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.

Continue reading “The Night Game by Jennie Boyes”

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.

Continue reading “The Caste of the Executioner by Samuel Pothecary”

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.

Continue reading “Gonzalo Hermenegildo by Charlie Fish”

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.

Continue reading “Blue Flame Rising by Holly Wells”

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.”

Continue reading “Evil is Afoot by Frederick K Foote”

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.

Continue reading “Goods from the Far East by Christopher Eirkson”

All Stories, Historical

The Sixth Victim by Cassie Gross

Rose Dawkins had a terrible secret. It wasn’t something she had done, per say, but it was a secret, a tightly coiled spasm of shame in her chest, a roiling nausea in her stomach. The nausea, in fact, was related to the secret.

Continue reading “The Sixth Victim by Cassie Gross”