The Night Forest

The Night Forest

by Kit Campbell

 

She looked through the window though there was nothing to see on the other side; the depths of night hid what lay within her view.

She could sense him behind her, close enough to touch, but not.

“What is it you see out there?” That weird tightness to his voice that had been present lately.

“Nothing,” she said. “I see nothing.”

“Then why do you look?”

She shook her head and turned to look at him, this man who would one day be her husband, though now he drew subtly away from her. Why did she look, when she knew the small window and the black of night would show her nothing?

“It is past midnight,” she said instead. “Why are you not abed?”

“While you wander the halls, so shall I.” A light remark, one that could have … Continue reading

Sun Touched

Sun Touched
by Erin Zarro
a free serial story in the Fey Touched universe

I woke up in filth.

A dirty, cold floor. Two mice chased each other along one equally dirty wall. It was stained with who-knew-what. Musty, sweat-filled air surrounded me. And, I could smell blood.

I looked down. All I wore was a simple cotton shift that opened in the back. I had a bad feeling I knew what that was for. A pool of blood surrounded my leg, so I must have gotten injured somehow. I couldn’t remember what had happened.

I was in a small prison cell. A filthy cot sat in one corner, no blankets. A bucket sat in the opposite corner, and apparently, someone had emptied it recently, because I did not smell the stink of human waste. Thank Artemis for that.

My prison was in a dark, large … Continue reading

Operating Systems

A poem by Siri Paulson

He was an apple boy
she was an android girl
living their lives side by side
orbits and orbits, never intersect
lost in the space ‘twixt the stars.

He went for coffee here,
white earbuds and logos on every table;
played on the blue side of app-based games,
drank his beer at the chosen locations,
walked the streets with his tribe.

She loved her artisan tea café,
black tablets and laptops everywhere near;
played with the reds, talked smack to the blues,
drank her artisan ciders one gastropub over.
They crossed paths outside and went their own ways.

His school taught him iOS,
hers taught her Linux; he learned to draw
and she programmed on Windows.
They never saw the same job ads; Google
showed them half … Continue reading

Spiritus Viri

by Erin Zarro

After our wedding, Jerry carried me over the threshold of our home: a small ranch that was cozy and practically ancient. We’d repainted most of the walls and removed the carpets, as we liked hardwood floors.

It was our first night in it after the renovations.

I laughed as Jerry fumbled with skirts just to put me down again. “Maybe I’ll just stay in this dress,” I said. I was a bit tipsy from the champagne and dancing. I twirled, watching my skirts flare, then stopped. Except the room didn’t stop spinning.

“You’ll freeze, my lovely wife,” Jerry said, coming up behind me and pulling me against him. “The sheerness of the top…”

“But my bottom half will be warm,” I said with a giggle. I wiggled free and headed toward the bedroom, which sat at the end of the hall. A very long hallway, … Continue reading

Changeling: The Faerie Escape

Changeling
Part 5: The Faerie Escape
a free fantasy serial by Erin Zarro

Links: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4

I turned to face the woman who claimed she was my mother, but didn’t feel like my mother at all. My twin was with her, looking terrified.

Mother was pale, and her hands were clenched into fists. “Aisling, what do you have to say for yourself?”

Ronan stepped forward, putting his hand on my shoulder, but I shrugged him away. “Mother, I am leaving here. I belong out there with my family.”

Mother sighed. “Are we going to do this yet again? Your place is here, with me, with your people. I can’t understand why you persist in thinking about these people who aren’t even your real family. Maria will be joining them … Continue reading

Introducing City of Hope and Ruin by Kit Campbell and Siri Paulson

Our apologies for yesterday. We saw the date and couldn’t resist. Here’s the real teaser excerpt, but first, a little intro…

Every night the monsters hunt.

A city that is the whole world: Theosophy and her companions in the City militia do their best to protect the civilians from the monsters, but they keep crawling from the Rift and there’s nowhere to run. Theosophy knows she’ll die fighting. It’s the best kind of death she’s seen, and at least she can save lives in the meantime.

They say the Scarred carve you up while you’re still alive.

A village in the shadow of a forest: Refugees from the border whisper about the oncoming Scarred, but Briony can’t convince her brother to relocate his children to safety. Briony will do anything to protect them. She owes them that much, even if it means turning to forbidden magic.

When … Continue reading

Sneak Peek of City of Hope and Ruin

Here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for…the unveiling of our next novel, City of Hope and Ruin by Kit Campbell and Siri Paulson! It’s a very serious novel and we’ve worked hard on it, so we hope you like this teaser. Enjoy.

 

Hello, traveler. My name is Edvarda, and I once saved this village using only a broom. You might not believe it, but it’s true.

Evidence? Hah. It was just a common household broom, well used over the years and long gone now. My hands were burned in the doing, but they have mostly healed long ago. I live a quiet life, tucked away in this little village by the fjord, grandmother to all. But what I do have are stories. Talking is thirsty work, though….

Why, thank you, kind master. A cup of mead is most appreciated by an old lady such as myself, and loosens … Continue reading

Changeling: The Faerie Portal

Changeling
Part 4: The Faerie Portal
a free fantasy serial by Erin Zarro
Links: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

I have to go home.

Memories crashed through my mind: my sister Jane laughing as I pushed her swing, her head falling back to gaze at the blue sky; our little camping trailer, old and worn but imprinted with the essence of us; my mom’s perfect hugs that I swore cured everything from hurt feelings to life-altering things; Dad’s garden filled with vegetables and flowers and bees in summer; the little house where I’d lived my whole life, from baby to now; ballet class, learning to ride a bike, school…

I did not belong here.

I never did.

“Aisling?”

The voice startled me, and I spun around to face the source of it. I’d managed to get away from Mother and my twin, … Continue reading

Sneak Peek of Grave Touched

Erin here. I wanted to give you a sneak peek of Grave Touched, book 2 of my Fey Touched series, releasing May 1st from Turtleduck Press. Not long now! (Also? Fey Touched, book 1, is on sale for $.99 right now. Check it out if you want to catch up!)

 

Whispers. A flicker of thought.

My eyes wouldn’t open. Panic sliced through me.

I opened my mouth, but nothing came out.

“It’s okay, Em. You’re okay,” a familiar male voice said. A hand stroked my brow. Nick? Was Nick here? My beloved Nick could always soothe me, keep me from the edge.

“Em…you’re really here,” Nick said softly. “You’re alive.”

Alive? Of course I was alive.

I opened my eyes, wincing.

A tall human woman watched me with gray eyes that I was sure peeled layers off of me. “Emily, I’m Doctor Lucia Jonath. You’ve been under my … Continue reading