First appeared in Penumbra Magazine in August 2014.
It’s still days and miles away, but I can feel the heat radiating off its coils all the same. I think, maybe, it’ll be okay when I get there.
Anaea Lay lives in Seattle, Washington where she sells Real Estate under a different name, writes, cooks, plays board games, takes gratuitous walks, runs the Strange Horizons podcast, and plots to take over the world. Her work has appeared in a variety of places including Lightspeed, Apex, Escape Pod, and Nightmare.
He carried the squirming animal to his – no, their, he had to remember that now, their – bedroom, struggling to avoid her sharp teeth. The oversized ring he had given her glimmered on her left front leg; she had spent most of the evening biting and licking at it, when she had not been growling. He had ordered the musicians to play louder, to cover up the noise, but the growls still lingered in his ears.
When he reached the room, he secured her chain to one end of the bed, and sat gingerly at the other end. The waxing moonlight flooded the bed, giving a silver sheen to her red and snowy fur.
“When you are a woman, I can remove the chain,” he told the fox.
The fox barked.
“I swear it,” he said.
Mari Ness has published close to 100 short and flash fiction stories in various publications including Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Daily Science Fiction, and Apex. Her experimental novella, Through Immortal Shadows Singing, is forthcoming from Papaveria Press. She blogs at Tor.com, where she has, amongst other things, compared Disney animated films to their text sources. She lives in central Florida.
Rish Outfield. Not much can be said about Mr. Outfield that hasn’t been said by the average parent to scare their children into behaving, into going to sleep, or keeping their mouths shut about what they saw take place in the woodshed. You will find him regularly at The Dunesteef podcast, which he produces with Big Anklevich, and you can hear him pretty much everywhere in the genre story pod-o-sphere. And for good reason!
He stood in front of the machine that made clothes and fretted. He already had a fur suit, a carpet suit, and a brick suit. Everyone had a water suit; it was practically cliche.
Last week he’d had a Pop-Tart suit for a lark. That had been popular, but he couldn’t go back to that well so soon. Anyway, it smacked too much of the bacon suit fad from last year. He’d had to shower for an hour to get un-sticky afterward.
He’d even done a suit suit, which had helped keep his reputation for the sartorial avant-garde.
Harriet, their aging basset hound, shuffled into the bedroom and plopped down beside him. He looked at Harriet and pursed his lips.
The Brindletom woke after Erdi had already finished her eggs and was on her second cup of coffee. He swung down from his nest in the rafters and slid along the ropes to the table. Erdi pushed the plate of bacon toward him.
“I had a dream last night,” he piped, plucking a bacon strip up with his clever forepaws and gnawing on it.
“Do tell,” Erdi said, somewhat blearily. She was considering a third cup of coffee.
“I dreamed that I was a man accursed, trapped in a hideous mannikin body, and bound to a cruel sorceress who had promised to help me, to return me to my place and my true form, but upon whose pleasure I must wait and serve in the interim. I dreamed that my servitude would have no end, for I was sworn to her unto death and she would live forever.”