Sunday, 15 July 2018

September Issue Open for Submissions.

Now closed for submissions.

From now until Sunday 12th August we are open for submissions.

We're past the solstice and as the sun begins to wain the shadows lengthen, a little more darkness creeps in every day. It may be summer now but autumn approacheth and autumn is a season for change. In keeping with this and the mythical beings cycle we're on this year (unicorns and faeries so far), the theme for our September issue is: Werewolves and other were-things.

Perhaps moonlight slants in through a morgue window and the body on the slab, the silver bullets removed in autopsy, twitches, convulses, shifts to something between wolf and man, and growls. It could be a scientist studying lycanthropy, ridiculed by his peers, out of funding, infecting himself in desperation. Or maybe the victims of the Whitechapel murders have organs expertly removed, but with wounds that show more similarities to claw than scalpel. Perhaps the injections for a new beauty treatment must be kept away from moonlight. Or an experimental warp drive punches an ark through space, but when they arrive the human passengers cannot find the animals they brought with them, until the the second sun rises and something twists inside them. A witch might take in a black cat on a moonlit night, only to find when the moon sets a young prince asleep on her kitchen floor.

Maybe the moon brings on the shift, or stress, anger, arousal, or some more unusual trigger. Maybe the transformation is completely to animal shape, or into some anthropomorphic horror in between. Think of change, think of the darker side of human nature represented in animal form.

While we wouldn't normally hold you back in any way, for this theme the one creative restriction we insist upon is that one half of the were-thing is human. Other than that, go wild...

There are, of course, the usual editorial restrictions. The story must be exactly one hundred words and the title only one word. The title cannot be Werewolf or Were[insert animal here] or any variation thereof. Full guidelines and submissions details are here.

We're primarily looking for science fiction, fantasy, horror or surreal but great writing always wins out, regardless of genre. Surprise us, delight us, entertain us.

Imagine. Create. Have fun!

Sunday, 3 June 2018

June 2018. Issue 19.

Welcome to issue 19, an issue of fey things and faeries, fairies and fair folk. The first issue of this cycle was unicorns, and this time we’ve delved further into folklore and legend, into those tricksy and mischievous fey, in all their forms, from the tiny to the tall. We’ve tried to capture the intangible, define the indefinable, and unveil things only ever seen at the periphery of vision

We have fairies in jars, in chains, in pieces. Fey on the run, on a plate, hiding behind the tea cups. And then there are those leading humans astray, whisking them away, toying with them; the mischief, the threats and the straight up violence. To some the wee ones are pests, a nuisance, a curiosity, barely more than another insect for the collector’s net.

Think you can trust your eyes? Check again, in the slippery shadows, between the stalks and stems of the garden, amongst the music and lights of the fairground...

People have always looked for ways to explain the unexplainable, or at least that which they do not yet understand. Hence gods, to explain the weather, the harvest, the grand movements of the earth and sky. And fairies (and their ilk), to explain the little things: the keys that aren’t where we left them; the shift in a child’s mood; milk gone sour. Nowadays science explains these things, or perhaps that’s just a modern way to explain away the gods and fair folk that we still don’t understand.

We think you should make your own mind up, but you should always be open for at least a little wonder in the world.

Read.

Absorb.

Enjoy.



____

Keep scrolling down for the tiny fairy tales, or click here to bring up issue 19 in its entirety.

Or maybe you want a copy to keep for later, for the bus or the bath or with breakfast, and you can have one, a teeny tiny free .pdf, downloadable (right click and save) right here.


Kidnap

by Colin D. Smith

“Come with me,” the young girl said
Sitting cross-legged on the bed,
Her hand extended to the child
Who yawned and stretched, then blinked and smiled.
“Come with you? I like it here;
“My pillow’s soft, and my parents near.”
“I have a place,” the girl enticed,
“Where nights are long and dreams are nice,
“Where no-one will disturb your sleep.
“Come with me; this place will keep.”
The child thought hard, then rose to stand,
And with a nod she took her hand.
The young girl laughed, then sang a song,
And with a blink, the two were gone.



Author bio: I am a writer of flash fiction, short stories, and novels living in Eastern North Carolina.
blog: http://www.colindsmith.com/blog
twitter: http://www.twitter.com/colin_d_smith

Kidnap is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Fairground

by Liz Tuckwell

As entranced by the bright lights and swirling rides of the fairground as her twin daughters, gradually, she notices every fairground worker is tall, slender, with watchful dark eyes and pointed ears. They ride on the carousel. All the garish, painted horses have horns.

‘Free candyfloss.’

The girls receive a pink fluffy cone each.

‘No, let me pay.’

‘Something for nothing.’

Sharply, she tells her twins to return their gift. They step back, take a disobedient mouthful.

And vanish. As do the people. As does the fairground.

Two mouldy apples, one bite out of each, lie on the desolate ground.



Author bio: Liz Tuckwell is a British science fiction and fantasy writer, living in London. Her short fantasy story, The Mysterious Mr. Fox, will be included in the forthcoming BFS anthology Emerging Horizons, showcasing new writers, to be published in 2018 and another fantasy story will be published in the anthology, Magic CSI, due out in the next few months.

Fairground is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Hexenring

by Duke Trott

I will never forget the impossible exhaustion in his eyes, or his cries, which alerted us to his presence at the wood’s edge.

“Please end the dance,” he sobbed, “let me rest, let me die.”

I thought I heard a child giggle, as we dragged the raving man into the doctor’s home, but his screams drowned it out.

“You’re all fools!” he shouted hoarsely, grabbing our lapels, trying to make us understand, seemingly unconcerned by the ragged remains of his feet, which left long red stains across the floor.

“These clothes…” said the doctor, “they remind me of my grandfather’s…”



Author bio: Duke Trott is a writing currently living in Michigan, His work has recently appeared in Occulum and Bad Pony. When he’s not writing poetry, he’s usually reading comics, or researching tips for improving homemade bread.

Hexenring is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Enchanted

by Margaret McGoverne

Perry hurried back from the supermarket. They were excavating ground for new houses and digging was hungry work. The lads were waiting.

She perched astride a bulldozed tree. Slim, brown leggings, camouflage jacket.

“Perry?”

As she spoke he forgot the lads, his job, his own name. He forgot his why, his wherefore.

“I’m Fay.”

She toyed with his hair, knotting his man bun. Her emerald gaze pinioned him.

“Brought me something?”

He surrendered the bag.

“Bread and milk!” she breathed, and he laughed; his offering pleased her.

Clasping her hand, he followed her through uprooted hawthorns, onwards, followed her forevermore.



Author bio: Margaret McGoverne recently published her first novella, The Battle of Watling Street, and is working on the sequel, while being distracted by short stories, flash fiction and her blog about all things writing: http://margaretmcgoverne.com/

Enchanted is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Dinner

by Samantha O’Brien

The moment had finally arrived, I was so excited! A hush crept across the hazy room as we awaited the main course. So far I was not sure the hype was deserved. The servers removed the covers and a loud applause rang out as the surprise was revealed at each table. Small humanoid creatures flitted against gilded bars, tears rolled down their cheeks and terror was in their almond eyes. I retched, horrified, as my companions reached forth and took up the now shrieking creatures, eating them alive. Next thing, I was looking at the stars, initiation failed, forever barred.



Author bio: Born in Liverpool forty plus years ago and now living in Dublin. I would happily live in a library. I love reading to the local school children and helping to foster a love of reading and storytelling.

Dinner is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Pinned

by John Xero

“The other collection.”

Confusion furrowed Ian’s brow. He indicated the open draw with a sweep of his manicured hand. “This is the collection.”

It was magnificent. Butterflies from five continents shimmering in the bright, precise lighting. They could have been in motion, but for the pins driven through them, the regimented display like no cloud of flutter-bys had ever flown.

The viscount was unimpressed, a sword suddenly in his gloved hand.

Ian was pinned to the wall.

A hidden switch and another draw opened. Of iridescent wings and tiny limbs. Faeries at rest, but for the pins, driven through them.



Author bio: There’s always an ‘other collection,’ you just have to know how to blag/ bully/ buy your way in. John Xero has a few collections available for public perusal...
xeroverse.com
@xeroverse
Even a few floating around from way back when, like HddnTrcks
And the ‘other collection’? Well...

Pinned is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Fidelity

by Simon Lee-Price

My wife Donna is unrivalled as a children’s illustrator. Male fairies are her speciality. Her brush captures their shy beauty, the lightness of their wings, the magical gleam in their eyes. Even the fabled fairy spirit, so gentle and free, finds expression in her paintings. Her models are freshly gathered from a secret place deep in the woods. Seated at her easel, she asks me to fetch the finest specimen from the crowded fairy cage. The little man is quite helpless and trembles for his life. He stands before her, head bowed, wings clipped, his pretty legs restrained in irons.



Author bio: Simon Lee-Price lives and writes in the UK. His strange fiction has appeared in The Breakroom Stories, Five:2:One, Torrid Literature Journal and Sirens Call. Follow him on Twitter @SimonLeePrice.

Fidelity is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Choices

by Stella Turner

He’d always coveted a faerie and this one was special. Delicate and lithe with a soft blue aura. He kept her in a bell jar and watched as she battled vainly to escape. Sometimes she’d crumple in a heap, her wings soggy with emotion. He wondered what special powers she possessed and one day she told him of being trapped between heaven and hell, promising him riches if he let her go. But he was tired of fairy tales and next morning he swapped her for a Leprechaun – crocks of gold, rainbows and Irish whisky being more to his taste.



Author bio: I'm Stella Turner and known as @stellakateT on twitter. I have had flash fictions published in anthologies and long-listed several times in the Fish Flash Fiction competition. One day I will write a novel by persuading myself it’s just a series of flashes strung together :)

My blog can be found at 
http://stellalikesspidersandothermyths.blogspot.com/

Choices is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Brunch

by Sandy Hiortdahl

The twins huddle behind my husband’s teacup, snickering so that their dark curls bounce when he drops a teabag into it and asks, “Have you moved my spoon again?”

I have not. Indeed, I’ve never touched his grandmother’s teaspoon. The twins in whom he does not believe hide it. Today, I see the younger one glance left and I spy the spoon beneath my husband’s Motortrend. “There,” I say.

He grins and retrieves it. The fairies dart right, disappearing behind the toaster, though not quite quickly enough this time. “Did you see something?”

“Nothing,” I say.

“Huh,” he says, “Okay.”



Author bio: Sandy Hiortdahl lives in a small brick house in East Tennessee. She's been published in Thema and Metonym, among others. Her website is www.sandyhiortdahl.com

Brunch is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Existentialism

by Allen Ashley

“I don’t believe in them, they’re not real.” Betty continued exploring the bright yellow flowers.

“Well, I’ve seen them, I’m certain,” Agatha responded. “You have to know where to look. And when.”

“Sounds like a silly bedtime story to me. We ought to have grown out of that by now.”

“My mother says we should be scientific about it,” Agatha countered. “We don’t see them because they experience time differently to us. I can’t remember whether she said it was faster or slower. Quite an interesting explanation, though.”

Betty fluttered her tiny wings, alighted the petals. “Believe in humans? Nah!”



Author bio: Allen Ashley is a committee member for the British Fantasy Society. He works as a creative writing tutor with five groups currently running, including the advanced science fiction / fantasy group Clockhouse London Writers. He appeared in “101 Fiction: Heroes and Monsters” with “Entwining”. www.allenashley.com

Existentialism is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Thief

by Mary Casey

The trap is set with my favourite socks. White, with shamrocks. The washer next to me is filling. My timing must be perfect.

I observe one sock floating in the air above the rest, held in place by a being the size of a hornet, with fluff for hair and long teeth, like the teeth of a comb.

The fairy pulls it apart, thread by thread, and swallows.

Not caring if my hand is shredded, I reach out and grab the thief. I slam open the washer, throw him in, and grin as the sock fairy suffers the spin cycle.



Author bio: Mary Casey lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she writes prose and poetry in between chasing socks.

Thief is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Infestation

by Lyric Hyde

“That it?”

“Yes, up there.”

The pixies swarmed the old box, their tails illuminating the ramshackle houses they had built.

“Normally I wouldn’t call an exterminator, but they keep attacking my cats. I even tried offerings,” Aria fretted. “Can you handle it?”

“Course I can handle it,” Gunther grumbled. “It’s my job.”

The exterminator crept up to the box. The tiny creatures froze, studying him. A couple hissed, baring rows of sharp teeth.

“You don’t want to breathe this,” Gunther called down to Aria. He pulled down his mask and held the nozzle up to the pixie nest. “Goodnight, bugs.”



Author bio: Lyric Hyde is a high school student that wishes to go into a writing career, at least as a secondary job. As well as writing, she enjoys learning, music, anime, and a good book. Fairly new to posting her writing, Lyric has started a website called Animarret.wordpress.com, but she can also be found at various websites, including Wattpad, Get Underlined, Prose, and Young Writer's Society under the name Animarret-Writing.

Infestation is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Spawn

by Shannon Bell

Gavin watched, disbelieving, as a flower uprooted itself, ran to him, and spat a sickly-smelling liquid over him. His skin itched, and hundreds of small pustules appeared, a tiny foetal form curled within each one.

A voice tinkled in the air. "Protect the host.”

Golden mist enveloped him.

He wasn't sure how long he lay there, paralysed. Days? Months? Time moves differently in their world.

The pustules all erupted together, the air filling with fledgling fairies.

A voice tinkled in the air. "Consume the host."

"Oh fuck," he whispered, as hundreds of heads turned towards him, their teeth-filled mouths gaping.



Author bio: Shannon Bell is addicted to words. You will find him madly writing away in the spare time he has available between holding down a full-time job, being part of a dysfunctional family and looking after his attention seeking dog. His stories have been published in Dark Edifice, Short & Twisted, 101 Fiction and strippedlit500. You can follow Shannon on Twitter at @ShannonBell1967.

Spawn is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Secret

by Marie McKay

I stuffed the fairy's tongue into a locker at school. Left it there among the rows of other dark holes plugged shut with scaled-down doors. When I stand back and take them all in, they remind me of a mortuary wall.

It's not over. My secret has a grudge and a knuckle in its voice.

I pass it on my way to class. It’s grown lips and learnt to punch:

“Shitface. You can't keep me here. You know it, right!'”

Winded, I scuttle down the corridor.

Soon it will be more than mouth. And for the wand it will come.



Author bio: I live in Scotland. I have stories published in various places online including, 100 word story, Bending Genres and Easy Street. I also have stories published in The Infernal Clock anthology series.

Secret is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Eyesore

by Holly Karlsson

My mama left me three things – a temper, hotter than a supernova, a Tedaskerian saw-blade that can mince bone, and a small, rowan-wood pendant, shaped like a peach pit.

Mama believed in grit and faeries, and I was wise enough never to call bullshit on the latter. Forgive me, Mama, for ever doubting.

Today I woke up beneath a warm corpse. A mythical creature is squatting on Aelin’s back, and peering into my face.

My blade passes through its side, like a hand through smoke.

The fairy laughs, and stabs a finger into my eye. “Should’ve tried iron, little human.”



Author bio: Holly Karlsson is a storyteller and fervent mountain roamer. Her flash fiction can be found online at hollyjkarlsson.com.

Eyesore is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Knocking

by John Xero

“What is that noise?” Kindra growled.

Rika looked at the tiger, astonished. “You hear it?”

 “Who couldn’t?” Kindra thrashed his tail.

Dust drifted, glittering, from the ceiling of the cave with each resounding knock.

“I’ve heard it my whole life,” Rika whispered, “but now is the moment. Now.”

“You’re talking nonsense. The armies of man and their gunpowder roars have broken into the mounds of your kin. We must flee.”

“Go, Kindra. Any debt you owe me is paid. But this sound was pounding in my mind before mankind first tamed wild fire. Destiny or death, it must be answered.”



Author bio: John Xero has been set adrift, and seeks a new destiny. If it must be tigers and stars and wonder, then so be it, he will cope, somehow.
Places he should update more often: xeroverse.com @xeroverse

Knocking is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Elsewhere

by Daniel Thron

Waiting for the gas to take effect, I regard the patient’s acorn head: beneath his knobby cupule lies a placid, smooth-cheeked face, like a kid in a knit cap on a snowy day. The image sticks with me, and even after we have the go-ahead from the anaesthesiologist, I still I can’t help but hesitate. I know his eyes won’t move, his mouth won’t go slack; they are only an improbable arrangement of spots that induce pareidolia. As I make the first incision along the base of his thorax, I still feel him looking up at me, guileless and content.



Author bio: Daniel Thron is a writer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles.  He largely pays the bills with visual effects, and his work can be seen in movies such as David Fincher's 'Zodiac' and 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,' as well as 'Blade Runner 2049' and 'Avengers: Infinity War.'

Elsewhere is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

Expatria

by Renée Bennett

The shadows slide; you turn your head. Jewels in darkness, a crown upon a brow...

So? You turn away.

He’s there again in morning mist, white curling along flank and cloak... You stare a little longer, but he chose her. You chose here. That matters.

Tears on your face. That matters, too.

Gold and silver afternoon dazzles in a parking lot. Limned in light, the steed, the rider, the hand reaching for yours. “Come.” Off the steed, on one knee. “Come home. We – I – regret. Can I be forgiven?”

You say, “Can I?”

Smiles. Fingers touch.

The steed carries two.



Author bio: Renée Bennett is an author and editor living in Calgary, Canada. When asked, ‘What do you write?’ she replies, ‘Anything I please.’ This is why her bibliography includes Arthuriana, jazzpunk, and zombie erotica, among other genres. Her most recent work has appeared in the ENIGMA FRONT series of anthologies. Look for her in BY THE LIGHT OF CAMELOT, available July, 2018, from Edge Publishing.

Expatria is part of 101 Fiction issue 19.

June 2018. Issue 19. Postscript.

The end. It's never really the end though, is it? Especially if you're here on Sunday 3rd June, 2018. If that day is today, then today is the very day this issue is happening, with tiny stories and big mischief flying in on shimmering wings through the hours. Keep checking back for more stories.

It's not even the end if this is a later date and you've read everything issue 19 has to offer. The beauty of an issue 19 is that there are 18 issues before it. 4 full theme cycles, a Halloween special and the first issue of this cycle - March's unicorn issue. And we're not even done there! Before we went quarterly we published stories every week, often two or more, for over two years. Just keep scrolling back, they're all there. Can you hear them, like distant music, tempting you in? But like a fairy mound, you might wander in for an hour, and wander out again to find years passed in the real world.

The end is also where we say thank you. Thank you for visiting, and reading. Thank you to everyone who blogs, tweets and retweets; everyone who passes on the word; everyone who gives our tiny stories tiny wings of their own. As always, the biggest thank you of all goes to the contributors, our authors make this place happen and we are forever grateful to them.

If you want to join in, to be a part of our world of tiny wonders, then keep an eye on 101 Fiction or on our twitter for our next theme and submissions period. We'll try to shout about it when it happens too.

Until then...

Keep writing.

Keep reading.

Have fun.

-John Xero.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

June issue open for submissions.

Now CLOSED for submissions.

From now until Sunday 13th May we are open for submissions.

This year's theme cycle is another round of mythical creatures. We've already had unicorns, and now we're going to the strange soft places between here and there, between dreams and the place they call IRL, more specifically to the folk that live there. The new theme is: fairies.

Fairy (or faerie or fair folk or fey), little folk or no, covers a broad spectrum of folklore, myth, and legend. And we're happy to hear of them all, as long as they identifiably fit the spectrum, through form or act.

Your story could be the gardener, breaking through the topsoil into a network of tunnels, and the tiny winged folk that swarm him, knives of flint slashing. The woman who follows strange music and finds an odd folk feasting and dancing; who joins the revelry and leaves the next day, to find her friends all long gone and her daughter grown old, great spires of steel and glass where she remembers only town houses. Perhaps the cyborcops of Futurciti bust a drugs lab where the workers are distilling an addictive pearly powder from song and lost children. Or as the king holds his firstborn in his arms, slender figures gather in the shadows to remind him of the pact he once swore, that kept him on the throne, and the price he must pay, as they offer one of their own in exchange.

We're primarily looking for fantasy, horror and science fiction, with a little surreal and crime thrown in for good measure, but ultimately we'll accept the best fiction we see, regardless of genre. If it excites and ensorcels us, it's in.

The story must be exactly 100 words long, with a one word title. The title cannot be fairy, or any variation thereof. Please check out the full guidelines and submissions information here.

Imagine. Create. Have fun!


Sunday, 4 March 2018

March 2018. Issue 18.

Issue 18, the first issue with 18 stories, the first issue of 2018. Welcome. And what wonders do we have for you this snowy March? Why, we have unicorns. Magical mystical creatures, pure of heart and soul, bright lights trotting through the shadowy fields of myth, right? Well... we’ve always liked to do things a little differently round here.

Oh sure, one or two of our unicorns are heroes and inspirations, of sorts. And some of our unicorns are victims too – after all, who could pass up that much magic bound in one being; just think what you could do with all that power. But plenty of our unicorns are not so meek, the moonlit horn you wouldn’t want to meet in the middle of the lonely night; these unicorns are thieves and murderers, parasites and monsters. And then there are the unicorns that aren’t even unicorns at all.

Unicorns have seen a recent resurgence in popular culture, for both children and adults. There’s a lot of sparkle and rainbows and innocent delight, and we wouldn’t want to deny any of that, but hopefully we’ve added a little something, in our own way. A little friction, a little seasoning and spice to heighten the flavour, a little shadow and contrast to make the brightness pop.

Join us on our strange journey through permutations of unicorn.

Read.

Absorb.

Enjoy.


____

Keep scrolling down for the teeny tiny tales, or click here to bring up the whole issue.

But wait! Maybe you want to download the issue in a handy .pdf format for later perusal and digesting, over breakfast, a lunch break, or accompanying a midnight snack. And you can! Right click and save right here.

Courage

by Lucy Underhill

A stuffed unicorn head, with a wooden heart impaled upon its horn, hung outside our family apothecary.

My great-grandmother sat black shawl-wrapped in a shadowy corner of the shop, amongst gleaming bottles of curling herbs. “Your great-grandfather was a fearless explorer who searched the Hidden Isles for rare and powerful plants. On a mountain top one dawn, he was startled by a wild, goat-eyed unicorn. He shot his musket, but the horned beast’s dying desire was his death.”

“And his pierced heart hangs on the sign outside?”

She wiped a tear from her lashes. “No, my dear. That is mine.”



Author bio: Lucy Underhill lives in London with her partner and a chug named Dolly.

Courage is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Tethered

by Amy Triplett

I'm so sorry we hurt you, I say. You are our family, I say. You are precious and beautiful and deserve every good thing, I say. I wince as I stroke your muzzle and try not to see him mending the broken chains that bind your flanks and withers.

Your horn was bright with furious triumph and stained red, but with my loving words I can see that light fade as you calm.

We were so lucky to find a unicorn in the wild. Our lives – and our relationship – have never been better. Your magic keeps us whole and unbroken.



Author bio: Amy is a writer, a coder, a jewellery maker, and a science fiction/ fantasy enthusiast.

Tethered is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Sacrifice

by Shannon Bell

“Eat it.”

“I can’t. The guilt is too great.”

“A unicorn heart bestows eternity, but you must eat it while it’s beating.”

Tears leaked from my eyes. I bit into the flesh. Blood dribbled down my chin and the heart beat softly against my lips. “Where is the horn?”

“The horn is my payment.”

 Magic surged through me, healing what was broken and diseased and granting eternal life. I looked at the ruined forehead, the sightless eyes, the gaping hole in the chest. I cradled my face in my bloody hands. “It’s a horse,” I whispered. “It’s only a horse.”



Author bio: Shannon Bell is addicted to words. You will find him madly writing away in the spare time he has available between holding down a full-time job, being part of a dysfunctional family and looking after his attention seeking dog. His stories have been published in Dark Edifice, Short & Twisted, 101 Fiction and strippedlit500. You can follow Shannon on Twitter at @ShannonBell1967.

Sacrifice is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Imaginary

by John Xero

Jeremy stared at his father’s blood, spreading across the kitchen floor. It pooled around his socks, soaking into the thick cotton and touching his feet with unfamiliar warmth and intimacy.

One of the puncture wounds sputtered, as if running dry, then slurped and continued to flow.

“Samuel?” The child whimpered with a voice tiny as he was, in a kitchen a million times bigger than it used to be.

“Yes, Jeremy?” The unicorn nuzzled his friend’s face.

“You saved me.”

“Yes, Jeremy.”

But Samuel knew the real world was never so simple. The police did not believe in imaginary friends.



Author bio: John Xero believes that imagination is a powerful thing, a true friend will always be there for you, and reality is what you make it. Now he just needs to put that into practice and make an awesome reality...

@xeroverse
xeroverse.com

Imaginary is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

E

by Nathan Alling Long

There were many rumours about Mr. E, that the E stood for Eccentric, or Erratic, or Erotic. No one knew. But here Jacob sat in Mr. E’s dining room, sipping tea from a plain white mug, talking about philosophy. Everything seemed quite normal.

Almost.

Jacob couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right, though the lamp gave off a warm glow against the soft white walls, and the mug felt magical in his hands.

He didn’t know that it was made of a unicorn horn, the walls were painted in mermaid milk, and the lamp shade made from unspeakable skin.



Author bio: Nathan’s collection of fifty flash fiction, The Origin of Doubt, was just released from Press 53. His unpublished collection, Two Stories, Some Tales, and a Yarn, was a finalist for the Hudson Book Manuscript Prize and a semifinalist for the Iowa Fiction Award.  For more information, other stories, or essays, please visit http://wp.stockton.edu/longn/.

E is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Virgil

by Susannah Jordan

Missing Person Report:
Virgil Winterbottom was last seen outside the Danville Piggly Wiggly at approximately 3 a.m. on April 9th, brandishing a pair of hoof trimmers. He is described as “average in every way” by his mother, with brown hair and an unfinished tribal tattoo on his right buttock. He was in full camouflage, with mismatched hunting boots, and drove off in a white Ford Pinto with a horn stuck to the hood. Friends say he was headed to Northern Michigan to hunt unicorns. Anyone with information should contact local police. Piggly Wiggly is offering free counselling to those affected.



Author bio: Susannah Jordan earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Queens University of Charlotte. Her flash fiction and poetry have appeared in Rathalla Review, The Mystic Blue Review, Cold Coffee Stand, Daphne Magazine, Twisted Sister, 50-Word Stories, Tiny Text, and Apocrypha and Abstractions. Her artwork and photography have appeared in formercactus, Gravel, The Tishman Review, Oxford Magazine, Cold Creek Review, Figroot Press, Riggwelter Press, Cotton Xenomorph, and Calamus Journal. She has work forthcoming in Orson’s Review.

Virgil is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Tanisha

by Renée Bennett

Stomp.

Tanisha puts her foot down, her fists up. Cindy from first grade runs, weeping. Tanisha gets detention. She spends it playing with the shadows on the wall – sweep of neck, curve of tail.

Stomp.

Tanisha teaches Robert that No is N-O, not M-A-Y-B-E. He spreads cellphone and whisper innuendo. Tanisha walks proud even in the teeth of scorn. Eyes bright, head high, heels sharp and sure at graduation.

Stomp.

Engines respond: forty million horsepower. Tanisha sticks the foam horn on her helmet; co-pilot Colin lifts a brow. “My mother’s little joke.”

“Not so little,” he says. She grins.

Lift-off!



Author bio: Renée Bennett is an author and editor living in Calgary, Canada. When asked, ‘What do you write?’ she replies, ‘Anything I please.’ This is why her bibliography includes Arthuriana, jazzpunk, and zombie erotica, among other genres. Her most recent work has appeared in the ENIGMA FRONT series of anthologies. Look for her in BY THE LIGHT OF CAMELOT, available July, 2018, from Edge Publishing.

Tanisha is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Scourge

by R.S. Bohn

Grinna Grumpmutt lifted a boot caked in iridescent muck.

She hated unicorn brains. Only thing worse was unicorn entrails after a recent meal. Dragonflies, hamsters, swallowed whole and writhing feebly, half digested, in that rainbow of guts.

The only orc in Parasite Removal meant she got the 'corns. Typically, a couple a year.

There'd been twelve this month already.

Vacation beckoned in fourteen hours – a swampy slice of heaven in Louisiana.

Her walkie screeched, "Got another one! Library!"

Grinna snarled. She had no time for a damned plague of the things.

Wiping her badge, she mounted her scooter.

Countdown on.



Author bio: R.S. Bohn officially has no comment on allegations that Stephen Cosgrove based his 1978 book, "Misty Morgan," the story of a princess and her unicorn, on her. She can definitively say, however, that Scholastic book fairs at her school were, without a doubt, the best days of the school year.

Scourge is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Imposters

by Joseph Davidson

When they came, they only wanted two of each species. It became clear that we weren’t the equine masterpieces they were going to choose.

Their data was faulty, so when the broodmare and I managed to embed horn-like shards of farm rubble into our skulls they thought they had found the last of our kind. We traded grisly incineration for permanent headaches.

Ours was the grandest cage of them all. A place of honour. I traded with one of the bipeds for a steady supply of pink glitter.

If their data said our shit sparkled, then it damn well would.



Author bio: Joseph is a student from Boise, Idaho working towards a degree in Creative Writing with an emphasis on fiction. He likes weird stories, hanging out with dogs, and believing in unicorns. You can find him on Twitter @thew0ck.

Imposters is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Commission

by Benjamin Niespodziany

I trampled back to the weekend market with my bag: my ill-purchased scam. Like fool's gold. Like knotted clown shoes. I approached the store surrounded by pomegranate trees and shouted a bath of potato wine at the owner's face, demanding my money back. “I should've known this is not a unicorn horn, this is not magic! This is just narwhal! Cheap, plentiful narwhal!” Mid ramble, I looked over and saw a timid family of narwhals selling the clerk handfuls of their own sawed-off horns, tearfully saying how unicorn commissions are the only way to afford diapers for their little ones.




Author bio: Benjamin Niespodziany is a librarian at the University of Chicago who runs a multimedia art blog known as neonpajamas. He self-released a chapbook of poems in December known as Dress Code Aquarium and has had work published in The Occulum, formercactus, tenderness, yea, Water Soup Press, and 1833.fm.

Twitter/IG/Facebook/SoundCloud: @neonpajamas

Commission is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Trial

by John Xero

“You broke sacred law, and in the most heinous way. You interacted with the real world, you killed an adult.”

The chamber filled with agitated snorting. Angry hoofs stomped the ground.

Samuel lifted his horn high, defiant. “I upheld something greater: the essence of our existence. I protected a child, my friend, from a horror far greater than the dark, a monster more real than any under the bed.”

“Irrelevant. We are imaginary friends, not part of reality. That is the One Law, now tarnished with death and stained with blood. You will be exiled, Samuel: an eternity in darkness.”



Author bio: John Xero believes in doing the right thing. It isn’t always easy, but you have to try, right? He likes to write too, and that isn’t always easy, but...

@xeroverse
xeroverse.com

Trial is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Canny

by R.S. Bohn

“If you see such a thing, find Gregory. At the Pious Goat.” The man bent, his coat falling open enough to reveal the glint of a silver dagger within, as he passed the coin. “Careful, little man. They're canny beasts. And they eat boys.”

When the man had passed the giant sycamore, Daniel whistled. A shape coalesced from the birch. It snorted, stomping a huge hoof into the deadfall and thwacking its single, spiraling ivory horn against a tree before changing again.

“Shame someone didn’t eat him when he was a boy.”

 Daniel shrugged. “Never mind, momma. Let's go home.”



Author bio: R.S. Bohn officially has no comment on allegations that Stephen Cosgrove based his 1978 book, "Misty Morgan," the story of a princess and her unicorn, on her. She can definitively say, however, that Scholastic book fairs at her school were, without a doubt, the best days of the school year.

Canny is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Agunni

by Samantha O’Brien

The women glided forward, closing the circle they had made. Their hair, each a different shade of copper, tousled by the jasmine-scented wind, was hypnotising. The travel agency had told me that this place was off the beaten track, they also told me not to roam on nights like this. As I gazed upon the ladies, I wondered why. When the last of the seven moons finally peaked above the horizon they changed, they morphed. I swear I had not been drinking. They became single-horned beasts with hooves and blazing eyes. I ran screaming as they bayed and gave chase.



Author bio: Born in Liverpool forty plus years ago and now living in Dublin. I would happily live in a library. I love reading to the local school children and helping to foster a love of reading and storytelling.

Agunni is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Allure

by Michael Turner

It emerged from the brush, striding on silent mist, its eyes gleaming with starlight, its mane soft like a cloud. She cheered and ran to greet the beautiful creature. It padded closer, lowering its head and braying in a dulcet tone, like it was singing. Two steps away and she was pushed to the ground. Her father stepped in front of her. He lurched suddenly. The beast reared, lifting her father on its horn and flinging him to the dirt. She stared as it leaned down, lapping up her father’s blood. It lifted its head, starlit eyes locking with hers.



Author bio: An aspiring storyteller from Manchester, Michael Turner is a man with his head in the clouds, day-dreaming of stars. When he isn’t writing, he’s usually thinking about what to write next.  Amidst his addiction for crafting characters and various fantasy worlds, Michael works to balance his hobbies of comic books, drawing and Dungeons and Dragons. A self-confessed nerd in love with fantasy and science-fiction, he has recently gained a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and is working towards producing a novel in the future, whilst dabbing in short stories.

Allure is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Twisted

by Liz Tuckwell

The golden pomander around his royal neck disguised the nauseating stench of the king’s wounded leg.

Undeterred, the unicorn gently laid its curved, pure white horn against the swollen, oozing flesh. Red and gangrenous became pink, healthy flesh. The unicorn transformed into a beautiful maiden and the delighted king grabbed her, kissing and fondling.

She struggled. “Let me go! Give me my reward.”

“To be my courtesan and most valued possession.”

Her soft human skin shifted back to glossy unicorn hide. The king stumbled back, lacerated by sharp hooves. The last thing he saw, a twisted horn of deepest black.



Author bio: Liz Tuckwell is a British science fiction and fantasy writer, living in London. She has had one short science fiction story, The Boom Show, published recently in BFS Horizons, a British Fantasy Society periodical. A short fantasy story, The Mysterious Mr. Fox, will be included in the forthcoming BFS anthology Emerging Horizons, showcasing new writers, to be published in 2018.

Twisted is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Debt

by John Xero

Bleak Wood rattled around him; dark branches scraped the night like fingernails, clutching at him as he forced his way deeper. Milky light splashed the trees, seeping from the white sceptre grasped in his right hand – the only illumination in that cursed place.

Reality was a fragile thing for Jeremy. Truth too. Product of childhood trauma, therapy and hypnotism, alcohol and drugs.

Watching his young son playing with an imaginary friend had brought piercing epiphany. Truth like lightning. A debt remembered.

Jeremy crashed into a clearing, saw the unicorn bound in black chains at its centre.

“Now I save you.”



Author bio: John Xero loves a hero. But the hero’s journey is never easy; sad to say that’s part of the deal; it’s what makes their eventual triumph all the more glorious.
@xeroverse
xeroverse.com

Debt is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Monster

by Brigitte Winter

Outside the holding cage, my mentor paces.

“Let me in!”

My fist tightens around the key.

“They’re coming!”

The banner over her shoulder proclaims, “Fantasy Camp! Opening Soon!”

We’ll never open now. Thank God.

She presses her forehead to the bars. ”Please.”

In my lap, the young dragon I raised from a hatchling lies dead, pierced through the heart. I picture the mermaids, faces kicked in, drifting in the lagoon.

“You bred monsters,” I say.

“I didn’t know.”

Behind her, one of the beasts appears, mane spattered with blood, horn glittering through gore.

I cover my ears and turn away.



Author bio: Brigitte Winter is a storyteller, a jewelry-maker, the co-founder of No Discipline Arts Collective, and the Executive Director of Young Playwrights’ Theater, a Washington, DC nonprofit that inspires young people to realise the power of their voices through creative writing. Brigitte’s short fiction is featured in the 2016 City of Weird: 30 Otherworldly Portland Tales anthology by Forest Avenue Press, Columbia Writers’ 2014 anthology, Trapped Tales, and the 2017 Enter the Apocalypse anthology by Tanstaafl Press. All of her celebrity crushes are on authors. Visit Brigitte at brigittewinter.com, and stay tuned for her latest project: a pre-apocalyptic coming-of-age adventure novel.

Monster is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

Home

by Ian Steadman

We found her under Vauxhall Bridge, our unicorn. Her horn had snapped to a jagged nub, her flanks sodden like wet felt. Someone had covered her with a blanket, stained and reeking, as if she was already dead.

We took her home.

She thrived at first, on a diet of green tea and chicken Pot Noodles. But a week later, her eyes glazed over. One morning she was gone, along with Archie’s fake Rolex and all the coppers in the coin jar. The last we heard, she was seen heading west on Harrow Road, ruined horn raised to dying sun.



Author bio: Ian Steadman is a writer from the south of England. His stories have most recently been published by Black Static, Unsung Stories, Storgy and The Year's Best Body Horror. You can find him at iansteadman.com, or he sometimes manifests on Twitter as @steadmanfiction.

Home is part of 101 Fiction issue 18.

March 2018. Issue 18. Postscript.

Welcome to the tail end of issue 18. The ride is over, time to dismount and return the unicorn to its stable. Unless today is Sunday 4th March, 2018, in which case this is the pointy front end of things and the stories will be going live throughout the day. Come back and check them out as they happen.

If you're here after that date, and you've read the issue and you still want more (and why wouldn't you?) then stay in the saddle, scroll down and trot your way deeper into the wild landscape of 101 Fiction. There are 17 more themed issues before this one, full of tiny stories, tiny worlds, tiny heroes and horrors, tiny tragedies and love stories. Deeper still, before there were issues, there are even more stories, so hang onto that silvery mane cos the tales may be tiny, but the ride is epic.

Before you gallop away though... Thank you.

Thanks for stopping by, thanks for reading. Thanks to everyone who tweets and retweets and amplifies our tiny signal, pushing it further out there into the wild cosmos of the Online. Biggest thanks of all always go to our contributors, all the authors that share a little slice of their imagination with us, and with you.

We hope you've enjoyed what we do, and maybe even want to be a part of it. If you do then keep an eye out here at 101fiction.com or on our twitter for when we announce the next theme and submissions period.

Stay warm. Stay safe.

Keep writing.

Keep reading.

Have fun.

- John Xero.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

March Issue Open for Submissions.

We are now CLOSED for submissions.

From now until 11th February we are open for submissions.

A new year means a new cycle of themes. When we started our quarterly existence a little over four years ago we had a cycle of mythical creatures and it's about time we had another, so the first theme in this new cycle is... Unicorns.

But we're not looking for your ordinary, wondrous, pure unicorns, oh no, we want something different, something new and unusual, some surprising shift away from expectations.

It could be a protester on an alternate earth campaigning against the Pamplona unicorn run. Or maybe the thick protein soup drains from a genesis tube to reveal a gleaming horn, an equine head, then dark ragged scales, and the rotten stench of corruption. Perhaps a nineteenth century naturalist argues against the existence of unicorns, declaring fakery, fraud and clever taxidermy, then goes home and awaits his wife, galloping across a mist-wreathed field, the setting sun catching on her horn as she approaches and shifts to the human form she spends her nights with him in.  Or the hunt that follows a solitary creature through forest, dale and meadow, till it leads them to a glade where weapons turn to ash and they find themselves encircled by unicorns, heads down, horns wicked in the failing light. As a shaman begins his exorcism his horse whinnies and shakes its head, it steps nervously, then a single dark horn thrusts up from beneath the skin of its forehead and its eyes burn away till there is nothing but dark smoke in the sockets, malevolently regarding the shaman.

There must be something recognisably unicorn in the story, but other than that, go wild. We principally publish science fiction, fantasy and horror, with a little surreal and crime fiction, but ultimately great writing and fresh ideas will catch our attention and we'll publish anything that makes us stop and go, "Wow."

The story must be 100 words exactly, with a one word title, and the title cannot be unicorn or any variation thereof. For full submissions guidelines click here.

Imagine. Create. Have fun!