From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Fiction

The Invisibles

Here’s what you do, Jerry says. You get one of those little pipe tobacco tins and you put stuff in it. Important stuff. A fingernail. Some hair. A scab. Some dirt from a special place.

The Invisibles by Charles de Lint

Unnatural Disaster

Horizontal rain, darkness, and a nearly empty beach. Jaclyn Tadero trudged through the thick wet sand, listening to the ocean’s waves crash beside her. The Coast Guard helicopter flew overhead.

Absolute Zero

It sat on a tree stump the way neighborhood men sat on bar stools, surrounded by a cavalry of thin, burned trees. Max almost recognized this nightmare place as Digby Forest, a festering infection of wild land on the edge of Cripple Creek.

The Secret Beach

Though I’m the kind of person who uses the self-checkout line at grocery stores just to avoid the necessity of small conversation with a human cashier, I blurted out, “Hey, where were you guys swimming?”

The Secret Beach by Tim Pratt

Three Damnations: A Fugue

I woke naked in the garden. Nothing grew there—not even weeds. Just withered stalks that looked ages old. Maybe dating back to when things were still okay. The darkness was beginning to brighten. I always came to, just before dawn.

The Nymph’s Child

She’d sail off the edge of the world with him. She very nearly had, that time through the Iron Teeth. This was simply another journey, and it would be over soon. Rope around her neck, a moment of fear, then nothing.

Using It and Losing It

Pratt walked the distance to work, stopped in at his accustomed cigar store to buy cigarettes, and rode the elevator upstairs to his office; in short, his standard routine, without deviation—yet it didn’t feel right.

Using It and Losing It by Jonathan Lethem

Lessons from a Clockwork Queen

She pulled back the sheets and found the little hole in the queen’s throat where the winding key fit like a kiss, and she turned and turned the key until her shoulders ached and she couldn’t turn it anymore.

Lessons from a Clockwork Queen by Megan Arkenberg

The Edge of the World

The Edge of the World lay beyond the railroad tracks. The streets were narrow here, the sideyards crammed with broken trucks, rusted out buses, even yachts up in cradles with stoven-in sides.

Crossroads

John came to the crossroads at just shy of noon, where a man dressed all in black stared up at another man hanging from a gallows-tree. No, not hanging; he was being hung.

Crossroads by Laura Anne Gilman