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 more than 20 novels, most recently the Axiom space opera trilogy. His multiverse adventure novel Doors of Sleep, beginning a new series, is out in January 2021. He’s a Hugo Award winner for short fiction, and has been a finalist for Nebula, World Fantasy, Sturgeon, Mythopoeic, Stoker, and other awards. He tweets incessantly (@timpratt) and publishes a new story every month for patrons at www.patreon.com/timpratt.
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