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The Ratio of Silence
by Kate Ellis

Eating was always a tell for women, but for men—real ones anyway— it was just another thing to do.

Maria Ortiz kept her gaze steady on a couple two booths down, a fifty something man with a twentyish blonde. He was sopping a piece of toast into the remainder of an egg yolk while the woman pretended to eat. Not in the way real girls pretended. A human girl would have nicked a few of the cheese cubes from the top of that salad, or at least picked at the croutons as she loudly rejected the dressing. But this girl’s croutons remained in place, a stale halo atop the leaves, and her eyes never once strayed to the temptation.


The Dead Don’t Dream
by Gordon Linzner

Tamotsu Hirokei’s aide – a short, thin, ageless, almost sexless woman in an elegant, wine-colored kimono – slid aside a rice paper panel at the far end of the waiting room. I grew increasingly self-conscious in my ill-fitting suit jacket and mismatched turtleneck.

“Mr. Hirokei will see you now.” She bowed, then stood to one side so I could pass.


Collecting Violet
by Austin Gragg

“More orders already?” Morrígu asks.

Skeleton glares at the bird for rummaging around in her mind again. Morrígu perches atop the scythe’s silver blade, which leans against the far wall of the Garden’s basement. Skeleton closes her leather notebook. She keeps names in it. She began collecting them when she realized the world wouldn’t use names much longer, being a human invention.