“Steam Girl” by Dylan Horrocks
The first time I see her, she’s standing alone behind the library, looking at the ground. Faded blue dress, scruffy leather jacket, long lace-up boots and black-rimmed glasses. But what really makes me stop and stare is the hat: a weird old leather thing that hangs down over her ears, with big thick goggles strapped to the front.
Turns out she’s in my English class. She sits right next to me, still wearing the jacket and goggles and hat. She smells like a thrift store.
“Weirdo,” says Michael Carmichael.
“Freak,” says Amanda Anderson.
She ignores the laughter, reaching into her bag for a notebook and pencil. She bends low so no-one can see what she’s writing.
Dylan Horrocks is a cartoonist, writer and illustrator who lives in Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of the graphic novels Hicksville, Incomplete Works and Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, as well as the comic book series Pickle and Atlas. He has written comics for DC and Vertigo, including Batgirl and Hunter: the Age of Magic. His website is at hicksvillecomics.com
“Blood Drunk” by Adam Browne
The day I ask Josephine out is the same day the media first mentions the disease. Nothing much, just a curiosity piece in a couple of the papers. It gives us something to chat about on our first dates. I think the story is an urban myth, but she’s not so sure. I press the point – even on a biochemical level it seems unlikely. Are we meant to believe in a disease – a virus is it? a bacterium? – that renders serum fats into glycerine, generates nitrates from urea, then blends the two compounds in the correct ratio?
Jesus. Writing it down here, I wonder how she suffered through those first dates.
Adam Browne, 50, lives in Melbourne, Australia. His story ‘Neverland Blues’ originally appeared in 2008 in Dreaming Again: Thirty-five New Stories Celebrating the Wild Side of Australian Fiction. It won the 2009 Chronos Award for Best Short Fiction. His first novel, Pyrotechnicon: Being a True Account of the Further Adventures of Cyrano de Bergerac among the States and Empires of the Stars, by Himself (Dec’d), was published by Coeur de Lion in 2012, and is still available as a print-on-demand illustrated hardcover. His collection of short stories, Other Stories, and Other Stories, was recently published by Satalyte, and will be available as an audio book later this year. Visit http://adambrowne.blogspot.com.au/ for more.
Pete Nixon and James Silverstein
Pete is a full-time programmer and full-time student. He is the editor and producer for Green Eggs and Horror, a Dr. Seuss inspired short story anthology. He narrates and writes in his spare time, because he doesn’t believe in normal hobbies.
James is a budding author and role-playing game designer, with credits from the 7th Sea and Stargate RPG lines. He’s working on the upcoming ‘Cairn’ RPG, as well as a series of stories about a 1940’s private eye in a city of the undead. James feels that there are always more amazing stories that need to be told, and he writes, narrates, and runs games to share them with the world. He loves speculative fiction, noir detective tales, and pulp fantasy, and is honored to be a returning reader in the District of Wonders.