“Princess Lily’s Wedding” by Robert J. Santa
(Originally published in Blood, Blade & Thruster.)
“I love him, Daddy!”
King Frederick breathed deeply. It had been a very long conversation with his youngest child, punctuated by much pouting and exasperated sighing and stomping of pretty feet. Frederick stood over her while she held her face in her hands and cried. He wanted to do nothing more than pout and sigh and stomp his feet. Of course, he couldn’t, even in his daughter’s bedroom with no one else to see.
Kings had to uphold higher standards, especially with sixteen year-old daughters.
Robert J. Santa has been writing speculative fiction for more than thirty years. His works have appeared in numerous online and print markets. Robert lives in Rhode Island, USA, with his beautiful wife and two, equally beautiful daughters, one of whom is named Lily. And while she is nothing like the Lily of this tale, she could be without stretching the imagination too much.
“Shoe Man” by Tonya Liburd
(Originally published in Expanded Horizons, July 2016.)
Somewhere in downtown Toronto, a homeless black man had shoes whose soles were flapping. He refused to give them up, no matter what people said, no matter what people offered. They were the first things he ever bought in Canada, the shoes he wore to his wedding, so long ago. The wedding that was supposed to mark the beginning of a new life, a good life in Canada.
A good life… they were pretty young, he had a wife, he had a daughter, he had a job… then the illness reared its head and took over. And everything spiraled out of control. No medications would make his mind whole again; the fear and confusion from his wife, the fights. The guilt over his daughter witnessing it all. When his wife died instantly from the car accident while he got barely a scratch – fortunately their daughter wasn’t with them – it was the last thing he could take, and he remembered just everything conspiring to force him out the door and leave everything behind. Well, almost. He still had his shoes.
That was years ago.
Tonya Liburd shares a birthday with Simeon Daniel and Ray Bradbury, which may tell you a little something about her; and while she has an enviable collection of vintage dust bunnies to her credit, her passions are music (someday!) and of course, words. Her poetry has been nominated for the Rhysling award, and her fiction has been long-listed in the 2015 Carter V. Cooper (Vanderbilt)/Exile Short Fiction Competition. Her story “The Ace of Knives” is in the anthology Postscripts to Darkness 6, and is used in Nisi Shawl’s workshops as an example of “code switching”. She is the associate editor of Abyss & Apex magazine. You can find her blogging at spiderlilly.com or on Twitter as @somesillywowzer, and support her over at Patreon.com/TonyaLiburd.
About the Narrators:
Matt Dovey is very tall and very English and most likely drinking a cup of tea right now. He has a scar on his arm that he can’t remember getting, but a terrible darkness floods his mind when he considers it. He now lives in a quiet market town in rural England with his wife and three children, and despite being a writer, he still hasn’t found the right words to properly express the delight and joy he finds in this wonderful arrangement.
His surname rhymes with “Dopey”, but any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental. He is the Golden Pen winner for Writers of the Future Volume 32 (2016), was shortlisted for the James White Award in 2016, and has fiction out and forthcoming all over the place; you can keep up with it at mattdovey.com, or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.
Cris Maycock is a Bajan Yankee who has lived in Brooklyn most of her life, a beach lover, a food lover, and a sci-fi fan who likes to think that she is both scientific and creative. Cris loves storytelling and the performance medium of audio books.