Flash Fiction: “Harlekin” by Jay Lake & Ruth Nestvold
(“Tales of the Rose Knights” #5, originally published on Daily Science Fiction.)
Harlekin was fair as a maiden, with a blush to match. Women can possess the kind of beauty that was his and still be taken seriously, but not men — or so it seemed to the beautiful youth. Is it any wonder that he chose to wear particolor and play the clown?
This strategy went well for him for a time–being underestimated has its advantages. But when Harlekin decided to become a Rose Knight and serve the forces of Prince Arthur de Sansal in the Kingdoms of the East to fight against the Forces of Darkness, the proctors of the Kingsguard looked at his fair skin and rosy cheeks, at his suit of creamy white and blushing red, and chuckled.
Jay Lake lived in Portland, Oregon until his death in 2014, shortly before his 50th birthday. His books include Kalimpura from Tor and Love in the Time of Metal and Flesh from Prime. His short fiction appeared regularly in literary and genre markets worldwide. Jay was a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and a multiple nominee for the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. In 2015, he posthumously received the Locus Award for his collection Last Plane to Heaven.
Learn more about him and his work at jlake.com.
Ruth Nestvold has published widely in science fiction and fantasy, her fiction appearing in such markets as Asimov’s, F&SF, and Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best Science Fiction. Her work has been nominated for the Nebula, Tiptree, and Sturgeon Awards. In 2007, the Italian translation of her novella Looking Through Lace won the Premio Italia award for best international work. She maintains a web site at ruthnestvold.com and blogs at ruthnestvold.wordpress.com.
Main Story: “Talented Witches” by Paul Magrs
(Originally published in Resurrection Engines.)
My Aunts were nimble creatures, standing on the steep slopes of this is how it happened, although I couldn’t quite remember what I found down there. It’s starting to come back now. They reached out because they felt my presence. In some truly here in the past, in this benighted place.
I can feel the chill, feel the breezes and the springy turf between tall black gravestones. It is as if I am actually dashing after my churchyard where those Brontë sisters used to play and live, in the last century. She’s in the ways I have settled in very nicely, adapting to their rituals and routines, and I can. I can. I’ll get into terrible trouble.
I see the idea take light behind young Emily’s eyes. From across the room I can hear her heart beating faster and harder. And along the cobbled streets of Haworth bristling with resentment and fury. Why am I patting her hand as he coaxes her into committing arson?
Paul Magrs lives and writes in Manchester. In a twenty year writing career he has published a number of novels in a variety of genres, including books about trans-temporal adventuress Iris Wildthyme and also the Brenda and Effie Mysteries, which are about the Bride of Frankenstein running a B&B in the seaside town of Whitby. He has also written fiction for young adults, including Strange Boy, Exchange, and most recently, Lost on Mars (Firefly Press). Over the years he has contributed many times to the Doctor Who books and audio series. He is the author of a beloved cat memoir The Story of Fester Cat (Berkley). He has taught Creative Writing at both the University of East Anglia and Manchester Metropolitan University, and now writes full time. He blogs at lifeonmagrs.blogspot.co.uk, and he can be found on Twitter and Facebook.
About the Narrators:
Seth Williams is the avatar for a three-kilometer sentient starship that is parked (probably uncomfortably) close to the third planet. Surprisingly he has not yet been discovered. He is very happy that the inhabitants have discovered enough technology to that he can communicate in this limited fashion. Any communications can be directed to theboojum.org.
Katherine Inskip weighs galaxies for a living, and builds worlds in her spare time. She is addicted to chocolate and Japanese logic puzzles.