Because of a Cough by John R. Canter

It had barely been even a day since the volcanic eruption. Most of the streets were still deep with soot. At least, those streets that weren’t completely buried or burned by active lava flows. I had survived, somehow, thanks to this curse. I didn’t dare take shelter with any others, and that turned out to be a good thing. I can usually handle stress, as a medical doctor, but in a life-or-death situation, I can’t always prevent the change that comes with being a werewolf.


Five Directions and a Yellow Vest by John R. Canter

Within moments they reached the interior of the palace complex, using the rooftops to bypass all the closed gates that tried to stop the spread of fire and movements of the enemy troops. “At this rate the whole palace will burn,” Yang remarked to the qirin, the divine creature’s hooves barely touching down on ancient roof tiles. “If the barbarians of the northwest can’t seize the capital, they will be more than happy to destroy it.”

Coin Flip by John R. Canter

Chan was feeling cooped-up in the laboratory. It wasn’t that he minded working for the professor, mad though he was, but the strange devices he made, often with no practical purpose (besides destroy everything, somehow) made him feel a little disconnected. He might read the news about the outside world, or see social media posts from this friend or that friend, but usually it was just work. The lab takes up too much of my time, Chan thought. He looked up from his printouts to the clock, and when he saw it was almost noon, he stomach growled, as if trained, on cue.

Torino’s 10 by John R. Canter

A sleepy woman pushes off from her desk, gliding over in her rolling desk chair to the screen with the flashing icon. “! NEO detected. Preliminary analysis rating at 10 on the Torino scale. Verification required.” Half-asleep she reads the message without understanding, once, twice, but by the third time she wakes up. A lot of people will be woken up, soon, for what the message means.

Apsara, Lady of the Rain by John R. Canter

The apsara, or nymph, knelt at the water’s edge. This was her home, a clean pool fed by the great river, which eventually flowed out of the wooded wetlands and beyond to the floodplains and seas. The pool was but a few feet deep, like a wide natural bathtub, part of a large collection of pools in the hilly landscape. The forest and its creatures loosely surrounded the apsara’s abode like the walls of an open house, branches as the roof chattering with birds and monkeys.