First Story: “The Girl in the Windmill” by Wendy Nikel
Maartje van Dijk lived in a windmill.
At the age of ten, her vater and moeder perished at sea, and she was sent to live with her Opa on the coast. Despite her grief, she grew to love him and he taught her all about how to grind the village’s grains and tend the enormous sails and gears that made the mill run.
Her Opa hadn’t always run the mill, though. Each evening, by firelight, he would show Maartje the amazing feats of transformation that he used to perform all over the world.
When Wendy Nikel isn’t traveling in time, exploring magical islands, or investigating mysterious phenomena, she enjoys a quiet life near Utah’s Wasatch Mountains with her husband and sons. She has a degree in elementary education, a fondness for road trips, and a terrible habit of forgetting where she’s left her cup of tea. Her short fiction has been published by AE, Daily Science Fiction, and others, and she is a member of SFWA. For more info, visit wendynikel.com.
Second Story: “Soldier’s Return” by Robert Dawson
(Originally published in Niteblade.)
If a dead woman waits at a window, and nobody is there to see her, what marks the passage of time?
The ruined house broods on the shore. The sleety February rain seeps through the rotting shingles, drips through sagging plaster, and trickles down the wallpaper. The hall is festooned with gray scrims of cobweb, hanging so low that even the mice must follow a labyrinthine path between them. A staircase ascends in a broken sagging arc, its stringers long rotten. The air is dank with the odor of time and decay.
Robert Dawson teaches mathematics at a Nova Scotian university. When not teaching or doing research, he writes, fences, cycles, and volunteers with a Scout troop. His fiction has appeared in Nature, Futures, AE, Compelling Science Fiction, and numerous other periodicals and anthologies. He is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge, Sage Hill, and Viable Paradise.
About the Narrators:
Josie Babin was lucky to grow up with wizards and fey mentors and hobbits and fawns for companions. Keeping her head in the clouds allowed her to always be looking up and out and ahead, leading to an over-developed curiosity that she freely indulges to this day. As a grown up, she gets to play in the ever curious sandbox of medical science, on a quest to cure evil diseases. In her spare time she can be found keeping company with the San Diego sun or tormenting her two cats with attempted belly rubs.
Jack Calverley lives in Central London where he watches a very small patch of land struggle into gardenhood. In even quieter moments he has been known to narrate science fiction stories for Starship Sofa and horror stories for Tales to Terrify, and also hosted the now defunct Crime City Central podcast for its entire two-year run. He is a member of the T-Party genre writers’ group, another group called WINOS, and critters.org, and (having attended two online classes from the Odyssey Writing Workshops) is a member of the Odyssey online critique group. A testament to perseverance if nothing else. He lives online at jackcalverley.com where he watches a very small patch of website struggle into nethood.