First Story: “The Shooter at the Heartrock Waterhole” by Bill Congreve
The rifle kicked, and one of the creatures — the beautiful one — was dead. But the wyrde, as Dad would have called it, began long before then. Two days ago, I shot and killed two sparrows, and a rabbit I’d called “Attitude.” Right after, I buried them out in the deep sand away from the water. At dawn yesterday, I smelled them as I woke. The sun filtered through the needles of a lone desert oak straight into my eyes. I rolled onto my stomach, lifted my head, and there they lay, just outside the tent flyscreen. The corpses had been dug from their half-meter-deep holes and had been laid out on the orange sand and the leaf litter as neatly as you like, half a meter from where my head lay on the pillow. I hadn’t heard a thing.
Bill Congreve is an award winning writer, editor and independent publisher (MirrorDanse Books). His stories have appeared in a number of countries in publications such as Faerie Reel, Tenebres, Event Horizon, Terror Australis, Aurealis, Borderlands, Bloodsongs, Crosstown Traffic, Monstres! and The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror. His collection of vampire stories is Epiphanies of Blood. His most recent collection is Souls Along the Meridian (2010). He won the Peter McNamara Achievement Award in 2012 and has acted as judge for the Aurealis Awards on nine occasions.
He works as a technical writer and editor in the emergency services sector. You can learn more here.
Second story: “The Comb” by Marly Youmans
People always say stories are true stories, and I suppose they believe it, often enough; this one, though, is true–true as true can be, as my mother used to say. Cross my heart and hope to die, a child says. They do, in the end, all hope to die. Nobody wants to be the moon’s immortal lover, who lives on, thousands of years beyond his youth, a husk of a man: Tithonus, the grasshopper, who rasps in the weeds when the moonlight touches him. Or perhaps I’m wrong; perhaps most people don’t know that a fate can feel more alien than death.
Novelist Sebastien Doubinsky recently said, “I cannot recommend an author more than Marly Youmans, whose fantastic prose is absolutely gorgeous and haunting.” And now September 1st marks the publication of Marly Youmans’s novel Glimmerglass. Margo Lanagan describes the book as “a series of mirrors and panes that splinter and soften to let you fall deeper into the heart of myth and artistic desire. A resonant, beautiful exploration…” Poet Jeffery Beam says, “Nature, architecture, dread, thrill, sexual dilemma, and murder echo against Youmans’ gorgeous prose and terrifying romance, which glides like a serpent―without a single extraneous or boring word.” Marly’s recent books include the novel, A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, winner of the Ferrol Sams Award and the Silver Award in fiction from the ForeWord Book of the Year competition, as well as several books of poetry–the epic post-apocalyptic poem, Thaliad, and collections The Foliate Head and The Throne of Psyche. You can visit her blog http://www.thepalaceat2.blogspot.de/
About the Narrators:
Eric Luke is the screenwriter of the Joe Dante film EXPLORERS, which is currently in development as a remake, the comic books GHOST and WONDER WOMAN, and wrote and directed the NOT QUITE HUMAN films for Disney TV. His current project INTERFERENCE, a meta horror audiobook about an audiobook… that kills, is available free on iTunes and at Quillhammer.com.
Nicola Seaton-Clark lives in the wilds of (almost) Eastern Europe with her long-suffering husband, phenomenal children and a grumpy cat. Trained as an actress and singer, she has worked in entertainment for over 20 years and currently splits her time between writing speculative fiction, helping her husband run their voice-over company, Offstimme, and voicing everything from commercials and documentaries to public transport announcements. She also hosts this podcast…
The Audio Fantasy Fiction Magazine