Horror & Dark Fantasy

Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017

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Fiction

Fiction

They Called Him Monster

The sprite feels wood against her fingertips. Old wood. It’s the wild, gnarled trunk of an oak tree hewn, shaped and molded back together as a table. It’s a free thing bound into shape by a carpenter until it becomes simply, elegantly, something tamed. Just like her.

Fiction

The Krakatoan

The summer I was nine, my third mother took off, taking most of the house off with her. The night she left, I found my dad kneeling on the floor in front of the open refrigerator, and he looked at me for too long. He was supposed to be at work.

Fiction

And Yet, Her Eyes

Sasha came back from Kandahar in pieces, a sack of broken glass in the shape of a woman. She knew her edges stuck out at hard, invisible angles, waiting for an unwary hand to snag and recoil, so she kept her eyes closed through the flight to Chicago, immersed in civilian travel-murmur but not part of it.

Fiction

Fishwife

The men went out in boats to fish the cold waters of the bay because their fathers had, because men in this village always had. The women waited to gather in the catch, gut and clean and carry the fish to market because they always had, mothers and grandmothers and so on, back and back.

Fiction

God of the Razor

Richards arrived at the house about eight. The moon was full and it was a very bright night, in spite of occasional cloud cover; bright enough that he could get a good look at the place. It was just as the owner had described it. Run down. Old. And very ugly. The style was sort of Gothic, sort of plantation, sort of cracker box. Like maybe the architect had been unable to decide on a game plan, or had been drunkenly in love with impossible angles.

Fiction

Shiva, Open Your Eye

The human condition can be summed up in a drop of blood. Show me a teaspoon of blood and I will reveal to thee the ineffable nature of the cosmos, naked and squirming. Squirming. Funny how the truth always seems to do that when you shine a light on it.

Fiction

The House on Cobb Street

The house itself was razed, its lot now surrounded by a high fence bearing a sign that announces the construction presumably in progress behind it as the future offices of Drs. Laura Gonzales and Didi Mueller, D.D.S. The principal witnesses in this case did not respond to repeated enquiries, and in one case, obtained a restraining order against this author. And the young woman in question is said by all to have disappeared, if indeed she ever existed in the first place.

Fiction

Feminine Endings

Let us begin this letter, this prelude to an encounter, formally, as a declaration, in the old-fashioned way: I love you. You do not know me (although you have seen me, smiled at me, placed coins in the palm of my hand). I know you (although not so well as I would like. I want to be there when your eyes flutter open in the morning, and you see me, and you smile. Surely this would be paradise enough?). So I do declare myself to you now, with pen set to paper. I declare it again: I love you.

Fiction

Doll Re Mi

Folscyvio saw the Thing in a small cramped shop off the Via Silvia. In fact, he almost passed it by. He had just come from the Laguna, climbed the forty mildewy, green-velveted steps to the Ponte Louro, and crossed over to the elevated arcades of the Nuova. Then he glanced down, and spotted Giavetti, who owed him money, creeping by below through the ancient alleys.

Fiction

Houses Under The Sea

When I close my eyes, I see Jacova Angevine. I close my eyes, and there she is, standing alone at the end of the breakwater, standing with the foghorn as the choppy sea shatters itself to foam against a jumble of gray boulders. The October wind is making something wild of her hair, and her back’s turned to me. The boats are coming in.