“The Sickness” by Valjeanne Jeffers
(Originally published in Griots: Sisters of the Spear.)
The Bini warriors crouched in the high grass of the savanna. They’d passed the Fula borders a mile back, and now were a hundred yards from the Adobe mud city. At the forefront they were armed with sword and shield, behind them the archers readied their bows.
General Chinua led the army. To his right was Nandi, a tall woman with braided hair, high cheekbones and full lips and her ebony-skinned husband, Sula, his head shaved in the traditional Bini custom. To Chinua’s left was Nandi’s older brother, Tomi.
A wide gateway led into the Fula kingdom. It was deserted.
Valjeanne Jeffers is a graduate of Spelman College, a member of the Carolina African American Writer’s Collective (CAAWC) and the author of ten books: Including her Immortal series, and her most recent Mona Livelong: Paranormal Detective series. Her first novel, Immortal, is featured on the Invisible Universe Documentary time-line, and her novella, The Switch II: Clockwork, was nominated as best eBook novella of 2013 by the eFestival of words. Her writing has been published in numerous anthologies including The City: A Cyberfunk, 60 Black Women in Horror Fiction, Steamfunk!, Genesis Science Fiction Magazine, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (as Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson), Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology, Liberated Muse I: How I Freed My Soul, PurpleMag, Drumvoices Revue, 31 Days of Steamy Mocha, Griots II: Sisters of the Spear, Possibilities, Black Gold, and most recently Fitting In: Historical Accounts of Paranormal Subcultures and Sycorax’s Daughters. Valjeanne is also one of the screen writers for the horror anthology film 7 Magpies (in production). Preview or purchase her novels at vjeffersandqveal.com. Support her on Patreon at patreon.com/ValjeanneJeffers.
“The Heartless Boy” by Ed Ahern
(Originally published in Strangely Funny II.)
Tom Willman was born experiencing no strong feelings, in fact no feelings at all. No love or affection. No hate or dislike. Certainly no fear. The closest he came to emotions were pleasing or displeasing sensations.
Tom’s parents, desperate for a smile, had him tested for a litany of diseases, but he proved to be uncaringly above average. They quit trying to show Tom affection by the time he was six, and by the time he was ten were providing only what was legally required of them.
Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He has his original wife, but advises that after 49 years they’re both out of warranty. He works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of five review editors. Ed’s had 140 stories and poems published so far, and a series of articles on fly fishing. His collected fairy and folk tales, The Witch Made Me Do It, was published by Gypsy Shadow Press. His novella The Witches Bane was published by World Castle Publishing, and his collected fantasy and horror stories, Capricious Visions, was published by Gnome on Pig Press. Ed’s currently working on a paranormal/thriller novel tentatively titled The Rule of Chaos. Visit his website at swampgasworks.com and at Twitter as @bottomstripper.
About the Narrators:
Aminat Badara is a budding writer and aspiring on-air-personality. She loves reading and has a weird penchant for collecting hardcover notebooks and mugs. When she’s not writing or trying to be superhuman, she’s either looking for Xs to solve, seeing movies, or getting her heart broken by Arsenal FC. Every once in a while, she puts up posts on meenahsthoughts.wordpress.com. You can find her on Twitter as @09_Eleven.
Anthony Babington is a voice in the internet’s head, who looks almost, but not quite, exactly how you expect him to. Having escaped from the sinister forces of Texas, he has retreated to an ingeniously disguised bunker in a secure, undisclosed location in Burnsville, Minnesota. His life goal is to someday annoy someone into letting him voice a part on Escape Pod, but until then, he’d be happy to voice a project for you. yes, you in the checked shirt. Contact him on Google Plus, or on Twitter at @AlephBaker.