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The Longest Road in the Universe: A Collection of Fantastical Tales

The Ruin of Beltany Ring: A Collection of Pagan Poems and Tales

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Short Fiction

"D is for Duel/One Who Dies as a God Dies"

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Her name is Alejandra Maria Yaotl, and she is desperate to squat here, in this ribbon of grass between armies, to defecate. But her knees do not permit squatting, and she knows the desperation is only a great, killing mass in her bowels making demands of the failing body it consumes from the inside out, a little more every day. So she walks; strands of white hair blowing about her eyes, bent spine unable to straighten, papery hand gripping the rough wooden knob of a cane. The punishing sun shines down on a spill of engine oil, a pool of chlorophyll, a gob of intestine crushed into the soil. Behind, there is a shuttle with a weeping grandson at the helm who begged her to stay home and die in peace. Ahead, there are the towering gates of a city-state that teaches its people how to perform it, a grand theatre of violence caked in the blood of its sacrificial victims, the place where she will die one way or another.

An elderly woman dying of colon cancer challenges a cruel, transhuman demigod to a battle of wits for the sake of her people in "D is for Duel/One Who Dies as a God Dies." Available now in the D is for Dinosaur anthology.

The Longest Road in the Universe

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Three broken people; a monk bearing a terrible scar, a warrior facing a terrible sorrow, a woman hiding a terrible past face a relentless army so hard to defeat it might as well be invincible. Genetically-altered residents of a volcanic desert struggle to preserve their intangible culture as nanomachines transform the world around them. A population of slaves engineered to love its masters comes to grips with their sudden absence, while one man travels to the center of the galaxy to find out where they have gone. Supermassive black holes at the end of the universe contemplate the cacophony before and the quiet ahead; mourning, eulogizing, and creating something altogether new. These and other stories await you in The Longest Road in the Universe: A Collection of Fantastical Tales by Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award shortlisted and Pushcart Prize nominated author C.S. MacCath.

"T is for Three (at the End of All Things)"

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Before the ancient stars coalesced into brightness, in the vault of the foregoing universe, there were sorrows too great for any being to bear, and the greatest of these was the sorrow of ending. Not the end of a day, with its sundown promise of another sunrise, and not the end of a life, while memories of the dead remain and there is hope in some hearts for the soul's journey onward. No, this sorrow was vast, cold and complete, and it spanned the void of space among the last rough fragments of matter strewn in terminus.

Three supermassive black holes at the end of the universe contemplate the cacophony before and the quiet ahead; mourning, eulogizing, and perhaps creating something altogether new. Now available in the C is for Chimera anthology.

"Casting Sin"

This ebook is no longer for sale, but the story is included in:
The Longest Road in the Universe: A Collection of Fantastical Tales.

Hedea looked down the ribbon of road that led from the center of town to the edge. It was brown and dusty; she longed to sweep it like a kitchen floor. But where would she pile the dirt when she was done? Would she sweep it to the left, up over the bending tulips and into the bread-white foyer of the baker’s shop? Would she sweep it to the right, under the bellies of horses and into the forge? Her hands twitched with the memory of simple tasks; wringing, smoothing, sweeping, and her hair blew like dandelion seeds away from her wrinkled face and stooped shoulders. She straightened those shoulders around an ancient knot in the center of her back and waited for her neighbors to spill out onto the spring-green lip of the road, their hands wrapped around basket-handles and the fists of small children. She wept then, more for the little ones than for herself. They shouldn’t have to see this so early in life.

A woman scapegoated by her community runs a magical gauntlet which ends in either freedom or death. Will she make it to the edge of town and into the waiting arms of those who walked the gauntlet before her? Find out in "Casting Sin."

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Random Quote

A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole [of] nature in its beauty.

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