Cover & Excerpt
Edited by Rhonda Parrish
The Alphabet Anthologies Book Two
Broken people, broken promises, broken dreams, and broken objects are just some of the ways these 26 fantastic stories interpret the theme of ‘Broken’. From science fiction to fantasy, horror to superheroes the stories within these pages cover a vast swath of the genres under the speculative fiction umbrella.
Featuring original fiction by:
Brittany Warman ~ Milo James Fowler ~ C.S. MacCath ~ Sara Cleto ~ Samantha Kymmell-Harvey ~ Megan Arkenberg ~ Gary B. Phillips ~ Alexandra Seidel ~ Jonathan C. Parrish ~ Simon Kewin ~ Beth Cato ~ Cory Cone ~ Cindy James ~ Alexis A. Hunter ~ Michael M. Jones ~ Steve Bornstein ~ BD Wilson ~ Michael Kellar ~ Damien Angelica Walters ~ Marge Simon ~ Michael Fosburg ~ Suzanne van Rooyen ~ L.S. Johnson ~ Pete Aldin ~ Gabrielle Harbowy ~ Lilah Wild & KV Taylor.
Genre: Sci Fi/Fantasy/HorrorPurchase link(s): Amazon ARe Smashwords Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Anthology, Magic, Fairy tales, Space, Space ships, Dreams, Post-apocalyptic, Robots, Mythology & more
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Poise and Pen Publishing
Excerpt & More on each story
A is for… by Brittany Warman
I do not sleep now. Instead, I stand outside and I too watch the skies. The glowing lights shine over the ice most nights here: red, blue, yellow, but mostly green. It snakes through the air like the vines of my old rose bushes, twisting and pulsing with something unknown. Auroras are always moving, shimmering behind the stars, fading and reappearing yet I remain here, still, a dying rose on the snow.
B is for… by Milo James Fowler
C is for… by C.S. MacCath
“What would a skinny boy like you know about them mutated cats? You ever even seen one?” Andro interrupted again, his voice cracking over the questions. The gelding whinnied and shied.
This was authority—and shame—I possessed in abundance, and they could only be wielded together. With a shrug, the heavy sleeves of my robe fell to the sash at my waist. Andro twitched his hands in prayer, and a few in the crowd cried out, but the middle-aged woman spread her fingers and traced the trenches of blackened scar across my chest from shoulder to hip.
“Muto Vele claws are sharp,” she murmured, her touch warm and unflinching. “They cut through everything... like a folded blade.” Her gaze followed the sheer face of the mountain into the low-hanging clouds. “We might not be safe up there.”
She swallowed hard and kissed the comb of the chicken’s head once, twice, her breath coming in short gasps. “Henny says there was blood and flesh, bits of my people in the waterfall for days. Henny says...” Her body curled around the bird’s, and her eyes unfocused. “I’m the one who should be in the waterfall.”
Reflexively, I slipped into the flow of impermanence and gathered the metamorphoses all around me; the brightening of the sky, the growth of algae in the pool, the digestion of my food and Alalleah’s. The power of change rose in me like well water in a spring shower, and I transmuted it from a collection of disparate elements into a single mosaic of energy. This I gave to Rain as a monk might bless the good will of any laywoman, a trickle into a cup not trained to receive or make skillful use of it.
D is for… by Sara Cleto
No. Warmth might mean love, but it also meant blackened eyes, bruises under long sleeves, a voice hoarse from crying—she’d learned this lesson faithfully along with her letters and multiplication tables at her parents’ kitchen table. Better to be snow, better not to feel at all.
She yanked her hand away, willing coolness, willing ice. Diamonds sprang from her knuckles, circled her fingers like rings.
E is for… by Samantha Kymmell-Harvey
F is for… by Megan Arkenberg
The whole ship has taken on the wet, loamy stink of the unmaintained filtration forest.
And this one has another, sharper edge—ash, creosote, melted grease. The Reno’s forest had smelled like a chemical spill. The Sacramento’s stinks of fire.
I sit cross-legged on the steel floor, cradling my terrible cappuccino in both hands, and breath in the smell that I can hardly name to myself, even after all these weeks: the smell of Madeline’s death.
G is for… by Gary B. Phillips
Even at six Adina knew her life was fake. She had been made in some strange, fake way and existed in a state somewhere between liquid and solid, always in suspended animation, never able to reach any point for herself.
She had heard rumors about other children of failed experiments. Most of them were thrown away. Those that were not formed small communities, under bridges, tent cities, at the edges of civilization. The children in her neighborhood traded stories about them, whispered words on fall winds. Freak. Monster. Alien. She wondered if there was another glass child. A glass boy, perhaps.
H is for… by Alexandra Seidel
I is for… by Jonathan C. Parrish
J is for… by Simon Kewin
Floors twisted round to become walls. Rooms intersected at random angles, as if the ship’s designer had been insane.
None of it looked like any warship he’d ever seen. None of it looked like anything he’d ever seen.
Weird shadows leaped around in his peripheral vision, the crazy angles of the walls throwing up phantoms. He ignored them and carried on. He was used to seeing ghosts in the shadowy corners of spaceships. His mind playing tricks on him.
K is for… by Beth Cato
L is for… by Cory Cone
I was born eviscerated.
“Close your eyes,” the doctor had said to my mother. “You don’t want to see this.”
I was declared dead before the umbilical cord was severed, and to those in the room that seemed the terrible reality; little baby me was all but inside out, my organs on display like some grotesque medical illustration. But just after he had made his grim declaration, my body sucked the organs back in, slurped them up like one does a bowl of ramen noodles.
And that’s when my mother began to scream.
M is for… by Cindy James
N is for… by Alexis A. Hunter
O is for… by Michael M. Jones
The Theatre of Dreams stands alone, small and unimposing against its surroundings. It’s located on the outskirts of the Gaslight District, Puxhill’s oldest and strangest community, set back a little ways from the road itself. Save for a small sign, you’d never know what the building truly was. There is no ticket booth; you cannot call ahead or pre-order here. There are no prices listed; entrance is paid with innocence and secrets, whispers and hopes. There are no hours posted; either you know when performances are, or you do not. The Theatre is not listed in any newspapers, trade magazines, or travel guides. It does not advertise. It doesn’t need to.
It’s Friday night, and the marquee reads, “Juliet Sinclair, appearing irregularly.” No other explanation is needed. She is the star. She is the Dreamer.
P is for… by Steve Bornstein
A-One thought, for the first time, that perhaps waging total war on the humans might not have been a good idea after all.
Q is for… by BD Wilson
The heat in the pits was like the arena fivefold. Bairn stalked through the training rings, dodging the occasional thrown fighter, until he found who he was looking for.
“No you idiot, you move like that and he’ll take your head off.” Finley’s arm was still in a sling, but he was imposing as ever. The trainee looked contrite, and then froze as he caught sight of Bairn.
Finley turned, and his scowl shifted to that damned grin. “Speaking of idiots, you’re one to be down here.”
They settled in a corner as the students worked on drills. Finley looked worn, the bags under his eyes stark against his too pale skin. He winced as he sat, and adjusted the sling.
“Should I have killed you?” Bairn asked.
He stood at the edge of the track defenses, and rubbed his hand over the mask’s eye plates, straining to see. A downward slope in the ground sent the caustic water cascading over the edge of a large chasm that tore the ground apart in front of him. It stretched on for kilometers and Bairn couldn’t see the other side. If it resembled this one, then the wall of the chasm was too steep to scale without climbing equipment. He hadn’t thought to include any.
The only way across was the bridge for the train.
Bairn sank into a crouch, and let the rain flow over him. He felt himself sinking into the sludge-like dirt as he slowed his breath and waited.
R is for… by Michael Kellar
S is for… by Damien Angelica Walters
Here is the bookstore where we spent many Sunday afternoons. You told me you loved me for the first time in the science fiction and fantasy section. (I waited a few days before I said the words back because I was worried you’d think I was simply echoing yours and that I didn’t mean them. I did then and I still do. I hope you remember that.)
I remember you once got a phone call that filled your eyes with storm clouds and you left the bookstore so fast you forgot to say goodbye. I’d like to say it was then, after I watched the news, when I first started to worry I’d been wrong about you but I think that came later.
T is for… by Marge Simon and Michael Fosburg
U is for… by Suzanne Van Rooyen
A leg, harpooned at the ankle, danced in the breeze from the air vents, spinning a macabre pirouette, beside it a headless torso with hooks through the shoulders jiggled double Ds. Victoria pressed the button on the remote and the rails creaked into motion. Above her, the bodies dangled like grotesque marionettes as the rotation commenced.
V is for… by L.S. Johnson
The door opens.
Citizen Durand steps onto the porch, his whole body shuddering. He breathes deeply, over and over, gulping down the air. He has lost his coat and waistcoat, and his white shirt has a rust-colored spray across the front.
He clutches his sword in his hand, the blade dark and glistening, and for a moment Arianne can only stare in shock. All her vague ideas, all her blurted words, have come back to her as blood.
“Maman,” she whispers. “Oh my poor Maman…”
Between the vines is a smeary drawing of what appears to be a man’s silhouette, the edges disappearing and reappearing between the green tendrils, the whole almost familiar.
Her mother’s lover. He’s here at last.
Arianne takes a step without realizing, and another. The image seems to beckon to her. Her lips part, her body shudders, and she finds herself reaching for a hand that isn’t there and yet, perhaps, in the shadows—?
Her fingertips touch the smudged wall and it is as soft and warm as Théodore’s kiss, and she feels certain that she can go into the wall, and what lies beyond is wondrous.
W is for… by Pete Aldin
X is for… by Gabrielle Harbowy
For three nights Azrid slept with the gold coin under her pillow in her little hollowed-out room at the top of her family’s home tree, imbuing the coin with her wish. Wishes were secret things, so she didn’t worry that she might have to share it, but she had heard from her older sister’s friends—and they knew everything!—that if someone found your wishing coin before you gave it to the wish-granters, they could put it under their pillow and their dreams would show them what you planned to wish for. That didn’t sound entirely leaf-green to Azrid, but all the girls had sworn to it, so she wasn’t ready to just assume it wasn’t true. She couldn’t ask her parents, either, because grownups stopped climbing down the home tree to the forest floor when they lost their tails; anything they could tell her about the wish-granters would be, like, a dozen tree-rings out of date.
On the fourth day, coin clutched in her hand, Azrid made the downward climb. She had no path picked out, so she simply clambered over the side of one of the sturdy rope walkways that connected the treetop village together, and made her way from bridge to branch to branch, all the way down toward the ground.
Y is for… by Lilah Wild
The outlaw pulled up in a flash of sculpted metal. His leather jacket was a wild mosaic of pins and patches, intricate with embroidery and the memento mori of tiny grinning skulls.
He had come to steal her away.
Z is for… by KV Taylor
Bonus "A is …" by Damien Angelica Walters
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