard stories about its solitary inhabitant. The legend went that Horatio Ward had one day awoke to the deafening toll of an enigmatic, hidden clock that only he could hear. It never ceased and pushed him to the brink of madness. His manor was now full of an omnium gatherum of clocks as he searched far and wide for the one that incessantly drove him out of his mind.

None of the townsfolk wanted anything to do with Horatio Ward or his clocks. The haunting sounds of time that drifted over their homes at each hour were enough of a reminder. However, there was one man daring enough to venture to the timekeeper’s manor.

There and Not There by C.J. Dotson

We all read the stories when we were little, didn’t we? A bunch of children go into a wardrobe, or through a tiny door that’s only bricked over sometimes, or find a secret key, go down a rabbit hole, cross a bridge, fall into a book, vanish. Then there’s magic, and adventure, and villains for the children to test themselves against. At the end they come back and no time has passed, no one realized they were gone.

It’s bullshit.