First Story: “The Flying Woman” by Laurel Winter
The boats rested uneasily on the surface of the sea, waiting to leave. Chief Loah gripped Raff’s shoulder in one hand and tilted Dannilla’s face up with the other. “Swear you will not use your unnatural power to leave this island,” he said. “Swear on your father’s life.”
His fingers squeezed Dannilla’s chin. Their father sat in one of the boats, his face shiny with tears. “I swear,” she said. “I swear. Please don’t hurt him.”
Raff held silent, and then he gasped as the leader’s hand closed on his arm. “I swear.”
The leader pushed him, hard, and let go of Dannilla. Her eyes blurred and she fell to her knees in the sea.
Laurel Winter grew up in the mountains of Montana and attended a one-room country grade school with 12 to 25 students in grades 1 through 8. She then went 30 miles one way on the bus to Absarokee High School, where there were 33 in her graduating class. Since then she’s acquired an eclectic education, including credits in English, physics, and psychology from Montana State and numerous writing and art classes. A number of high school literature textbooks contain “egg horror poem” and she’s hoping her novel Growing Wings gets a baby sister this year. Her current passion is playing poker.
Second story: “Intelligent Design” by Ellen Klages
God cocked his thumb and aimed his index finger at the firmament.
Ka-pow! Pow! Pow! A line of three perfect glowing pinpoints of light appeared in the black void. He squeezed his eyes almost shut and let off a single shot. Ping! The pinprick of light at the far edge of the firmament, just where it touched the rim of the earth, glowed faintly red.
God got bored. Ratatatatatatatat! He peppered one corner of the sky with tiny specks of light clustered tight together. Each one glowed steadily. God lay down on his back and looked up at what he’d created. It was okay.
Ellen Klages’ short fiction has appeared in science fiction and fantasy anthologies and magazines, both online and in print, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Black Gate, Eclipse, and Firebirds Rising. Her story, “Basement Magic,” won the Best Novelette Nebula Award in 2005. Several of her other stories have been on the final ballot for the Nebula, World Fantasy, and Hugo Awards, and have been reprinted in various Year’s Best volumes.
She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award, and is a graduate of the Clarion South writing workshop.
In addition to her writing, she serves on the Motherboard of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, and is somewhat notorious as the auctioneer/entertainment for the Tiptree auctions at Wiscon.
Ellen was born in Ohio, and now lives in San Francisco. You can read more at http://ellenklages.com/index.html
Flash Fiction: “Act of Penance” by Michael Haynes
You created me. An act which I suspect that even you now know was your greatest sin. Even as I stand here, naked, hunched in upon myself through habit against a winter’s chill I no longer feel, I smell the megahounds and hear the distant footfalls of the mercenaries who follow those beasts’ lead. They’ve hunted me down, back almost to the place of my birth, your home. They think they will capture me, their perfect soldier, their perfect weapon. Capture me and return me to the work for which I have been crafted, the skulking and the stealing and the killing. The killing, the killing… They will be too late.
Michael Haynes lives in Central Ohio where he helps keep IT systems running for a large corporation during the day and puts his characters through the wringer by night. An ardent short story reader and writer, Michael has had over 20 stories accepted for publication during 2012 by venues such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Daily Science Fiction. When he’s not reading or writing he enjoys watching movies, going to hockey games, cooking, and taking photographs. You can visit http://michael-haynes.blogspot.com/ for more info.
About the Narrators:
Sarah Frederickson was born in Oregon in the United States, and was raised in beautiful Minnesota. At a young age she realized her passion for musical performance and the creative arts. Sarah spent most of her childhood singing and acting – both onstage and off – and affecting various accents for fun.
She soon found herself competing in local, state and national forensics competitions (that’s competitive speaking). Her experience and awards landed her a forensics scholarship to Bethel University in St.Paul Minnesota, where she continued to compete as well as train other speakers at the collegiate level. Sarah graduated with a degree in Music business and Audio Production. Shortly after graduation she traveled to Australia for a one-year holiday. During that time she became smitten with an Australian man who asked her to stay, and four years later the couple live and work in Australia, going on adventures, writing music and reading stories to their cat.
Nicola Seaton-Clark lives in the wilds of (almost) Eastern Europe with her long-suffering husband, phenomenal children and a grumpy cat. Trained as an actress and singer, she has worked in entertainment for over 20 years and currently splits her time between writing speculative fiction, helping her husband run their voice-over company, Offstimme, and voicing everything from commercials and documentaries to public transport announcements. She also hosts this podcast…..
Marvin Münstermann is an actor, musician and all-round interesting person, living in Germany while he figures out the rest of things. He has a day-job which provides him with amusing anecdotes to share in his free time and he plays guitar for a rocking band, Schwarzlicht, who are going to be huge one day, really soon!