“Nightship” by Kim Westwood
Here the linen smells of mice and the men of old boots. I lie beneath a slaughter of ferals, cushioned in my guilty comforts and waiting for this black-caulked hulk to sink; but it glides like death along the briny channels of a shrouded city half-submerged – a Grey Zone, neither sea nor shore.
Past my porthole other nightships slice the mist thickening on dank canals. Blunt-nosed, barnacled, they nudge from lock to lock, deals done and deliveries made under cover of perpetual fog.
Kim Westwood developed her distinctive visual prose style while working as a theatre performer and deviser. Darkly poetic, her stories have a preoccupation with humanity’s capacity for destruction and equal instinct for survival. Most are set in an alternative reality Australia. Of this she says: ‘My imagination has a chemical reaction to living on Terra Australis, and responds strongly to its particular properties.’ Kim won her first Aurealis Award in 2002 for her short story ‘The Oracle’. Since then her stories have been chosen for Year’s Best anthologies in Australia and the US, for ABC radio broadcast, and taken out the Judges’ Prize at the Scarlet Stiletto Women’s Crime Fiction Awards. She is the recipient of a prestigious Varuna Writers House Fellowship for her first novel, The Daughters of Moab (2008). Her second novel, The Courier’s New Bicycle (2011), has been described as a ‘disturbingly credible and darkly noir post-cyberpunk tale’. It won an Aurealis and a Ditmar award, was shortlisted for both the Ned Kelly and Davitt crime fiction awards, and made it onto the Honor List of the James Tiptree Award. Thanks to a state arts grant, she is currently writing the sequel. You can find out more either at www.kimwestwood.com or at www.harpercollins.com.au
“Smoke and Mirrors” by Amanda Downum
The circus was in town.
Not just any circus, either, but Carson & Kindred’s Circus Fabulatoris and Menagerie of Mystical Marvels. The circus Jerusalem Morrow ran away to join when she was nineteen years old. Her family for seven years.
She laid the orange flyer on the kitchen table beside a tangle of beads and wire and finished putting away her groceries. Her smile stretched, bittersweet. She hadn’t seen the troupe in five years, though she still dreamt of them. Another world, another life, before she came back to this quiet house.
Amanda was born in Virginia, and has since then spent time in Indonesia, Micronesia, Missouri, and Arizona, with brief layovers in California and Colorado. In 1990 she was sucked into the gravity well of Texas, and hasn’t managed to escape. Yet.
She lives in a garret in Austin, and can be found haunting absinthe bars. She isn’t dying of consumption, but does suffer from “cedar fever.” Her day job sometimes lets her dress as a giant worm.
She still occasionally mans a derelict blog, but for Proustian minutiae you’re better off finding her on Facebook. She doesn’t speak of herself in the third person there. Usually.
About the Narrators:
Nikolle Doolin writes fiction, poetry, and plays. Her work has appeared in the Wilderness House Literary Review, Tales to Terrify, 3:AM Magazine, 365 Tomorrows, Flashshot, and the literary anthology Wilderness House Literary Review – The Best of Volume 3. Additionally, her stage plays have been presented in festivals.
Nikolle is also a voice actor who has performed for various mediums. She produces a podcast called Audio Literature Odyssey in which she narrates classic literature by the likes of Austen, Poe, James, and more. Furthermore, Nikolle has performed contemporary narrations for Tales To Terrify, Crime City Central, and The NoSleep Podcast.
Catherine Logan had many years of training in theatre and voice in her youth – then many years of teaching acting, drama, writing and English literature as a grown-up. She has taken plenty of workshops and has studio experience in narration, commercial and animation voiceover work. Catherine is now involved in a second career which takes her back to her first love.