Rated R: contains a weapon smarter than average, and more purposeful.
Restless In My Hand
by Tim Pratt
“It is an axe, Mr. Selfry,” the man said. He produced a prybar — from where, Richard wasn’t sure — and, with a great squealing and popping of nails, pried the lid off the crate. Richard left the safety of the doorway and went out onto the porch just as the man set the lid aside. Peering into the crate, Richard saw only darkness, as if the box were full of ink, but then something glinted silver, and — as if his eyes were adjusting to a moonlit night, instead of midafternoon sun — he saw the great silver crescent of an axehead, nestled among styrofoam packing peanuts that were, inexplicably, black instead of white. It was a double-bladed axe, with a long three-sided pyramidal spike emerging from the top.
“Workmanship,” the man said approvingly. “Look at the blood-gutters on that spike. It’s not as if the spike was ever likely to be used for stabbing, but the smith allowed for the possibility. Truly, they were giants on the earth in those days.”
“I don’t understand,” Richard said. “This thing is a family heirloom? From Great Grandma Melody? It doesn’t even look old.”
About the Author
Tim Pratt is the author of over twenty novels, including Heirs of Grace and forthcoming space opera The Wrong Stars. His short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Year’s Best Fantasy, The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, and other nice places. He’s a Hugo Award winner, and has been a finalist for World Fantasy, Sturgeon, Stoker, Mythopoeic, and Nebula Awards, among others. He lives in Berkeley CA and works as a senior editor at Locus, a trade magazine devoted to science fiction and fantasy publishing. For more than two years he’s been publishing a new story every month for supporters at patreon.com/timpratt. That’s where “Six Jobs” first appeared.
About the Narrator
Steve Anderson has narrated stories for all three Escape Artists podcasts (including a Parsec Award-winning story for PseudoPod). He narrates audiobooks and produces online videos out of a home studio at SGAcreative.com, and he writes and performs live history programs on tour at GreatTalesLive.com