Shimmer #36

Some things are eternal: mothers, daughters, inherited heartbreak, flood waters. In these four stories, our authors dare to explore the depths, to break the fallen fruit apart and see what it has borne.

Birds On An Island, by Charlie Bookout 
I sent the last package to Arkansas today. I made it a point at the beginning never to use the same post office twice, so I drove up to Lubec this time. The roads in this part of Maine don’t offer much to look at—miles of pine forests, wild blueberry fields, little else—and it’s a long way back to my house, so I’ve fallen again into thinking about the lady who came from there, from Arkansas. (6800 words)

The Cold, Lonely Waters – Aimee Ogden 
In the end, it’s loneliness that drives the mermaids outward from Earth, not curiosity. But fear plays its part in the story, too, as fear always does. (3600 words)

Extinctions – Lina Rather 
Your mother taught you three things, up in the great white wilderness, before she went and shot that man: 1. How to kill an animal quickly and mercifully. 2. How to kill the veiled things that prowl in the shadows at the edge of your vision. These are harder and faster beasts, but they all fall like deer in the end, and that’s the best advice your mother could have given you. (5000 words)

And in That Sheltered Sea, a Colossus – Michael Matheson
It’s during the rains, the year the breadfruit trees bear unfamiliar seed, that the stranger comes to the drowned city. The year everything changes. (4000 words)

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Speculative fiction for a miscreant world

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