Speculative

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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The Hellion

By James Edward O’Brien

“Cradock drank in the charred opalescence of the creatures’ shells; their disapproving mouth lines; their bulbous amber eyes socketed behind heavy, wrinkled lids; their broad, scaly flippers almost wing-like.

‘Miraculous,’ he marveled.”

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Donning the Helm

By Dawn Vogel

“Shortly after I donned the helmet and lay down to sleep, I found myself again in the realms of my dreams. This time I felt that I was in control. To test my theory, I inspected the walls of the labyrinth.”

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