Fiction

Autumn’s Canoe

By Robert R. Mercer

“It was a simple river scene under spreading cottonwood trees. A woman in shadow stood beside a canoe on the bank of that broad, braided stream, ready to push off. In color, the photo might have graced the cover of a sporting goods catalogue. But robbed of the easy prettiness of hue, Ralph’s black and white instead concentrated on the dancing radiance of light through the multi-toned leaves.”

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The Tiger’s Amber Eye

By Avra Margariti

“Inside the display case stood a tiger, poised mid-step in all her lithe, feline glory. The taxidermied tiger was a gift to his father from the former Indian ambassador. The tiger had been inside its glass cage since Norman could toddle, yet he’d never had reason to be alone with her before. Now, he found himself not daring to blink as he watched her, holding his breath to keep it from clouding the glass. Her striped pelt was a deep, burned yellow, like the leaves at the turn of autumn, while she sported a paler, softer-looking underbelly. She might as well have been in the jungle. The artificial fern fronds hugged her lurking body, making her look ready to pounce on her unsuspecting prey. Her eyes, large and amber and made of glass, peered deep into Norman’s soul.”

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The Sister Line

By Vaishnavi Patel

“Neeti knows the story well. As a child, she loved the Ramayana, and requested tales from the great epic every night despite Priya’s protests. Her father insisted on including the story of the Lakshmana Rekha even though it bored Neeti, who wanted to hear of great battles and supernatural inventions. It seemed too straightforward at the time: Lakshmana, the devoted brother, drew an impassable line around Sita’s cottage to protect her. The Lakshmana Rekha. Nothing could cross the line from the outside, not even an army of demons, but in the end it did not matter. Sita chose to step over the brother’s line.”

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On the Nature and Origin of Dragons

By Jasmine Arch

“The research trip for my dissertation is swiftly becoming a collection of firsts: my first Atlantic crossing, my first time seeing a palm tree, and my first free dragon—a type I’ve never seen before. How can I call myself a draconic ornithologist when my jaw drops at the first sighting of an atypical specimen?”

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At the Edge of a Human Path

By Stewart C Baker

“The spirits swarmed across her body, and as they did so images flashed through her mind. She saw merchant-clad racoons gone to fat with too much liquor, beating their distended bellies with drum-like madness. She saw cats turn to cowardice and anger, killing pregnant rats with yellowed human teeth and leaving them to rot in the packed dirt streets of Yamato towns.”

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Warren

By Katherine Quevedo

Rabbit Chief drums a warning with hands, not feet this time. The ceremonial drum, zigzags of golden cord fraying at the tightest points. His fur stands on end. Mine too. I squeeze my eyes shut but see only disheveled fur and cord, hear only pounding drum and pulse.

Hunting season.

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doctor time

By Joel Fishbane

“Time travel is easy in Africa. You’re already in a bubble. Wherever you go, it feels like you’re in the past. When I first arrived, the foundation I worked for assigned me to a hospital whose assortment of beds and equipment hailed from every decade except the one we were actually in. I spent my days doing harsh and thankless work. I think I became a fine doctor, but at some point I lost my name. Everyone called me exactly what Nia had called me the first day we met: Young Doctor. Of course I encouraged it. This was time travel too.”

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Soloista

By Karen-Luz Sison

“You came to Manila by yourself to sing. And whether it’s for an audience of ten ogling men in the square or thousands of people in Araneta Coliseum, you’re determined that singing is the only way you want to support yourself.”

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