Shimmer‘s 15th issue is now available. Hooray!
Catch glimpses of what lives beyond death in this issue’s seven haunting stories, brilliantly illustrated by Sandro Castelli, Anderson Cabral, Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein, and Bill Stoneham.
“There is a particular mood to the magazine, like you’re walking alone along a foggy road at midnight with only the sound of your breath echoing against the mist.” –-Beth Cato, on Issue 14
At just under 100 pages, the print edition is slim and sturdy enough to carry with you to read anywhere. Shimmer’s one of the best-looking magazines out there: glossy covers, lovely illustrations, and perfect-bound (just like a paperback book). Or get the electronic edition if you prefer to read in DRM-free digital form (your choice of PDF, Mobi, or ePub). Just click the button below.
Keep reading for the Table of Contents and tantalizing excerpts of the stories!
Table of Contents
The Undertaker’s Son, by Nicole M. Taylor
The girl on the stairs had two blue ribbons in her red hair. Albert asked if it hurt, because he could see the Y-shaped cut and the stitches down her chest when she bent over to crawl up the stairs. She said it didn’t, but they always said that. She touched the pale stitches wonderingly, like she couldn’t imagine where they’d come from. Albert thought ghosts must be awfully stupid.
She climbed up and up and up with her hands grasping, on to the carpet to steady herself. He watched until she got to the upper landing and drew herself up, smiled once with childlike triumph, and then was gone.
It was funny, sometimes, the things that were so important to them.
What Fireworks, by Dustin Monk
The island has a name — this island of beasts; this island of jeweled whalebone and corn husks; this island of floating vesicles of pulsating lights and flesh that lies northward of heaven, where the Lady of the Moon-As-Carapace belches hilarious alphabets at a corner bar all night; this island that flakes and crumbles and fades in milk-pale fog, where night heat trembles along your veins, burning and glowing effervescently, and the song of locusts mashes the beauty of your heart.
The island has a name. I don’t know what it is.
I do know.
It is one long word, the longest word in the world, and it will take all of your breaths from your very first until your last to speak it, and even then you will not have finished.
Signal Jamming, by Oliver Buckram
It is with immense regret that I must inform you that prisoner M. Q. Bukka has escaped from his Penal Cubicle and is currently at large somewhere on the ship. I take full responsibility for this unforgivable failure. I shall not rest until I have apprehended this dangerous anti-social, thereby erasing the stain on my otherwise impeccable service record.
I have initiated Lockdown Condition, shutting down all travel between decks. Therefore, you must remain on the wardenial deck until Bukka is in custody.
Third Vice-captain Glotz
Warden Hoffman, you miserable clown:
What made you think you could keep Bukka behind bars? Your ridiculous broken-down prison ship is no place for a man of his caliber. Certainly not with a loser like you in charge.
Please accept my resignation as your chief of security. I have decided to devote more time to my first love, watching pornography alone in my quarters. Care to join me, sweetie?
Affectionately, Third Vice-Captain Glotz (aka Li’l Dangler)
Harrowing Emily, by Megan Arkenberg
“It’s like no matter how much I shower,” Emily says, “I can’t get the smell of grave dust out of my hair.” She stands in the bedroom door, wrapped in a burgundy bath towel, and all I can smell is her soap and banana-scented shampoo.
“I wonder if Persephone feels this way after she claws her way out of hell.” She towels her hair brutally and leaves it as it falls, small blonde spikes sticking up at her temple and behind her ears, a crown of colorless thorns. With one hand pinning her wrap across her breasts, she rummages through the closet, settles on a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans, and slips back into the bathroom to change.
She never used to be shy about changing in front of me. And she never used to talk about gods.
The Bird Country, by K. M. Ferebee
Childer killed the boy in the night, quietly, on the bed’s Egyptian cotton sheets. On sheets as white as the sun lining the back of the Nile, he knelt atop the boy, knees on either side of his chest, and held a pillow over the boy’s face until he ceased to breathe. Childer had to check, afterwards, the breath. He checked it with a hand mirror: the Victorian way. If some small exhalation smeared the glass, then Childer would have to cover the face again. It felt sullied the second time around, profane. The path from death to life should be direct and steady. There shouldn’t be any detours along the way.
The boy’s name was Finn, and he was fair-haired. Sixteen years old. Childer had taken him out for a walk in the woods. The fields fallow this close to winter, stripped of their hay. Fin’s breath came in pale coiled bursts against the frosted air. In the warm molting color of autumn his hair seemed light, his skin translucent. Hewore a woolen scarf. His family were Irish, and it was in his manner of speaking, his long soft vowels as he said, “In the old day, of course, people knew what winter meant. Not just a season, but the killing season. When the light and heat go out of things. How do we know we’ll get them back? That’s a lot of Christian faith, right there.
A Cellar of Terrible Things, by Mari Ness
The bones, the kin, the swords and knives, all of these have been removed from the cellar, burned or sold or dragged out to the woods for the dying leaves and rain to consume them. But the blood: that was not so easy to remove, and so it remains. As do the scrapes and nicks across the wall, the place where one knife dug into the skin and bone so ouroughly that it left a long hole in the stone behind it. Soft stone, to be sure — this is a land of limestone and soft work, not the hard basalts and granites of the other lands — but stone that still holds a small pool of blood.
Neraka uses the cellar to store potatoes and other things dug from the earth. She tells herself she does not believe in ghosts. The trouble is the ghosts believe in her.
Soulless in His Sight, by Milo James Fowler
Father always knows best, he knowed it when I was born and he knows it now as he takes his hatchet to this man’s skull to break it open like an egg and let the brains run out all gooey and grey like porridge and smelly like the insides of a cat. This man he came tearing down our street on a motorbike making all manner of ruckus in the early morning light, juking his way around all them brokendown cars in the road and the rotting dead folks inside them, but we keep all the windows up so’s we don’t have to smell them. This man he sure took the wrong turn if he thought he’d be passing by our way alive.
First it was the arrow Fatha planted in his back from fifty yards; Fatha with his crossbow is a sure-dead shot. The gas-chugging bike it flipped off one way and smashed into a rusty car and this man he dropped the other way, clawing at his back like had a chance to rip out the thing.
“You got him good!” I whooped and danced, kicking up dust and ash that makes the whole world smell like an old fireplace.
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