Far Fetched Fables No. 115 Richard Parks and Wendy Nikel
This month's cover art is "Dragonfly Kiss" by Susan McKivergan, a digital muse, graphic designer, and artist. When not working and improving her skills in digital art, she enjoys cooking, 3-D modeling, texturing, painting, crafts, sewing, the beach, gardening, traveling, and more. She has done artwork for many CD and book covers, magazines, E-zines, and commissioned and licensed work. She has won several awards, has appeared in ImagineFX, and has sold thousands of prints through deviantART. Her virtual gallery can be found on Renderosity and deviantART, and she can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Flash Fiction: “Rain Like Diamonds” by Wendy Nikel
(Originally published at Daily Science Fiction.)
The queen hoarded the barrels of seed, keeping them locked within her coffers among the diamonds and gold and strings of perfect pearls, remnants of the former days of prosperity and excess. The seeds would receive neither sun nor water nor nutrients from the soil until unlocked by the shining key strung around her neck. Day after day, she sat upon her throne, and the villagers lined up before her, pleading. It was only her loyal guards, with their sharp swords glimmering in her peripheral, who kept the villagers from severing her neck to get at that key.
When Wendy Nikel isn't traveling in time, exploring magical islands, or investigating mysterious phenomena, she enjoys a quiet life near Utah's Wasatch Mountains with her husband and sons. She has a degree in elementary education, a fondness for road trips, and a terrible habit of forgetting where she's left her cup of tea. Her short fiction has been published by AE, Daily Science Fiction, and others, and she is a member of SFWA. For more info, visit wendynikel.com.
Main Story: “Cherry Blossoms on the River of Souls” by Richard Parks
(Originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies #131, named to the 2013 Locus Recommended Reading List.)
The tales varied as to why the well was outside the village rather than inside. Some say that an earthquake and rockfall destroyed the original town site and the survivors rebuilt the village at a safer distance, leaving the now-dry well where it was. Others say that a saké-addled farmer relieved himself in the well one night, so offending the spirit of the well that it had moved itself and had been dry ever since. Whichever version one believed, the well was where it was, and nearly every evening the boy called Hiroshi came to stare down into the darkness, and listen.
The well was full of music.
Richard Parks has written and published science fiction and fantasy longer than he cares to remember... or probably can remember. His works were finalists for both the World Fantasy and Mythopoeic Awards, and has appeared in Asimov’s, Realms of Fantasy, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and several “year’s best” anthologies. Other adventures featuring Yamada no Goji were collected in Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter (Prime Books, 2013) and the novels Yamada Monogatari: To Break the Demon Gate and Yamada Monogatari: The War God’s Son (Prime Books, 2014 and 2015, respectively). Parks blogs at the Den of Ego and Iniquity Annex #3, also known as richard-parks.com.
About the Narrators:
Catherine Logan had many years of training in theatre and voice in her youth, and then many years of teaching acting, drama, writing, and English literature as a grown-up. She has taken plenty of workshops and has studio experience in narration, commercial and animation voiceover work. Catherine is now involved in a second career which takes her back to her first love. She can be reached at catherineloganvoice.com.
Eric Luke is the screenwriter of the Joe Dante film Explorers, which is currently in development as a remake; has written for 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 a bestseller on Audible.com. His website for creative projects is Quillhammer.com.