The sun was below the horizon and dusk quickly fading as Lee Cortez pulled his truck off the road into the gravel parking strip separating Highway 1 from the quiet depths of Blackwater Sound. He yanked a ratty camp chair from the truck bed then went back to the front. He hesitated over a pile of mementos, reaching out, then pulling back. Finally, he grabbed just his cooler and headed down to the shore."A Book in Winter" at Factor Four (fantasy)
There’s a book on my bookshelf, “Green Summer, Orange Leaves, Purple Lives” by Gina Marshall, a library book I checked out years ago and never managed to return. It sits there, nestled between a handful of cookbooks I’ve acquired over the years and failed to use and the Bible I was given on the day of my first Communion."Carolina" at Haven Spec (fantasy)
Randy Joe Eastman popped a few aspirin in his mouth and swallowed them with a mouthful of last night's coffee. Two in the afternoon and he still wasn't dressed for the day. But, hell, that'd been most of the last twenty-nine years, driving from city to city, playing a night or two at whatever club or bar or honkytonk would pay him enough to keep him going. There'd been those two years—nineteen and a half months, actually—back before grunge broke out of Seattle when an actual label had carried him and he'd been on something vaguely other than his own. Those days were so far gone that he often felt like they belonged to someone else."The Last of That Strange Wine" at The Colored Lens (fantasy) - (Available on Amazon)
The ferryman sipped the last of his ouzo and waved me over. "I'll take another," he said as I walked the length the bar. I grabbed a bottle and gave him a long pour. He raised his glass to me, then brought it to his lips. "I'm tired of coins, you know," he said. I knew, but just gave him a questioning look. "What use are they to me?" He drank the last drops from his refilled glass and stood. "I don't even need them here." It was true. All our drinks were free.If you enjoy one or more of these stories and are a member of SFWA, you can recommend them to others on the Recommended Reading list.