Copyright © by Jason H. Abbott, All Rights Reserved.
Featured Image: Watchers of the Eternal Falls, by Hugo Fredoueil
“What happened to me?” Karen asks, looking at her flippers. “Did that slow barista put something in my coffee?!” Now a plesiosaurian monstrosity, she reads the branding on the paper cup she once held: Nessie-café. “I knew it tasted too good for tree fiddy.” “It’s a young one,” the boy scout said. The parasaurolophus tilted an inquisitive look at the time traveling pair. The cave girl held out ferns, and like a loud, hungry foghorn, it hooted and munched. “I hope the t-rex didn’t—” There was a roar. Her finger glides along the flat of the crystal blade. Gripping its ornate metal hilt, the young woman holds it aloft. “Sharp as glass,” says the crone, “hard as diamond.” She gazes through opaline translucence. “Beautiful.” “A hero’s sword… Shardsteel!” The engineer shook his phone. “There’s no signal out here and— what are you doing?” “Listening for changes,” he answers, hand to a tree. “Unlike your network, the cellulose one is never down.” The druid looks west. “They’re walking a mile that way.” He died fighting for the Confederacy. I met my end helping other slaves escape. Oh, we were feuding ghosts for a century. But forever is a long time. We forgave. We moved on. We kissed. We’re an odd couple, but we flourish… haunting the plantation as lovers. They say dream mages aren’t fit for battle. That we don’t command tangible powers like fire or lightning. It’s true: My dominion is the sleeping realm. As they draw their swords, I open the door to it. Their sleep is blissful. My knife makes it eternal. Nothing is extravagant on grandpop’s freighter. Everything’s old. The food dispenser only serves chili. The hyperdrive is a cobbled monster… and faster than anything made in fifty years. They don’t make them like they used to. Just like grandpop.