Homepage

Wyldblood

science fiction & fantasy

Anthology submissions call

We’re looking for stories for our upcoming fantasy anthology From the Depths, so send us your best stories of the murky deep. We love stories about pirates, mermaids, sea monsters, intrepid explorers, shipwrecks, mysterious underwater cities, steampunk submarines, sunken treasure, glistening corals and anything else that carries even a slight scent of the sea.

You have until August 31st to send us your fishy tales. Head over to the From the Depths page for full submission details.

Wyld FLASH every FRIDAY!

Intervention

Eric Fomley

The doors to the station apartment glide open and I see mom and dad sitting on the couch waiting for me.

“What is this?” I ask.

“Take a seat, son, your mother and I would like to speak with you.”

I feel an odd twisting in my guts when I take the seat across from them, setting my paper bag from the store on the floor next to me. They both have strained looks on their face, like they dread the conversation they need to have with me. Already I don’t like where this is headed.

“Sooo, what did you want to talk about?” I ask.

They give each other a glance, that silent talk that parents have with looks. Then mom clears her throat. “We are worried about you sweetie.” Dad puts a hand on her shoulder.

I groan internally.

“You’re around the house a lot. You don’t really go anywhere, don’t have the energy to do anything, and the drinking,” her voice trails off.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I was just out at the store.”

“To buy booze,” dad cuts in.

I roll my eyes. “I’m not sure if you two have noticed or not, but I’m grown. I can drink and lay around if I want to drink and lay around.”

“That’s not what we mean,” dad says. “There’s more to it than that and you know it. It’s not healthy.”

“Not healthy,” I repeat. “And you know what is or isn’t healthy for me right now, is that it?”

“I know for sure it isn’t that,” dad says, voice rising, and points to the bag I have on the floor.

Mom puts a calming hand on dad’s forearm. “What he means, what we both mean, is that we don’t want to see you spiral to a place that’s hard to come back from. We want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. We’re worried that you’re going to let it take over your life. That you’ll never move on.”

“We’re gone, son,” dad says.

I stand, my chest is tight. “End program.”

There’s a two tone chime of a declined command. I walk to the apartment door but it doesn’t slide open. “What the hell? Did you do this?” I turn back to them.

“We had a conversation with the holocommand terminal. Since you’re risking your own safety, it will allow us to have this conversation unimpeded,” dad says.

I’m in the middle of my own holoroom and I don’t even have control. I feel like it’s the first time I went out with friends and did something stupid and my parents needed to have an “important” conversation with me as a result. I want to get out of this conversation in a bad way.

“I’m not doing this with you,” I say.

“No, but we’re doing it with you,” dad says.

“We love you so much sweetie, and we are so proud of the young man you’ve become. We just don’t want to see you lose control just because we are dead and gone.”

I try to banish the memories from my mind, the urgent message on my SocialHUD from the detective to give him a call. The numbness I felt when I listened to him tell me about the shuttle accident. I never had a chance to say goodbye.

“I don’t want to be without you,” I say. I feel a knot in my dry throat. I want the whiskey from the bag on the floor to make me feel better. Not better. Numb, so I can forget.

“We know, and we are so sorry it had to be this way.” She stands and they both walk over to me, pulling me into a tight embrace. I can’t hold it in any more. I fall apart. Snot and tears stream down my cheeks and chin. I sob until my head aches and my eyes are sore.

“I love you,” I rasp.

“We love you too,” dad says. “We need to let you go, now. You can visit us, we want you to visit us, but we don’t want you to spend your life in here, wasting the hours away.”

I nod. It’s a hard pill to swallow. The memories generated from the holoroom are so detailed and accurate. It’s easy to pretend the accident never happened. But it did.

They release the embrace and offer me weak, tear-filled smiles. I give one back, but I feel so raw I know it can’t look sincere. We exchange I love you’s and the holo winks out, showing an empty room with octagonal generators on the wall and a brown paper bag in the middle of the room.

I let out a ragged sigh, scoop up the bag, and pull out the glass bottle of whiskey. It wont be easy, I’ll have to take it day by day, but at least I get the chance to visit with them. Even if it isn’t the real them.

I lift the bottle and twist off the cap. I don’t want to deal with all of these feelings right now. I want to forget.

But my parents are right, as much as it pains me to admit it.

I pour the liquor on the floor.

Author Bio: Eric Fomley’s stories have appeared in Clarkesworld, Galaxy’s Edge, and Daily Science Fiction. More of his stories can be found on ericfomley.com.

If you loved this story as much as we did, please tell the world on Facebook, Twitter or other fine places.

more stories here


Artificial Autonomy

Helena Pantsis

When my daughter came to life I kissed her face. I told her to keep away from forks and toasters and electric sockets and bathtubs full of water unattended. I held her to her father, asked him to care, to kiss her cheeks and stroke her back as I did when she was born. He refused to look at her. He wanted a child of his own, with blood and skin and an appetite. My daughter couldn’t understand, for though she didn’t share his blood she could bear his name. She begged me to make things right, and I tried. I really tried. I cut my skin down the length of my womb so I could bear her, carried her in the core of my being to birth her like any other child would be born. But my husband was a man, and my daughter a machine.

He kept his names to himself, and my daughter remained uncalled. Still I kept her, hoping that her smarts, compounding by the day, and her interests programmed to replicate his and mine, would one day be enough. The neighbours scorned, and my husband refused to be seen with us. When she grew some more she graduated, she married, she had kids of her own, but my husband refused to see them. I learnt to call my daughter by a look on my face. Still she loved us, and though my husband never saw her she would ask after him when she’d call.

When we became old, and couldn’t care for ourselves anymore, my daughter came home. She came to cook and clean and bathe our ageing bodies. My daughter, with not an inch of flesh to her name, making of us mortals something clean to look upon. My daughter held me, and the cool of her body warmed me, and I kissed her face for the both of us. But my husband refused to see her. And on the day he died we breathed a sigh. My daughter took me by the hand, pressed her circuitry to my chest. She said: You can be now, and I began to cry. The water touched my daughter’s chest and sparks began to fly. I couldn’t stop, and it was killing her, but still she held me. She held me and cooed. And I loved her, and she loved me too.

Author Bio: : Helena Pantsis (she/they) is a writer and bad artist from Naarm, Australia. A full-time student of creative writing, they have a fond appreciation for the gritty, the dark, and the experimental. Her works are published in Overland, Island, Going Down Swinging, and Meanjin. More can be found at hlnpnts.com.

If you loved this story as much as we did, please tell the world on Facebook, Twitter or other fine places.

more stories here


Ship Astray

Daniel Lidman

Morris used to dare the crew to press the yellow button.

 “The yellow button!” he would tell them. “Press it if you dare!”

He was a man beyond his age. Twenty-seven with gray hair and features caved with deep wrinkles. He spent most of his time on the ship in corners, where the shadows were at their darkest, chewing down every inch of his nails until he bled. 

The crew often talked about him. The topic came quite naturally as a group of them hunched over radars, their morale low as the pulsating circle came up empty again and again; they hadn’t found a trace of life on any planets since they first boarded the ship many years ago.

Those who didn’t occupy the radars talked of him as they lay in their bunks, looking out a universe that is forever dark. Morris didn’t sleep with the rest of the crew. The ship’s captain and commander, Cook, had isolated him because Morris hardly slept. Morris spent most nights crying.            

But the crew liked Morris. They felt he had been treated harshly by the captain, a man who threw around commands with iron in his tone and loved the heavy silence that fell at his presence.        

One day Morris was also forbidden to eat with the crew. That afternoon Cook sat in the dining hall, his long nose pointing toward the large windows and the sea of stars that lay beyond. The hall was loud with post-meal chatter, as it always was when bellies were full.

“Captain,” Eddie said, standing up. Eddie was a mechanic. A low-ranked one, at that. The crew looked in his direction, their faces still frozen in conversation as silence stilled the dining hall.  

Cook’s deep sigh echoed in the large chamber. 

Eddie went on. “I want to know why we haven’t come across a single civilization yet. We’ve been on this ship for years, dammit! Years!” 

Someone dropped their spoon. A few of the crewmembers jumped at the sound. Then Morris started laughing. His wild laughter pierced the air and the crew, who at this point were  used to the vast silence of space, felt their skin turn cold at the high-pitched sound. The laughter even drained out the captain’s thundering roar, ordering Morris to leave the hall at once and never return.            

This did not sit well the crew. “How could the captain do this?” they whispered among themselves. “Morris is one of us!”    

Robert, an especially furious boy who had grown sick of the ship’s gray interior and missed the blue sky, approached Morris after the incident. “Morris,” Robert said. “Where is the yellow button?”         

Morris told him. And he dared the boy to press it.           

Robert hurried through the long hall. He managed to sneak past the captain’s chamber, where the captain lay snoring. He did as Morris had told him—he crawled across the floor of the cockpit to avoid the blazing eyes of guarding drones and ushered himself through a small entry in the wall. He traced the neon dial pad with a trembling finger and punched in the code.    

A door opened behind him. There was no light in the square room; he had to sweep at the shadows with his dominant hand to find the yellow button. It didn’t take long for him to find it—the room was small. Once he had his palm pressed against flat surface of the button, Robert took a long, shaky breath to calm his heart. The hum of the ship’s engine was distinct in the room. It rattled the metal in the walls, drilled into his skull.

 “Press it,” he heard Morris say in his mind. “Press it if you dare.” Robert clenched his teeth and dug down with his palm. And as the red glow of the monitor illuminated the room, the reason for its size became obvious—this room only had one purpose.            

He looked at the large numbers on the screen. Never had he seen numbers of this magnitude. Christ, they went up to the trillions!

Piled on top of the numbers was a single, flashing word. 

LIVES.

My God, Robert thought. So they weren’t alone after all. They were surrounded by an astonishing amount of lives! Robert examined the numbers again in his new state of awe. He couldn’t believe it. He just couldn’t believe—

He fell backwards in surprise and screamed as his hands touched the cold metal floor.  The numbers didn’t total the amount of lives the ship had spotted. They totaled the amount of lives it had destroyed.

Author Bio: Daniel Lidman is an English graduate from the University of Gothenburg who currently works as a copywriter. He writes beneath the dark, freezing sky of Sweden. When he’s not writing, he’s usually in a bookstore, dusting off ancient literature. 

If you loved this story as much as we did, please tell the world on Facebook, Twitter or other fine places.

more stories here


Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.
Follow us for update posts (once or twice a week) here.
Download a free sampler of Wyldblood Magazine here.
Buy the latest Wyldblood Magazine here or get a six issue subscription here.
Read
an interview in Black Gate with Wyldblood editor Mark Bilsborough here.
Read the Milford blog about Wyldblood here.
See us reviewed here and here.



Friday Fiction – Intervention

New free fiction today is Eric Fomley’s Intervention, because you’d like to think your parents are always right, right? Even when you really don’t want to do what they’re telling you to? And even when they’re not actually around? Click here to read Intervention We’re also still featuring the previous two Wyld Flash stories onContinue reading “Friday Fiction – Intervention”

Friday Fiction – Ship Astray

New free fiction today is Daniel Lidman’s Ship Astray, about a lonely – and seemingly fruitless – quest to seek out new life and new civilisations… Click here to read Ship Astray We’re also still featuring the previous two Wyld Flash stories on the website: Andrew Kozma’s The Tower of Seed and Promise, with anContinue reading “Friday Fiction – Ship Astray”

Runs Like Clockwork

A Steampunk Anthology

Airships and sorcery, steam driven nightmares and mechanical men.

Thirteen sepia tinged stories laced with adventure and the spirit of a Victoriana that never was.

£3.99 digital / £7.99 print

Wyldblood Magazine # 8

Ten tales of myth, legend and science gone wrong in the latest collection from Wyldblood.

Stories by Jordan Chase-Young, Celine Low, Nancy Pica Renken, JL George, Kathy Gollan, Michelle Ann King, Tom Learmont, Brianna Suazo, Rev. Joe Kelly and Mark Rigney.

£3.99 digital / £6.99 print

Wyldblood Magazine subscriptions

Six issues of cutting edge fantasy and science fiction from established and upcoming writers. Packed with stories, interviews and reviews. Available in print or digitally.

£18 digital / £30 print

.