“Reckoning” by David Steffen
(Originally published in Stupefying Stories, September 2013.)
“The Day of Reckoning is upon us,” Preacher Paul said.
Paul watched Jake for telltale signs of guilt, but his friend only nodded and went on rocking his chair on the general store’s porch.
“You’d best do everything you can to prepare,” Paul added. “I’m here to offer you counsel if you need it.”
“Before you get too far in that sermon of yours, you ought to know I don’t have any money for you, Preacher.”
Paul shook his head and stroked his beard. “That’s just what the Devil’s telling you to say.”
David Steffen is a writer, editor, and software engineer. He edits Diabolical Plots, which began publishing original fiction in 2015. He runs the Submission Grinder, a tool for writers to find markets for their work. He recently published The Long List Anthology, which is a collection of 21 stories from the longer Hugo Award nomination list last year. His own stories have been published in many nice places, including Escape Pod, Podcastle, Daily Science Fiction, and StarShipSofa.
“Four Wizards and a Funeral” by Michael Rimar
(Originally published in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show #23.)
True to her reputation, Simone the Starling was positively ravishing for a wizard.
With her black satin robe accentuating her long, free-flowing hair, she moved like wavelets across a pond at midnight.
In contrast, her face was paler than the dead man laying between us, a slash of crimson across her full lips the only suggestion she retained any membership to the living.
Remembering my station, I folded my hands in a functionary manner and half-smiled, half-frowned my condolence. “Did you know him well, madame?” A standard if officious question. A blind man would recognize the only female member of the Cabal, or that Carmichael the Ferret, the leader of that notorious quintet of mages lay prone upon my preparation table.
Michael Rimar no longer writes witty bios with clever puns and cute references to his pets. He has since matured. Also, he has no pets — just two daughters, which is kind of the same thing. Furthermore, he sees nothing funny about writing science fiction, fantasy, and some horror, although many of his stories might be considered humorous. And purposefully humorous, not this-is-so-bad-it’s-funny kind of humorous. As proof, his story, A Bunny Hug for Karl, was nominated for the 2014 Prix Aurora for the best in Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy. He is also an associate publisher of Bundoran Press and co-editor of the anthology Second Contacts, which was also nominated for the 2016 Aurora award. He has been published in Writers of the Future XXI and On Spec, both serious publications despite having the occasional humorous story. Learn more about Mike at mikerimar.com. Seriously.
About the Narrators:
Eric Luke is the screenwriter of the Joe Dante film Explorers, which is currently in development as a remake; has written for the comic books Ghost and Wonder Woman; and wrote and directed the Not Quite Human films for Disney TV. His current project, Interference (a meta horror audiobook about an audiobook… that kills), is a bestseller on Audible.com. His website for creative projects is Quillhammer.com.
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.