The advent of digital publishing has seen the rise of a new breed of writers: independent, experimental and unfettered by convention. This brand new anthology features a small sampling of these very writers, in a speculative fiction collection that will capture the imagination and dazzle the senses. In these stories, fourteen independent authors display the imagination, insight and wonderful originality that characterizes the unique world of online fiction.
The Little Problem. MCM
The cottage lay at the bottom of a long, gentle hill, traced around by a trickling stream, a patchwork quilt of orange and brown leaves scattered up the long walkway. Darvey waited behind the oak tree, shivering, watching the warm orange glow through the frosted glass windows. Te air smelled of roasting marshmallows, lavender, and the kind of freshness you only get far, far away from cities. It made him want to retch.
“Perimeter’s clear,” said Kaps, ducking back behind the tree after having spent ten minutes creeping in the shadows in a feeble imitation of stealth. Kaps was eight feet tall and an alien species that appeared to be made of rock; his face looked like it’d been carved by a blind toddler with a jackhammer. Stealth was as natural to him as tap dancing was to a snake.
“So what do we do?” asked Darvey, checking his gun, making sure it was fully loaded with needles. “Last time I decided something, you told me I did it wrong.”
“You didn’t do it wrong, you just broke CSA protocol.”
The Controlled Substances Agency — the intergalactic narcotics cops — had protocols for everything from major drug busts to brushing your teeth. Darvey broke six of their protocols every morning just by getting out of bed.
“I’m not setting foot in that place,” Darvey said, shaking his head. “I’m tired of getting lectured all the time. So you tell me: what do we do?”
Kaps observed the scene, the peaceful valley they’d found themselves in, and shrugged. “Kick in the door and then kick some ass,” he said.
“That was my plan too.”
“Great minds, right?”
“You sure it’s not breaking protocol?”
“Hell yeah, it is. I’ll just tell ‘em it was your idea.”
Before Darvey could protest, Kaps marched to the cottage door, wound back, and kicked the door with all the force he had in his formidable body.
Unfortunately, the door seemed unimpressed. It didn’t bend, break or even creak. Kaps fell onto his back, stunned. “Your idea sucks!” he called back to Darvey.
“In my version, the door breaks down,” Darvey replied, safely hidden.
Kaps got to his feet, pushed his ﬁst against the door, and laughed. “It’s metal painted to look like wood,” he said. “Crazy buggers.” He took two steps back and charged at the door, throwing all his weight at it at once.