Head of the Class

by Raven Corinn Carluk


Master found me on the streets when I was five, offered to train me as an assassin. I was starving, weakened, waiting to be snatched up by the pedos.

What other prospect did I have?

By seven, I surpassed the other orphans my age. By ten, no one could beat my times on the obstacle course. By twelve, I was given a puppy to assist in my final training.

What could possibly hold me back?

At fourteen, Master said I was ready for missions, if I passed my last test: kill my dog.

What could I do without a master?


Raven Corinn Carluk

Raven Corinn Carluk is an indie author of dark fantasy, paranormal romance, and whatever other dark themes catch her interest. Find updates about her and enjoy free reads at RavenCorinnCarluk.Blogspot.Com


Tali’s Future

by Susanne Thomas


Heralds pronounced the fate of the world at Tali’s birth.

The crown took instant action. Powers greater than theirs protected the child from murder.

But they isolated her and starved her to stunt both growth and strength.

And Tali grew up weak and small.

But when there was a momentary crisis in the castle after the queen’s hunting accident, Tali found herself alone long enough to slip her skeletal body through a gopher hole that the gardener had forgotten.

And Tali foraged and thrived, alone and angry. Until finally she had gained enough strength to return and fulfill her destiny.


Susanne Thomas

Susanne Thomas reads, writes, parents, and teaches from the windy west in Wyoming, and she loves fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction, poetry, children’s books, science, coffee, and puns.  



A Deal is a Deal

by Crystal L. Kirkham


Tonight, they celebrated her granddaughter’s sixteenth birthday. An adult by the standards of the ancients. Now, the river spirit demanded its sacrifice for the deal that Marie had made.

“Annalise?” Marie’s voice cracked with emotion. “Can you fetch some water?”

“Of course.”

Marie watched her leave before calling to her granddaughter. “Let’s go inside.”

Neither of them needed to hear the screams. Her granddaughter may be an adult, but Marie would watch over her and her daughters after her. She’d protect them all until they came of age and their mother had to be sacrificed so Marie could live on.


Crystal L. Kirkham

Crystal L. Kirkham resides in rural Alberta. She’s an avid outdoors person, unrepentant coffee addict, part-time foodie, servant to a feline, and companion canines. She’s a multi-genre speculative fiction writer who believes in following the story where it takes her.  

Find out more on her and her work at www.crystallkirkham.com


The Ancestor Stone

by Joel R. Hunt


Becoming a man had been harder in my grandfather’s youth, or so he delighted in telling me. The Sacred Forest was wild and overgrown. A boy needed to battle dangerous beasts, avoid poisonous plants, ascend the Ancestor Stone and carve off a piece to present to the tribe.

Only then would he become a man.

Now, the path was well trodden, the beasts tame, the flora dying. My forefathers had braved a treacherous journey so that mine would be safe.

I was grateful.

Until I came to the centre of the forest.

There was no Ancestor Stone left to carve.


Joel R. Hunt

Joel R Hunt is a writer from the UK who dabbles in the darker aspects of life, particularly through horror, science fiction and the supernatural.
He has been published in a number of short story anthologies and hopes to have released his own anthology later this year.


Turning Thirteen

by William J. Joel


Today was the day, and Tiffany could barely contain herself. She was thirteen and knew what that meant. But not her parents, last night.

“But I’ll be thirteen!” she cried. “It’s a really big day!”

“So?” said her Dad. “Big deal.”

Her parents had smiled, wished her good night and left her room. Parents could be so stupid.

But her thoughts were interrupted by her Dad wheeling a large box into her room. On it was printed, “Your First Android Body.”

Yes, today was the day she’d leave her computer home and finally get a body for her AI mind.


William J. Joel

All things are connected. That’s the premise of what William J. Joel does. Each of Mr. Joel’s interests informs each other. Mr. Joel has been teaching computer science since 1983 and has been a writer even longer. His works have appeared in Angels, Common Ground Review, DASH Literary Journal, and The Blend.



The Monster in the Bed

by Aiki Flinthart


Each night it comes for her body, her soul, her perfect youth. Each night the pillow gathers her tears, her screams, her pain; hides the knife she’s too afraid to use.

Each day its face is kind. A good father, they all say. Good man.

Can’t they see the broken soul in her eyes?

Then comes a night marked by absence. By the murmur of voices in her younger sister’s room. A muffled scream.

She vomits relief and self-disgust to the cold floor. She hangs her head.

The captured rage of years erupts.

Knife in hand, she stalks next door.


Aiki Flinthart

Aiki has had short stories shortlisted in the Aurealis awards and top-8 listed in the USA Writers of the Future competition, as well as published in various anthologies and e-mags. She has 11 published spec fic novels and has edited 2 short story anthologies. She regularly gives workshops on writing fight scenes at conventions. Lives in Brisbane. Does martial arts, archery, knife throwing and lute-playing. www.aikiflinthart.com


First Job

by Adam S. Furman


Today’s the first day of my career.

I drop my equipment and scramble to set up.  It’s hard, finding a paying job.  Damn near impossible with AI taking everything from trade and manufacturing to finance and retail.  Traditional entertainment is all but repetitive.  Stories and music have all been done ad nauseam.

Few jobs can earn you a living wage in this competitive market of robots and automatons.  Thank God for the Internet and streaming.  I set up my tripod and hop onto my bed.   I unzip my pants and remove my clothes.

Today’s the first day of my career.


Adam S. Furman

Adam S. Furman lives in rural Illinois with his family which includes a lot of kids (like…a lot). He generally writes science fiction.

Readers can connect with him on twitter @AdamSFurman.



by Freddy Iryss


My brothers and sisters always tease me. I can’t swim as fast as they do though, my little legs never pushing as hard as theirs through the water. It comes at no surprise that I am the last one to leave home. When I do, I proudly pull myself out of the wet hole with my new arms, ready to join the others. I can’t see them but I follow their calls from the nearby forest. As I crawl and hop with glee across the grass, I don’t see the raven above me until its beak closes around my neck.


Freddy Iryss

Freddy Iryss writes fiction and non-fiction, prose and poetry. Her short fiction work has been published in journals, magazines and anthologies. She is also the author of a monograph on Aboriginal Art. Iryss speculates about different perspectives from within the Anthropocene, which includes particularly animals, aliens, and androids.

Blog: freddyiryss.blogspot.com/


Amor Fati

by Charlotte O’Farrell


Trevor arrived at the group’s HQ shaking, arms and face bruised from the car crash. In the distance, he heard sirens as first responders tended to the casualties he’d caused.

A week on from his eighteenth birthday, and he was done with running. If he carried on trying to chase a normal life he couldn’t have, he’d just bring more chaos.

No more hiding.

The assembled crowds of hooded figures turned to him as he entered their lair.

“I’m ready to embrace my role,” he told them, voice shaking.

They bowed down.

“All hail the Antichrist!” they chanted as one.


Charlotte O’Farrell

Charlotte O’Farrell is a horror writer and lifelong horror fan. She writes daily flash fiction on Twitter and Facebook and her stories have appeared in several anthologies and magazines.

She lives in Nottingham, UK with her husband, daughter and cat.


Spreading My Wings

by Annie Percik


I have been waiting so long. The hour at last approaches when I can take my place amongst the celestial host. They have watched me grow and waited to welcome me into their ranks. They smile, opening their arms and their hearts to me, unaware of my true nature. Their innocence will be their undoing. Their radiance sickens me, stifling the dark violence lurking within my breast. Once I hold my rightful place, I can unleash it and extinguish their holy light.

The time is upon me. The moment I have been awaiting. I spread inky wings and take flight.


Annie Percik

Annie Percik lives in London with her husband, Dave, where she is revising her first novel, whilst working as a University Complaints Officer.  She writes a blog about writing and posts short fiction on her website (www.alobear.co.uk).  She also publishes a photo-story blog, recording the adventures of her teddy bear (https://aloysius-bear.dreamwidth.org/).  He is much more popular online than she is.  She likes to run away from zombies in her spare time.