From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

DAY_BOY-Fantasy-Magazine (4)




Ghost Riders at Hutchinson’s Two-Pump

Clouds rolled across the evening sky, dark and low, dragging rain behind them. Desert washes ran dirt-red, and rocky mesas shone wet when lightning flashed. Rainwater frothed down the narrow slot of Sheep Drop Ravine, a chasm with overgrown edges that had claimed the lives of countless sheep and antelope, and of the entire “Handsome Jake” Jubles Gang as it had fled, on a similar night, from a posse of enraged Winslow, Arizona citizens.


The Failing Name

The oval fruit, uneven on all sides even when it’s ripe, is not just for eating. Spaces in the dust roads filled with reddish-brown wind are what she sees in her lost childhood. Jolainne wants to tell you, to tell anyone who’ll listen, of hiding in the leaves of a mango tree, witnessing what could have been the onset of an assault.


I Would

I had only one defense against a woman who knew me. “Fine.” I layered venom into my voice, to make her think it a hard-won concession yet again. “I’ll prophecy for you.” Queen Iroda stood alone by the parapet, a dark silhouette against the mountains. The scant light caught the gold embroidery on her robe and the perfect braids of red and silver that draped down her chest like chains.


A Softness of the Heart

Aunt Violet had been sick for a long time before she died. The doctor said cancer, but Louise’s Aunt Sinna said it was a soft heart. Louise was inclined to agree, knowing little of this cancer business. Anyway, Aunt Sinna never, ever lied.


A Gift from the Queen of Faerie to the King of Hell

The designs weren’t in the window or in any of the shop’s sample books, but I caught sight of the tattoo artist tracing stencils onto transfer paper. I’d been looking for a place to finish my sleeves, and though the tumbling spike-thorn roses weren’t what I’d pictured, I could see them winding between my birds and beasts, viny tendrils and jagged rocks, the buds tempting and lush, the thorns sharp and deadly.


Your Ticket to Hell

Your journey to Hell begins on a ferry. You clutch your ticket and line up in the stinging rain, waiting for your chance to board. You remember something about a river in Hell, and a ferryman, but in your memory, he rowed a boat more like a canoe in exchange for gold coins. You’re lined up to board a ship, a modern ship, the kind that might take you to an island.


By Our Own Hands

On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, David Lev descends into the library, flouting both Jewish law and university regulations. The building is closed, and he is supposed to be praying, or at least meditating thoughtfully on the wrongs he has committed over the past year, not committing new ones. This is an unfamiliar scale of sin for David, a rabbinical student whose usual Yom Kippur regrets are things like only skimmed a reading and said he’d read it or should call his mother more often. Breaking and entering, not to mention violating the most sacred day of the year, are new ones for him.


The Sweetest Source

The sound they’ve all been waiting for finally comes at night. It’s a melting pot of noise ingredients: howls and claps, cries and stomps. Laughter and shrieks are sprinkled in like cayenne powder. It isn’t long before the sound crescendos, the pot overboiling with a furor that calls hearts and stomachs. Deron scrambles to the window, momentarily forgetting his tablet and the buggy application he’s been working on.


How I Became MegaPunch, Or, Why I Stayed with Dylan

I wake up at midnight for the third time this week. Some villain’s robbing a jewellery store. Can’t they get more creative? Maybe try . . . a high-end winter coat store? Or a candy store? Doesn’t make much sense economically, but that’s never stopped a supervillain before. Me? I’m MegaPunch. Just one of your many overworked, panda-eyed superheroes.


The Woman With No Face

Ankuin knew she was in a sim by the mineral taste in her mouth. The other tells were more subtle: the fractal pattern of moss on the cave wall, the cyclical rhythm of the rain on wet fronds, and the lyrical birdsong piercing through the dense forest. Most people wouldn’t notice such details, because most people didn’t have a reason to doubt their senses. But Ankuin’s senses were never fully her own.