by Anne E. Johnson

James Stutzman via Creative Commons

Not a soul heard my mournful keening. As I swept across the foggy moors, the banshee’s cries swirled in my mouth. Her pitchless shrieks overpowered my own voice. I was merely silent wind, carrying another’s sound.

Moon after moon I labored, bearing the harbinger of death to huddled mortals. “Ayyyeee!” the banshee howled.

At last I could withstand this shame no more. “You are not my better,” I warned the noisy spirit. “My moans are as frightening as yours.”

“No,” she argued. “Wind is my servant. My shrieks foretell death. You carry me, nothing more.”

“Behold,” I said. I blew a roaring gale and cracked homes in half. Swinging off to sea, I pushed the swollen waves ashore, drowning a village. When my anger subsided, people wept and buried their unexpected dead.

“Where was your warning cry?” I asked the banshee. “All these deaths, and no sound from you.”

The banshee lowered her hell-black eyes. “You are right, wind,” she said. “I depend on you to be heard.”

Now we cry together, the banshee and I. When you walk the moors, you’ll hear our wails, high and low, twisting around each other. And you’ll know death is near.

Anne E. JohnsonAnne E. Johnson lives in Brooklyn. Her short speculative fiction has appeared in Alternate Hilarities, Urban Fantasy Magazine, FrostFire Worlds, Shelter of Daylight, The Future Fire, Liquid Imagination, and elsewhere. Her series of humorous science fiction novels, The Webrid Chronicles, has been described as a cross between Douglas Adams and Raymond Chandler. Her most recent books are the YA adventure novel, Space Surfers, and a collection of children’s stories, Things from Other Worlds. Learn more on her website, Follow her on Twitter @AnneEJohnson.

by Joseph Musso

A woman picks water spinach...
USAID Nepal via Creative Commons

She drinks almond milk and grows her own vegetables in a backyard garden. When she was little, she wanted to be a ballerina and wear pretty clothes in front of an audience. Later, she wandered into literature and politics and spent more and more time alone. By night she studied Yeats and Blake and Dickinson and the Brontë sisters. By day she plotted how to make the world better. She wrote love poems in the high attic with the single-eye window that looked out on the romance of the land. She built clocks in the basement of her mother’s house in the country with the petite and precise fingers of an olde German clock-maker. She is my sister. The sweet girl who raised me when our drunk mother was out chasing men every night. The 13 year old girl who went without supper so her eight year old brother could eat. The sister who has always protected me, and still does, by never making contact with me. The FBI follow me everywhere I go. My mail is read. My computer hacked. My wife left, and took the kids. How do I know my sister drinks almond milk? How do I know she grows her own vegetables? Go fuck yourself, that’s how.

Joseph RussoJoseph Musso lives on the east coast with his best friend Jack—a most soulful Chocolate Lab. His books include I WAS NEVER COOL, RED SOMEHOW, and APARTMENT BUILDING.