ISSUE 12, July 2017


Cover Art by Glass Valkyrie Studios




*Please enjoy our monthly issue for free. Be aware however, that this free version contains some formatting issues such as the abscence of italics. To experience the stories in their properly formatted versions, you can purchase a copy on Kindle or a print edition through Amazon.

The Visitors
By Randee Dawn

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Tabatha Rodriguez

Tabatha Rodriguez is a lover of all good (and so bad it's good) fantasy and science fiction who lives in Corinth, Texas.  She has two grown human sons, as well as several fur children, and enjoys traveling, reading, and (of course) writing.


What You Make of It
By Margery Bayne




Margery Bayne

Margery Bayne is a resident of Baltimore, MD, a graduate of Susquehanna University's Writers Institute, and works every day surrounded by books in a library. More about her and her work can be found at www.margerybayne.com.

The Girl Who Knew When
By M.C. Kaske



M. C. Kaske

M. C. Kaske is a PhD candidate studying educational communications in medicine at New York University. In the past, he has been recognized by the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) and the University of Illinois at Chicago for a graphic novel on cell biology, and has published work on science and medical education in various scholarly journals. Presently, he is writing popular science articles for the medical illustration community's newsletter and avidly writes speculative fiction with medical, science, and health-related themes. His most recent preceding fiction short story can be found in Theme of Absence, an online ezine.




The Witch of Strawhorn
By Shalini P. Sawkar

They climbed at first with fervor, later with fever.  The mountain was gargantuan with drops of snow here and there. They wondered if the witch had cast a spell on it so that no one apart from her would ever reach the top.
    But, to their surprise, they managed to climb to the top within a few hours.
There it was, atop the sun-kissed mountain: the hut of the Green Witch of Strawhorn. Dingy, with vines all over it, any hiker could’ve easily mistaken it for a modest cottage of a poor tribal man, but the Rebels of Strawhorn knew better. If what their spies had told them was true, they had to exterminate her from their lands.
    From the world, thought their leader.
They marched towards her hut with purpose. Swords drawn, fire at the ready. They knocked.
    “Who is it?” came an old voice from inside.
    “Open the doors!” roared the mob.
    There was a creak and the door swung open on its own.
The leader gulped. This was not going to be as easy as he’d imagined.
    He raised a hand, signaling the others to wait outside. He wanted to capture the witch all by himself. This was the perfect opportunity to strengthen his position as the Leader of the Rebels, and those who questioned it would learn to fear him. The people of Strawhorn would forever be indebted to serve him as their king.
    With that thought in mind, he stepped inside.
    “Lady Kansambia!” he announced, staring deep into her treacherous green eyes. “We meet at last!”
    “Please, call me Kansa,” she said, shaking his hand with her wrinkled one. “Would you like some water?”
    Lady Kansa raised a finger and water began to pour into a metal glass out of thin air.
    The leader’s eyes grew wide for an instant, but his anger overcame his initial fear. Not only was she a witch, but the fact that she used magic in plain sight, irked him.
    He thumped the glass on the table vigorously.
    “Witch of Strawhorn, I’ve not come here for small talk.”
    “Very well, then,” she said. The lady made the glass disappear with a flick of her fingers.
    He couldn’t contain it any longer.
    “You’re a witch! You truly are a witch!” he burst out.
    “Oh, but you already knew that.” The old lady smirked.
    “If what they say is true… ”
    She cackled.
    “Of course, it’s true,” she said, softly. “Every word.”
    “You have to leave the town.”
    “Or?”
    Her cool green eyes met his frightened ones, an unspoken threat passed between them. What could mere mortals like him do to her? Their numbers did not matter.
    But he composed himself quickly. Eager to take back control, he roared.
    “Or we’ll burn down your hut. We’ll cut you in half!”
    Even as he said it, he knew he had made a mistake. He hoped at least his words would reach the mob outside and they would come to his rescue.  
    The lady laughed louder. Only, there was no joy in her laughs, no mirth in her crooked smile, only evil.
    He had underestimated her. He should’ve let his spies handle it. He should have believed them. But, it was too late for that now. All he wanted at that instant was to get out alive.
And as if she read his thoughts, she said—
    “Right now, you’re the one who’ll be cut in half. Half a million pieces.” Lady Kansambia twisted her fingers and pointed them at the leader.
    “Mother!”
    An aghast scream.
    Lady Kansa’s aim faltered, and the door to the hut broke into a million pieces.
    “Brenda!” screamed Lady Kansa at the woman who came out of the kitchen. “Look what you’ve done!”  
The mob outside retreated as splinters of wood and metal flew at them.
“Mother, I will not let you kill him!” shouted the irate, blue-eyed woman. She was in her twenties, clad in armor, much like the mob. A sword clung to her waist. She looked nothing like her mother. She stepped forward to cover the leader, resisting her mother.
    A man marched into the hut with a bleeding forearm, the piece of wood still sticking out from the wound. Another followed. And the whole mob barged inside, screaming slogans.
“The witch to the pyre
The witch to the fire
The Rebels to the rescue of Strawhorn
From the clutches of evil desire.”
    Lady Kansa seethed with rage. She raised her fingers and aimed at the empty space they were entering from.
Brenda jumped in front of them, immediately.
    “Brenda! This isn’t about you! Why don’t you move aside and shut yourself up somewhere?” said Lady Kansa in a menacing whisper.
    “Oh, but it is about me, mother,” said Brenda. Her voice hitched. “It’s about every mortal, like me, who can’t perform sorcery. It’s about him, him, him, and their wives and children and every one of them.” Brenda pointed at the mob as if she knew them for ages.
Lady Kansa was taken aback.
    “You’ve hated me all your life. You were embarrassed that your daughter, Lady Kansambia’s daughter could not perform a single spell,” said Brenda, her eyes full of unshed tears. “You shut me away for a long time, Mother. Not anymore.”
    “Brenda, my dear, I never meant to hurt you. I was only trying to protect you.” she said, softening her tone. She moved closer and reached out to caress Brenda’s cheek, but she turned her face away.  
    “I’m not ashamed to be a mortal, neither am I afraid. I don’t need your protection! I despise you and your evil magic,” cried out Brenda, drawing her sword.
Brenda surveyed the hut. The mob surrounded them on all sides. Their swords aimed at her mother, while their leader cowered behind her.
    “I will not let you kill a mortal ever again,” said Brenda with conviction. “You have no choice but to surrender Lady Kansa!”
    “Very well then,” declared the witch, raising her fingers and mumbling a charm. “I’ll kill you first!”
Brenda ducked, but not in time. The spell hit Brenda’s shoulder. A chunk of her armor fell down, revealing a deep gash.
“Ah!” Brenda cried out, clutching her shoulder. She could not believe her mother actually attacked her.
The mob moved closer. Brenda immediately straightened her sword and held it tightly. She raised her other hand to the mob, signaling them to wait.
    “Please, It’s too dangerous. I’m trained. I’ve been practicing to take her down ever since I was ten,” she told them.
    She looked to each one. There was something in her eyes that made the mob stop.
    A bright ball of light flashed. Another one of Lady Kansa’s spells hit her. Brenda almost fell back.
    “I’m not killing you because you are my daughter. Now, go back and shut yourself up!” yelled Lady Kansa, raising another finger.
    In a swift move, Brenda gathered her balance and caught Lady Kansa’s wrist with her sword.
Lady Kansa’s eyes grew wide. “No! No!” She gasped, horrified at what her daughter was about to do.
    Brenda smiled. “Mother, say goodbye to magic.” She slashed her sword across her mother’s wrist and Lady Kansa’s magical hand hit the floor with a thud.
    Lady Kansa’s piercing scream echoed through the mountains and valleys of Strawhorn.
“That’s right! Witches must cry in pain—the worst thing that happened to the world,” said Brenda. She looked to the mob for cheers.
    “Aye! Aye!” they screamed in unison.
    “Now, bow down to this fine leader, Lord—” she looked at the man still hiding behind her.
    “L-Lord Edwin,” he fumbled. And then he said more confidently, “Lord Edwin of The Rebels of Strawhorn, the true ruler, the protector of the valley.”
    “Aye! Aye! Lord Edwin,” roared the Rebels.
“That’s right, Lord Edwin. He’s the true ruler of Strawhorn, the champion of the villagers,” said Brenda, looking at the mob. She noticed how their armors seemed old and dusty. They looked undernourished. She went on, “...the provider of rice and raisins. He will protect us all from any harm that comes to the land of Strawhorn. Now, bend a knee and ask for forgiveness mother,” said Brenda, looking her mother in the eye. “Do it, now.”
    Lady Kansa, in pain and fury, went down on her knees.
    “Aye!” screamed the mob.
    A look of relief on their faces, glee in their eyes, and before she knew it she heard a voice.
    “Lady Brenda!”
    Brenda turned.
    A man was raising his sword above his head. The whole mob grew silent. Lord Edwin was livid. The Rebels looked to one another in confusion. There was a low murmur, and before they knew it, another sword went up in the air.
    “Lady Brenda!”
    “Lady Brenda, the savior!” shouted a man.
    There was an unspoken understanding among the Rebels, and they all began to follow suit.
    “Lady Brenda,” the echo continued until all their swords were raised above their heads, in reverence.
    “Lady Brenda, the true ruler!” They all roared in unison.
    Brenda looked from Edwin to the crowd.     
Lord Edwin looked at them with disbelief. Grunting, he took his sword out and aimed it at Brenda. The whole mob roared and aimed their swords at him. Edwin swore and retreated, begrudgingly.
    Brenda raised her hand, and the crowd put their swords down. She looked at all their faces; troubled, exhausted from the journey, frightened, and yet hopeful.
    “Only for the sake of Strawhorn!” she said, smiling.
    And in a twist of fate, Edwin lost his only chance of ruling Strawhorn.
Once the mob retreated, the old witch said calmly, “It’s beginning to hurt you know. Do it fast—”
“Shh ma, they might hear you,” said Brenda, looking out the window at the retreating crowd. When they were out of sight, she raised her hand to fix her mother’s magical one.
    “Good show, Brendie.” The old woman winked.
    “The coronation’s day after tomorrow.” Brenda grinned. “Get ready to live in the palace.”



Shalini P. Sawkar

Shalini P. Sawkar is a writer of fantasy and fiction short stories, living in Bangalore, India. She is an avid reader and traveller. She has been to Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, U.A.E., Mauritius, and parts of Europe including London, Paris, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy. Her work has been published in the anthology Born Too Soon. She is also a computer science engineer and Coursera Mentor for Writing for Young Readers. Follow her on https://shalinipsawkar.wordpress.com

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An Act of Jade
By Brooke Reynolds


Eddie D. Moore

Eddie D. Moore’s job requires extensive traveling, and he spends much of that time listening to audio books. His stories have been published by Jouth Webzine, The Flash Fiction Press, Every Day Fiction, Theme of Absence, Flash Fiction Magazine, and the Centum Press. Find out more on his blog at: https://eddiedmoore.wordpress.com/.


About the Editor:
Madeline L. Stout

Madeline L. Stout started writing when she was a little girl and completed her first full-length novel at the age of 15. Mostly, she loves creating fantasy worlds filled with beautiful creatures and strong heroines. When her husband insists she takes a break from writing, she enjoys reading and gaming. She started Fantasia Divinity to give back to the writing community and to help spread great stories. Madeline is the author of the children’s series Once Upon a Unicorn


Want to know more? Madeline is featured in an interview by Cathleen Townsend, where she discusses the magazine and her writing.