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An Apple a Day

An Apple a Day By Harmony Melbourne Patti May and Clarence gathered segments of Master Archer’s hazelnut, ribbed tail and lifted it onto their work-weary shoulders. Golden sunlight shimmered between the branches of a three hundred-year old oak tree in the front yard, stroking the skin on Patti May’s nape and painting delightful leaf pictures on her arm. She glanced at Clarence, peeking between black bangs in sore need of a trim. The muscles on his back strained against the weight of the heaviest portion of Master Archer’s tail. Dark, sweaty marks stained the tattered blue tank top he...

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The Game at Mortis Field

The Game at Mortis Field by Daniel Algara It was already the ninth inning when Buster hit the double, driving in a run to tie the game. We hated ninth inning ties. We’d rather just start the game over and switch up the teams, but the game has to be finished at the Fields. Sal had somehow ended up at third base, and with the entire left side of his face gone he didn’t have the eye necessary for fielding anything towards the shortstop side. “Booooo,” we all cried in unison. “E-five!” Buster shouted when he got to second base. Even he wasn’t happy about Sal’s error. I pulled my fibula free and clanked it against my tibia. It made a cool hollow sound that carried throughout the field and out into the blackness all around us. Next up was Vin, who looked very much like a living boy, except for when he turned his back to you. He had fallen from a one-story balcony and landed on a rock that cracked his skull open leaving a four-inch crevasse where his brains bulged out like a fleshy, pink shrimp cocktail served in a split sea urchin. Dave, who didn’t have any skin above the waist, was pitching. He had already thrown two strikes on Vin when the new kid came. The new kid looked about our age, older than...

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The Guardian

Guardian By Julius Vagdal   The orbital lighter shuddered as it entered the atmosphere. Outside the clear steel windows the sky slowly changed from the black of space to the clear blue of a spring afternoon. Banking sharply on approach the ship set down at the LaGuardia spaceport. A stream of people emerged from the passenger tunnel jostling each other as they made their way through the terminal. Uninterested in fighting the crowd, a man in a crisp blue and scarlet uniform waited for the press to thin-out before following. Tall and straight-backed, he moved with a slight hitch in his step. The pink of freshly healing scars marred his face. Small duffle bag slung over one shoulder, the Guardian-sergeant exited the terminal. Smiling, he closed his eyes, took in a deep breath. Thank God for fresh unfiltered, non-recycled air, he thought, as he delighted in the taste and smell of it. It’s good to be home again. He moved away from the sliding glass doors. “No thanks,” he said, waving away the driver of the aircab. He pondered his options, and settled on a ground taxi. The gentle motions of the cab let him relax. His thoughts drifted back to Avalon. Disjointed images and feelings flooded his mind; running from cover to cover, rocket assisted projectiles shrieking by only to explode against something— or someone, followed by the...

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The Knack

The Knack by Anthony Bell “En guard!” Freeze the frame here: black, chaotic hair falling over a sweaty forehead and wild eyes; mouth open wide; the J.R.R. Tolkien symbol at the end of a necklace that swings free of his shirt; and veins prominent in his neck—that’s my best friend, Donald. Ben shrieks and jumps back, losing his balance. He manages to bring up his stick to block the blow. A sharp crack! echoes among the forest. Donald’s advancing feet kick up dry leaves and he darts to the side of Ben, who trips over a tree root while turning. His eating habits have prepared him for such moments, however, and I was sure he barely felt the fall, insulated as he is. Another shriek escapes him as Donald’s stick smacks his thigh as he rolls to his feet. “Ah ha!” Donald says. I imagine Triumph nearly popping over his head in bubble letters. “And where are your loyal friends now, sir Fudgecakes? Hmmm; tell me, do you wish to apologize for your jeering at the court earlier, or suffer the consequences?” He raises his stick over his head with both hands, and I imagine the ideal piece of music that would play if this were a scene in a movie. Ben pulls his shirt down over his exposed belly. His other arm is shaking while he holds his...

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Legacy by Gerry Huntman   “You realize, don’t you, that stealing me is going to get you in a great deal of trouble with the Council of Elders.” Kalen tersely replied, “I see no issue ‘ere, Tomaz, since when I finish this task, I’ll be dead.” “Then why did you speak the Sacred Words?” the bronze Autómatos asked. “What point is there in forcing me to follow you on this trek?” Kalen ceased walking, considering whether to reply or not. “You know the southern lands better than me and you’re memory spans generations. I need you to help me find what I’m after.” Kalen recommenced trudging along the overgrown path, chopping away at the thicker weeds that penetrated the ancient merchant road with one hand, holding his war spear on his shoulder with the other. Tomaz shrugged his bronze shoulders, accompanied by the faint whir of cogwheels and squeak of hinges, and dutifully followed. They walked the abandoned road for a few more hours without speaking. Tomaz could sense Kalen wasn’t in the mood to talk and saw little point in starting a conversation. He observed that the old warrior was tiring, a sensation he hadn’t felt for nearly thirty years—since his living heart was transferred into the Autómatos—when he became the Autómatos. Kalen found a suitable clearing on a grassy knoll, and set camp. Tomaz stood nearby, appearing...

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