All Stories, Historical

Hell Cat Laid Low by Marco Etheridge

Maggie slogged through the murky gloom of Water Street, her boots squelching in the muck. Gas streetlamps threw wavering silver cones into the darkness. The feeble light only accentuated the inky Manhattan night. Piles of manure and offal cast eerie shadows across the black mire.

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All Stories, Historical

Black Bird of Prey, the Death Ship by Tom Sheehan

The battle had been harsh, crude, and longer than expected, but at the inevitable end the ship Gerben Huraq had sailed on for three years, initially at the point of a maniacal sword in the hand of a maniacal privateer, was sinking fast. Huraq, still on the good side of thirty years of age and seemingly primed for long distance of days, had once crawled up a rescue rope to that ship from another sinking ship. Now, twice saved and twice accepted aboard a rescuing vessel, he was in the water again, in the Black Sea, the sea of seas, death scene of floaters, those abandoned, thrown overboard or fallen from their stations at battle, each one in a downward slide into their own histories. He had no idea how long he would last on this wide sea, until one precise moment when he espied the growing dot of a mast at full sails advancing from a distant point, ever moving closer, hope most possibly a  passenger, and a final surge of excitement propelling his nearly inert body toward an expectant welcome.

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All Stories, Fantasy, Historical

The Night Game by Jennie Boyes

Dread comes with darkness. Bar your doors and windows, and keep out the evil spirits. That’s what people say. I hide under my blankets, but Mama says they won’t keep me safe. I’m not even safe in her arms. That’s why the mare took baby Bert when he was sleeping, and the blacksmith’s wife. You never know when she might come, but Mama says no night is safe.

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All Stories, Historical

The Caste of the Executioner by Samuel Pothecary

I

It was unseasonably damp in The Skirrid Inn on the night of 17th June, 1724. A tremendous storm had struck during the day, clearing the early summer humidity and setting the scene for a dramatic couple of days in the small town of Knaresborough.

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All Stories, Historical

Gonzalo Hermenegildo by Charlie Fish

It was a late spring day in 1981. Ana Severino clocked off early from the paediatrics ward in Hospital de Madrid. The new national healthcare system meant there were more and more staff on the ward, so no-one would notice her leave a few minutes before the end of her shift.

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All Stories, Historical

Blue Flame Rising by Holly Wells

Something shakes me from sleep, a rhythmic clanging, harsher than the church bell. And closer too.

I sit up. The walls flicker in the dim light of the hearth fire. Across the room, Father’s side of the bed is empty, but Mother’s is not. She can sleep through anything.

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All Stories, Historical

Evil is Afoot by Frederick K Foote

“Your limbs grow weary, and the inn’s still far. Rest here. No need to punish your faithful and pleading flesh. Rest a moment, only a moment, and then proceed with new vigor and greater speed.”

“Foul specter, hush, quiet your insinuations and temptations. The inn’s fifteen easy minutes on a good road, and dusk stirs; the sun lowers, and your kind will be about soon. Still, still, it’s too soon to vacate your gloomy tomb.”

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All Stories, Historical

Goods from the Far East by Christopher Eirkson

Potosí, Charcas, New Spain

1587

They call it Silver Mountain, but it has only brought misery to my people.

My head hurts. Kneeling, I plunge both arms into the pool of gray sludge, feeling for another lump of stone. My fingers close around a rock and I haul it out. A piece the size of an infant’s head. I know from overhearing the Spanish azoguero that after the bonding process with mercury, the silver in this rock is worth a small crate of porcelain. But I don’t know what porcelain is, except that it is some kind of platterware.

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