The Master

By Kim Rose

sfgenreThrough the woods, feet plunging into murky dark fog, head thrusting through wet leaves and clinging branches. Cold, barefoot and wearing only a very thin shift, she asked her exhausted body for more speed.

This place... This terrifying place. The place she had sworn she would never come again.

Giralda did not even remember how she had gotten here. All she could remember was running.

Cut off from dream, some in-between place where the spirit could feel, a broken bridge between waking and sleeping. Black and dark, thick with mist.

Never had she moved so fast. Perhaps her real body could not. Burning throat, tearful eyes, heaving chest. They felt real. Pain drained through her body, leaving her stamina in the soft, wet undergrowth. The quick movements to look over her shoulder did not distract her feet. Giralda plunged on, recklessly choosing speed over firm footing.

She could hear him behind her now. Insane laughter, echoing, bouncing through the fog. The thuds of his feet, the crash and tear of breaking branches.

A sob tore its way from her throat. She couldn’t run much further, yet she couldn’t imagine stopping. Denial throbbed through her. She found a reserve of strength and pushed for new speed. Giralda knew it couldn’t save her. He was faster, so much faster and stronger.

The only reason he hadn’t caught up yet was that he enjoyed her fear. Soon he would grow impatient, and when he had a clear shot he would come for her — putting on a burst of killing speed and pouncing like a big cat.

How could this be happening? She was so strong. To so many others she was so strong. This one though… He knew how to confuse her sixth sense, so it was impossible for Giralda to use it against him. That terrified her.

Even here, in dreams, where she conquered — where her thought artifices took on real touch and taste and could affect the minds and dreams of thousands.

Giralda reached deep, allowing an inner fire to galvanise her mind. Her third eye began to throb. She told herself she could beat him. She need only concentrate. She stopped, breathing in, holding it, feeling a vibration deep within that quickly resonated to all of her cells, bone-deep to surface skin. She reached for her most lethal skill.

In a burst of glowing light Giralda transformed into a white wolf.

Now she could draw on her predatory instincts — something he had even in human form. Her heightened senses detected his quiet step behind her. She whirled to face him. Giralda had hesitated too long.

His eyes, as usual, glowed molten red in his angular face. He stood so tall and lean that his energy felt as strong as a braided leather whip — aged and well-worn but all the tougher for it. Giralda wondered what her energy felt like to him. Better than just good, she thought, to chase her so far and so hard for it. Giralda knew now: he did not just want a sip, a taste, a moment between shamans where magic could be shared and enhanced. No. He wanted to drink her, every drop of her, take her energy and leave nothing, not even spirit.

What would he do once he absorbed her strength? Most likely, attack her disciples. Relentlessly pursue any that had tasted her energy to feast on all that he could find.

He growled, clenched his hands. Giralda growled back, showing her teeth, bracing her forelegs.

She was truly shocked when he lunged for her. She stood her ground — frozen by a bolt of fear. Giralda had assumed he would avoid confrontation with her wolf shape, but she had forgotten that his kind lacked sense.

She snapped her teeth but only scraped his arm as they rolled to the ground. He forced her down, gripping her body as they flipped. Giralda flailed, helpless as he pushed his long fingers around her throat and brought his weight up to her ribs, forcing his knees down. He smiled and chuckled as her ribs began to break.

Giralda’s snarling howl wound down into a pathetic human cry as her strength deserted her. She became merely human once more.

He had her. It was over.

In the darkness of the woods a shadow moved. They both looked up and away from their mutual fatal glare, seeing the shadow grow from the surrounding darkness into a tall, slender shape of a figure in a hooded robe moving into the clearing.

The Master. The one spoken of, but never seen.

“This will end now,” he said, soft voice vibrating through them.

Giralda lay back on the sweet earth, accepting her fate, feeling the cold, slick leaves and the caress of the mist on her skin.

Her attacker leapt up, arrowing for the shadows.

For Giralda, the end of her and her rivalry was a sweet, warm golden haze that eased away pain and let her feet linger on to Heaven.

For the attacker, the end of his existence was all searing pain and terror as he was rent apart slowly and fully conscious, screaming into Hell.

The Master turned with a swish of his cape and strode back into the forest. His work here was done — the suffering ended.

rocket crux 2 75

About The Author

Kim Rose

kim rose 2 200I am an aspiring Australian writer living on a small farm in central west NSW. We run a small animal rescue centre called 'Crescent Moon Lodge and Halfway House' and I self publish books on Amazon about our rescued animals. Our farm and our star attraction — Regina Gina the evil duck queen — have their own Facebook pages for fans. I have a passion for sci fi and fantasy and have a great deal of ideas I’m looking forward to exploring. Thanks for reading!

aus25grn

AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports the ASFF

asff img

Please visit the ASFF website and consider joining for up-to-date info about Australian SF cons, awards, competitions, and to receive the Foundation's newsletter, Instrumentality, and more.

<http://asff.org.au>

Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version: 

Kindle version: 

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 236

Australia, A Story
by Ovidiu Bufnila

Castle Bridegroom Bear
by Michael Richards

Decrypted Message Thread
by Theodore Irvin Silar

Non-Event Horizon
by Kevin J. Phyland

Satisfaction
by Nicholas Sheppard

The Traveller
by Robert David

The Twelve Moments
by Eugen Samolin

Upstairs
by David Scholes

You Can Always Change The Past
by George Nikolopoulos

You Can't Always Get What You Want
by Wes Parish

Get Dimension 6

D6sidebar

Get Dimension 6 Speculative Fiction

From Coeur De Lion Publishing

Here at AntiSF
Download D6 Now!

"Trust me, you want this free speculative fiction e-zine."
(Rob Hood)

AntipodeanSF February 2018

ISSUE 235

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

20th Anniversary Issue

Online Since Feb 1998

rocket crux 2 75

AntiSF Narration Team

 

pixie willo 100Pixie is a voice actor, cabaret performer & slam poet From the Blue Mountains in NSW.

She enjoys writing short fiction, plays for radio and stage as well as her own brand of weird poetry.

She hosts the 'Off-Beet Poetry Slam' held bi-monthly in Katoomba,

And is a theatre reviewer for 2SER FM in Sydney.

old style mic flat 25

mark english 100Mark is an astrophysicist and space scientist who worked on the Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn. Following this he worked in computer consultancy, engineering, and high energy research (with a stint at the JET Fusion Torus).

All this science hasn't damped his love of fantasy and science fiction. It has, however, ruined his enjoyment of rainbows, colourful flames on romantic log fires, and rings around the moon. He has previously been published in Stupefying Stories Showcase, Everyday Fiction, Escape Pod, Perihelion and also on AntipodeanSF where he is part of the narration team.

old style mic flat 25

timonthy gwyn 100Timothy Gwyn is a professional pilot in Canada, where he flies to remote communities. During a lull in his flying career, he was a radio announcer for three years, and he is also an author.

In addition to short stories at AntipodeanSF and NewMyths.com, his SF novel is available internationally in print and ebook formats. "Avians" draws on his love of alternative aviation to tell the tale of a girl who runs away from home to join a cadre of glider pilots on a world without metal or fossil fuels.

On Twitter, he is @timothygwyn, and his blogs are at <timothygwyn.com>.

old style mic flat 25

david whitaker 200David Whitaker is originally from the UK though has travelled around a bit and now resides in India. He has a degree in Journalism, however decided that as he’s always preferred making things up it should ultimately become a resource rather than a profession.

His stories, covering everything from sci-fi to philosophy, have been published across the globe and links to each can be found at <wordsbydavid.com>

old style mic flat 25

laurie bell 150Laurie Bell lives in Melbourne, Australia. She spent years writing and making audio plays with her sister using an old tape player. Life is a performance! She is a singer and has performed on stage once for her local theatre company. Now she helps out as a volunteer. She loves to read her stories out loud to anyone who will listen. She has recorded several audio readings of her own short stories here at Antipodean SF and is now a member of the audio team.

You can read more of her work on her blog Look for her on Facebook <www.facebook.com/WriterLaurieBell/?fref=ts> or Twitter: <@LaurienotLori>

Laurie's debut book The Butterfly Stone will be published in Autumn (Aus) 2018 and another titled Blood Fever will be published in Winter (Aus) 2018.

old style mic flat 25

marg essex 200Margaret lives the good life on a small piece of rural New South Wales Australia, with an amazing man, a couple of pets, and several rambunctious wombats.

She feels so lucky to be a part of the AntiSF team.

old style mic flat 25

garry dean narratorGarry Dean lives on the Mid Coast of New South Wales Australia, and has been a fan of SF for most of his natural life. Being vision impaired, he makes good use of voice recognition and text to speech in order to write. Many of his stories have appeared in AntipodeanSF over the years, and his love of all things audio led him to join the narration team in 2017.

You can read examples of Garry's fiction on his website <https://garrydean.wordpress.com>

 old style mic flat 25

SF News

SF News

AntiSF Author Eugen M. Bacon Publishes Two New Anthologies

Antipodean SF author Eugen Bacon has published two new speculative fiction anthologies:

Dying & Other Stories, <http://www.fiction4all.com/books/b13195-dying-and-other-stories.htm>. Literary speculative fiction that offers up death. Dirges that cross genre.

Thirteen Wicked Tales, <http://www.fiction4all.com/books/b13148-thirteen-wicked-tales.htm>. A collection of literary speculative fiction by Fiction4All

Congrats AntiSF Author Laurie Bell...

Laurie Bell is set to have two new novels published in 2018. One is an adult sci-fi noir thriller novel "Blood Fever" through Incendia Books, and the other is a young adult urban fantasy "The Butterfly Stone" from Wyvern's Peak Publishing.

ASFF Supports The Swancon Short Story Competition 2018 - Entries Now Open

Swancon 2018, the 57th Australian National Science Fiction Convention, is running a short story competition with the support of the Australian Science Fiction Foundation. More information at the Swancon website. Theme: Transformation

For more SF news why not join the ASFF and get the ASFF newsletter “The Instrumentality” delivered straight to your inbox!

Upcoming Aussie Cons

Walker Stalker Convention: Walking Dead convention The Dome at Sydney Showgrounds. 3-4 February 2018 and 10-11 February 2018 Melbourne Showgrounds. <http://walkerstalkercon.com/sydney/>.

Confurgence 2018: Furry convention 23-25 February 2018. Amora Hotel Riverwalk, Melbourne. <http://ausfancons.com/confurgence/>

Swancon 2018 (Natcon): Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth. This is the 2018 Australian National Convention: “Transmogrification”, (Easter) 29  March to 02 April 2018 . Guests: Kameron Hurley, Ryan Griffen, Barb de la Hunty.  More information: <http://swancon.com.au/>

Continuum XIV: Conjugation. Melbourne’s SF Convention. 8th – 11th June, 2018. More information: <http://www.continuum.org.au/>.

Nullus Anxietas VII: The Australian Discworld Convention – will be held in Melbourne on April 12-14, 2019, and is themed on Going Postal. More information: <https://ausdwcon.org/>

For more up-to-date Aussie SF info join the ASFF: <asff.org.au>

AntiSF will be at the National Convention, Swancon (2018).

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

AntiSF Radio Show

antipod-show-50The AntipodeanSF Radio Show delivers audio from the pages of this magazine.

The weekly program features the stories from recently published issues, usually narrated by the authors themselves.

Listen to the latest episode now:

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show is also broadcast on community radio, 2NVR, 105.9FM every Saturday evening at 8:30pm.

You can find every broadcast episode online here: http://antisf.libsyn.com 

S5 Box

Login Form

S5 Register

You need to enable user registration from User Manager/Options in the backend of Joomla before this module will activate.

SF Quote

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right!

Isaac Asimov, Foundation's Edge