Anatoly Meliakoff was the greatest magician of his age. Crowds would flock from miles around to see him, trudge through mud and rain and snow to see him, and when a theatre booked him for a show word of his coming would race before him like fire until all the hotels were full and the whole town was ablaze with anticipation. They queued around the block to buy tickets before the theatre even opened, huddled inside their coats beneath woollen hats and scarves, stamped their feet to drive out the cold as the lucky ones ran from the box office like lottery winners, holding aloft bright orange tickets, waving them at the gleeful crowd before hurrying off into the wind or the rain or the whirling snow. He arrived out of nowhere. Just walked into Budapest one fierce summer noon, him and that dwarf of his, both of them dressed in bow tie and tails, dust on their shoes and sweat clouding their high, starched collars. He walked straight to the theatre and asked to be allowed to perform there that very evening, as though nothing could have seemed more natural.
They started renovating the Broadwell Steps on the day we met. The old steps had been as smooth as glass, and when it rained they were like ice. Eventually an old woman slipped and broke her hip. Turned out she was the mayor's aunt. I swear, less than a week later they were out there pouring concrete.
It was only once we were airborne that we learned that our pilot was a horse.
One day, long ago, when the Earth was younger and the heavens held fewer stars, the great god Ehu brought forth two sons. One he named Isham, and to him he gave dominion over the world of the living, and the other he named Azamat, and to him he gave dominion over the world of… Continue reading The Pélissier Scroll
A perfect globe, precious and fragile. The only one of its kind. Zoom out: crooked trees with leaves like wax, grasses little more than wires clinging to the ground. Zoom out: a rash of tin roofs overtaken by sand, only dust moving now in empty veins. Zoom out: an iron-hard land, baked and cracked by… Continue reading 100WC – Zoom Out
His body is cracked and bowed, his clothes stiff with dirt. His day is a doorway and an upturned cap, cans of cider, corrugated cardboard. His nights are darkness blotting like ink and the bitter howls of the ghosts of his past.
Joseph Monroe started building the sarcophagus on the day his father fell under a bus. “Fall under a bus?” he said, “No sir. A nice peaceful death, that’s what I want.” It took him six weeks, and when he’d finished he lay inside and announced that he’d remain there until his dying day. He fixed… Continue reading Body – SmallTales
The shadow that the sun prints on the parched sand is as sharp as pressed metal, and its edge creeps towards him like a curse. He huddles into the shrinking panel of shade. An hour until the second sun rises. Maybe less. He rubs the visor of the envirosuit and wishes again that it wasn’t… Continue reading Shade – SmallTales
I met Ed on a train. I jumped it outside San Isidro and there he was, bundled in the corner of one of the freight cars. Drink? he asked, like it was nothing, and offered up a bottle wrapped in brown paper. After that we rode the tracks together for a while – Pecos, Sonora,… Continue reading 100WC – Ed
In rags and lace the half-folk come, in velvet and in iron. On the year’s longest night the ancient kings shake free their bones, and the forgotten creatures pass from their world into this. From their standing stones and crossroads the hobs and fairies come, from their hills and holes the sidhe and the elves, all down deep into the long, cold barrow.