If I Were A Mushroom
The Grand Sister led them, starched white robes flapping round her ankles, while three other Sisters brought up the rear, faces hidden under respirators, arms cradling rifles. Between them, the Sixth trailed with pale, pinched faces. They walked in tidy pairs, their white shirts tucked in and their black shoes polished to a shine.
Published in Interzone Digital (October 2022). Read it here.
The Ramparts, as Cold and Implacable as Love
I remember the first time I saw you, riding across the plain towards my castle walls. Your pennant flew behind you, red phoenix on a black field, the matching crimson plume of your helm rippling in the wind. Your armies gathered at your back.
Published in Orion’s Belt (July 2022). Read it here.
The Wood-Folk Do Not Want To Marry You
Thing is, humans are obsessed with us wood-folk. It’s not healthy. It’s not nice. It’s objectifying, is what it is. I supposed I was lucky I’d never been the focus of a human’s attention before. That usually fell to Elondriel, who had pointier ears than I did.
Published in Wyngraf (June 2022). Read it here.
The Last Scribe of Tazarhal
Idris put the finishing touches on the letter, angling the chisel to get a crisp edge on the last stroke. The dislodged sandstone whipped away in the ever-present wind. He winced as a few grains lashed his face, grateful for the wrappings protecting his skin.
Published in Translunar Travelers Lounge #5 (August 2021). Read it here.
The problem is, Naomi isn’t interested in anyone at school. Even Pierce Taylor, who everyone fancies, just doesn’t make her feel excited like she wants to feel—like presumably Alison feels about Charlie. But Naomi isn’t jealous. Honestly, she isn’t. Because Naomi doesn’t want a Bart-Boy. Naomi wants a Moon-Boy.
First published in Black Static #78/79 (March 2021). Buy the double issue in print or as an ebook.
Reprinted in Metastellar (December 2021). Read it here.
Food of the Gods
The god showed its teeth, blocky and white like the pillars at the temple’s gates. Then a tongue, red and glistening, flicked out and ran itself slowly over their pearlescent curve.
“Yum,” said the god. “Give me another.”
Published in NewMyths.com #54 (March 2021). Read it here.
When Elena was eight, her Papa showed her how to raise the dead.
Published in Cossmass Infinities #4 (January 2021). Buy the issue here.
Karl lowered himself into the tank and pulled on the headset, briefly adjusting the oxygen tube. Relief enveloped him with the gel, his anxieties quietening as he allowed the cool, silvery substance to close over his head.
Published in Brain Games: Stories to Astonish, ed. Juliana Rew (Third Flatiron Publishing, October 2020). Buy the book here.
Spare a Prayer
A wisp of prayer slid from between her lips, curling in the frigid air. She plucked it from her mouth and dropped it into Alyss’s waiting hat.
Published in The Colored Lens #14 (March 2015). Read it here.
Around me, ancient furniture stands forlorn and broken: dust-encrusted desks, rusting sorting frames, overturned chairs. Mouldering postbags pile in the corners; noticeboards hang crooked on the walls. But for all its desolation the building has an air of sanctity about it – a neglected shrine, bereft of offerings.
Developed into the theatre piece Post Man by Pellegrino and presented at Lost Theatre, Lambeth in May 2014.
How to Love a Necromancer
The first time he knocks at your door, be cautious. Your mother will pluck at your sleeve, hiss at you to come away–but do not feel you have to obey her.
Do not feel you have to open the door either.
First published at Daily Science Fiction (January 2014). Read it here.
Reprinted in Frozen Wavelets Issue #6 (April 2021). Read it here.
In the smouldering rubble, MM#2893 began putting itself back together.
Published in Interstellar Fiction #14 (September 2013).
An elderly lady lives at the end of our street. She has hair puffed out like a small white cloud and an air of dwindled grace. She wears bangles round her skinny wrists, floral skirts that reach to her ankles, shoes with Velcro fastenings. Her name is Mrs. Entwistle. She grows poems.
First published in Interzone #246 (May 2013). Buy the issue here.
*Joint-winner of the Interzone Readers’ Poll 2014.*
Reprinted in The Best British Fantasy 2014, ed. Steve Haynes (Salt Publishing, July 2014). Buy the book.
But as the executioner yanks on the lever and Peter plummets down–in that instant between the trapdoor opening and the rope tautening–the convict’s expression finally changes.
Published at Daily Science Fiction (May 2013). Read it here.
The Giant who Dreamed of Summer
Do not climb into my lap, you pesky thing! Can’t you read the sign? I am a notorious criminal, unpredictable, possibly violent, and on no account am I to be fed nor touched.
I will also make a very cold seat.
Published and podcast in Cast of Wonders #78 (May 2013) and #111 (January 2014). Read or listen here (narrated by M. K. Hobson).
*One of the Cast of Wonders Staff Picks for 2013.*
The Sandman’s Dreams
She wakes in the morning with an ache in her heart, and dust in the corners of her eyes.
Published at Daily Science Fiction (April 2013). Read it here.
A King can be undone by many things. By assassination, by incompetence, by treachery, by a foolish love. His fall can be slow and inevitable like a gnawing illness, or quick like an arrow-shot. But no matter his tragedy, his Regalia can only be undone by the tool of the Crownsmith, methodically, carefully. The disassembly of kingship takes a long time.
Published in The Omnibus of Doctor Bill Shakes and the Magnificent Ionic Pentatetrameter, Doctor Fantastique Books (May 2012).
And lastly, lying there, inhaling the potent and comforting scent of the earth, he recalled with a kind of feverish lucidity – in that moment just before he lost consciousness – hearing a quiet scratching from the shed at his back, and the gentle shuffling and ruffling of wings.
Published at Shortfire Press (December 2011).
*Winner of the University of Cambridge’s Quiller-Couch prize for creative writing, 2010.*
Reviewed by David Hebblethwaite at Follow the Thread.
To Be True
Karima took off back to the Temple, feet slapping the stone slabs. She looked back only once, as she reached the door. All she saw was a twirl of silver-white disappearing into the greenery.
Published and podcast in Cast of Wonders #11 & 12 (October 2011). Listen to Part 1 here and Part 2 here (narrated by Graeme Dunlop).
JOE: I know why the windows are blacked out and the door is closed. I know why Mrs Prue has her turns. What I don’t know is what it’s like for you. What I don’t know is what you’re- what you’re doing here.
Published in Bewildering Stories #446 (September 2011). Read it here.
A Mixed Catch
But there was nothing else to be done, for the mermaid had been caught, and a mermaid must be dealt with. Mermaids, as all island-folk know, are trouble of the worst kind.
First published in Lightning Flash Magazine #8 (July 2011).
Reprinted in Mirror Dance (Autumn 2013). Read it here.