Title: B is for Broken
Author: Rhonda Parrish (editor)
Genre: Speculative Fiction (Horror, Science-Fiction and Fantasy)
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 ~
Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine since 2007 (which is like 30 years in internet time) and is the editor of several anthologies including (most recently) Fae and B is for Broken.
In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been in publications such as Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012) and Mythic Delirium.
Her website, updated weekly, is at http://www.rhondaparrish.com
C is for Change by C.S. MacCath:
“Wounded monk, what are you called?” the middle-aged woman asked me.
I returned from my inner darkness to find her watching me with amber eyes that had no shields. “Sama. Dareo.” I gave her my birth name and the name of my home monastery, now destroyed. “And you, my lady?”
She smiled at that, a wry twist of the lips for such a fragile face. “Henny says my old name has a bad taste, so I don’t speak it anymore. Call me anything you want.”
The clink and turn of the lift crank was audible now, and there was a trace of wood smoke on the air. I scratched the stubble of my shaven head, remembering her lice. “Naming is becoming,” I replied, equivocating. “What would you become?”
We passed through clouds. A heavy mist blanketed our clothes. The wood smoke was stronger now, intermingled with the smell of cooking food. We would struggle to feed our guests if the stores could not be made to stretch. Many monastics were already going without, offering their meals to the temple Vele and the Qandunar camped on the plateau. My stomach growled.
“Rain.” She brushed a drop of water from my brow. Her palm settled on my cheek, and for a moment, I felt whole as I had not in many months. “It washes everything clean.”
The lift rattled into its frame at the top of the mountain. A hawkish lieutenant straightened from his efforts at the crank. Sweat glistened on his rank and decorations—tattooed in elaborate glyphs across his scalp—the reason all Qandunar warriors shaved their heads. Newly promoted to second-in-command, adept at containing and wielding naré in battle, wounded defending his brothers and sisters in arms. I wondered where his blackened scars were hidden.
He helped the other passengers disembark and turned to Rain. A bead of saliva glistened in the corner of his mouth. “Meat for the pot!” He reached for the chicken with both hands. “You’ll be a popular woman tonight.”
“Henny isn’t food!” She flung out an arm and pushed the lieutenant away. “Leave her alone.”
“You don’t understand.” I slipped between them and sought the words to explain. “The chicken is—”
“She says the hard things.” Rain was balanced on the far edge of the lift now, feet wide, heels hanging in the air. “Please don’t make me defend her.”
The lieutenant crossed his arms and glared at me, gray eyes glinting. “Defend her?” He spat on the ground. “She serious?”
“She’s ill,” I said a second time and held out a hand to Rain, who ignored it. I had expected him to soften at that, but instead his features hardened into malice. There they are, I thought. The scars. Black as mine.
“Sick or not,” he sneered, “we run out of food up here, she’ll be speaking for herself.”
G is for Glass by Gary B. Phillips:
G is for Glass by Gary B. Phillips:
Adina was born a girl of glass.
She had not been the first child with such a strange birth defect. The doctors had run tests on the child after her birth and delivered the news with practiced, solemn faces. Her mother carefully pulled back layer after layer of blankets to reveal a small translucent blue body, spindling arms and legs, and clear blue eyes that shone like the sky after a February storm.
She watched the children across the field kicking a soccer ball. One of them tripped and came back up with a bloody knee and grass in his hair. He was smiling though. She could smell the wet grass, hear the sound of their laughter. She wanted so badly to taste it.
She envied other children, hated them even, as they skipped up and down the stairs, two-at-a-time, even three. Jumping the last half dozen stairs and falling at the bottom, their voices howling with laughter and pain. Broken arms, scraped legs, and bloody noses.
“You look angry,” Shamira said.
Adina’s felt flush in her cheeks. She wondered if they were tinting red.
“I want that,” Adina said, and she pointed to the children playing.
“I know, but that’s where you got that.” Shamira pointed to the chipped glass of her elbow. “And this.” Her fingers brushed against Adina’s brow, where the sliver of missing glass was almost invisible to the naked eye if you weren’t looking for it.
“Some lives come with a higher cost. That’s why I’m here. To help you.”
That was the thing about Shamira. She never made it sound as if she was being paid to be there. She always gave her answers as a friend.
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.