Here you’ll find merch, Issue #14 story excerpts, interviews, the issue’s Spotify playlist, & links to reviews. So take a look, and make sure you haven’t missed anything!
Ashâke shed her priestly raiment and slid into the river.
The water was surprisingly warm against her skin, like falling into the embrace of a mother. Ashâke liked to think that the divine cocoon of the river goddess herself covered her, and if she listened carefully, she could just hear Osun revealing deep mysteries.
Ashâke muttered an invocation: “Osun iya mi. Iya olodo, iya ajose ati iloyun, iya arewa ati ife. Ba mi soro. Si ona okan re kio si se afihan kayefi re.”
She sighed. The gods, like always, were deaf to her supplication. The other acolytes had long since been able to commune with the gods, to divine knowledge from the arbitrary patterns of cowrie shells across divination boards.
A joint on his port side scraped and squeaked, one of the countless gears that allowed his torso to swivel like a human being’s and beyond. He raised his bulk off the maintenance bed. The furniture’s articulated servo, a tentacle with ten prehensile metal fingers, raised a warning alarm as he disconnected too early. Bits of a nightmare faded into background static as reality closed in. He scanned the bed’s systems, noting that the night’s EEGs—a smear of colors representing a map of electrical activity in his brain—were being uploaded to the VA according to programming. Whatever. They still couldn’t see the content of his dreams and they wouldn’t come looking for him unless he flatlined.
Maybe not even then.
There’s only one other person on Earth besides Donovan that Athena wishes she could throat-chop, and it is the bold-faced liar who coined the phrase happily-ever-after. A sound marriage is a rare sunny day in the May to November rainy season that is an otherwise cloudy continuum. But with the spectacle over, Athena’s had to face what’s left of herself behind the crumbled, if comforting, confines of togetherness. These days, she yearns most for a little civil conversation.
“I never took you for a thief, Donovan.” Eleven years with this man—more of them happy than not. But as their bank account edged toward that seventh figure, it was as if the memory of his humble beginnings fled from his body like a spent infection.
The LED clock beneath the dashboard glows 2:30 am. My heart pumps Four-Hour Surge through hellfire veins to combat the car’s lulling vibrations. My fists grip the steering wheel. Instead of squeezing, I push. Not with muscles, but with presence. My hands heat up– firing up like a purple LED beneath the skin– and the overlapping, intersecting mosaic tattoos spiral into motion, sailing across the backs of my hands and knuckles.
My brothers would be surprised by me using magic at all and mad that I’m just using it to wake myself up.
Honk! “Drive like you have a license, dickhead!”
Idling at a green light. Okay, I deserve that. Igniting the fire in my bones is a great way to perk up, but I should have pulled over.
Poem: “Zombie of Palmares” by Woody Dismukes
Poem: “Autolysis After Mentor Pursues Me While in a Relationship” by Jacqui Swift
Cover Artist – Dominique Ramsey: Dominique Ramsey provided the Ayida-Weddo-inspired cover for Issue no. 14! We interviewed her about her style, her process, and the artwork she did for us.