Flash Fiction: “Dancing with Fire” by Caroline M. Yoachim
The pond where I grew up was swampy and buzzing with insects. I slept in a bed of stargrass, and Mother whispered lullabies in the gentle current. Mother grew up in the ocean, and she hated our pond. Too many memories of Father lingered beneath the surface, long after drought had stolen him away.
“Why don’t we go back to the ocean?” I asked.
“I’m too old,” she said. “I don’t flow as smoothly anymore, and cloud hopping is for the young. Go play.”
There weren’t any other water spirits, so I did mud magic with the earthy kids. We made soldiers from dirt and water and green swamp sludge. Every night, the soldiers got soggy and fell apart, ending the war until we remade them the next morning.
Caroline M. Yoachim lives in Seattle and loves cold, cloudy weather. She is the author of dozens of short stories, appearing in Lightspeed, Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and Daily Science Fiction. For more about Caroline, check out her website carolineyoachim.com, and via Twitter as @CarolineYoachim.
Main Story: “In From the Snow” by Lee Battersby
It is snowing outside the house. Snow is dangerous. You leave tracks, and tracks can be used to follow you. I am to stay inside. Father will not permit me outside, not until I am fully trained. The Darrington boy went out last winter and brought the weight of the gallows down upon his whole family. There are few families left. Snow is too great a risk.
Lee Battersby is the author of the novels Magrit (Walker Books, forthcoming) and The Corpse-Rat King and Marching Dead (Angry Robot Books, 2012 and 2013), as well as more than 80 short stories in the US, Australia and Europe. A collection of his shorter works, titled Through Soft Air has been published by Prime Books (US). He lives in Western Australia with his wife, author Lyn Battersby, and blogs irregularly at The Battersblog.
About the Narrators:
Geoffrey Welchman is a voice actor, writer, and producer who lives in Baltimore, Maryland (USA). You can find him online at geoffreywelchman.com.
Martin Reyto is an educator, writer, and musician. He has worked in an eclectic variety of fields, including 18 years as a technical writer and software developer, 16 years as a teacher of creative writing, computer science, and business communication, and shorter stints as a symphony musician and audiobook narrator. He has published short fiction and two collections of his poetry.