Havok Publishing

A. C. Williams

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Respect

Whose bright idea was it to stuff a giant venomous lizard in a transport shuttle and ferry it to the outer asteroid belt?
Well, whoever’s problem it started as, it was Holt’s problem now. A ten-foot-long, 300-pound problem.
Just another Tuesday on the Wolf Station Zoological Habitat of the Outer Asteroid Belt.

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For the Love of Watermelon

On all the nine planets, there exists no creature more majestic than the mighty water buffalo. Resilient. Unflappable. And unpardonably cute when presented with a juicy slice of watermelon.
“Aren’t you the most darling girl? Yes.” Amelia cooed as she scratched the coarse hair between Mrs. Bates’s big dark eyes.
Bates paid

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The Griffin and the Wren

The forest was alive with every one of Wren’s nightmares. Trees beckoned with branches like witch’s fingers. Reptilian skin rustled through the leaves underfoot. Unseen birds complained.
The darkness around her shifted as though it were something tangible.
Wren stumbled over a gnarled root that had crawled out of the loam. She caught herself

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The Glasswright

The shoebox rattles. A crystalline scratching sound tinkles inside the worn cardboard. I clutch it in my aching, bandaged fingers as I stand trembling in the yard of the old livery stable at the edge of the village.
It’s my last option.
If he can’t help me, no one can.
One step at a time

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A Warrior’s Death

The creature snarled in the darkness, a thunderous sound in the humid, alien forest.
Kosuke pressed his back against the rough bark of the towering tree and drew a slow, deep breath, releasing it softly. The air smelled like wet dirt and pine, moist and dank, along with a vague coppery scent like blood.

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Churchwarden

“What a perfectly splendid location to attempt new and exciting crime!” Finneas Churchwarden—private investigator—straightened his blue argyle bow-tie. “Don’t you agree, Leon?”
“It’s Lionel, sir.”
“That’s what I meant.” Churchwarden jabbed his clay pipe between his teeth, chewing on the stem as he spoke. “Come, beloved colleague. Let us do the work

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The Purple Produce Predicament

I have never seen a vegetable like this in all my days. Is it a vegetable? A fruit? So purple! Oblong with a fibrous green stem. And there’s a crate of them on the tavern’s loading dock.
Tobias probably traded for them. He always does this—trades junk to some tinker out of

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The Frost Iris

I’ve spent too much time in the underworld.
Atticus scowled at his reflection in one of The Drake’s shiny hull plates. Dark shadows drooped beneath his eyes, and his skin had taken on a bluish tint. Too many months breathing the fog in the netherwoods.
He hitched the burlap sack higher on his should

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The Skinwalker

The Veil between worlds smells like overripe fruit, a deep purple scent. Cloying. Decaying. Bruised.
The sanitized atmospheres of living worlds lack the depth and complexity of abandoned realms. They never smell like the Veil, suffused with the scintillating aroma of death.
I breathe it deeply.
Invigorating.
Its heavens, ever-clouded. Its ground

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Ashes to Trade

Florence’s knuckles creaked as she clutched the bottle of phoenix ash.
What if it’s not enough? She bit her lip. The medicine is almost as rare as the ash.
Threadbare skirts rustled around her legs as she ducked through the rough-hewn doorframe of the Emberstone Tavern. Her stomach clenched in hunger as the rich

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Phoenix Feathers and Chicken Pot Pie

Captain Tiberius Q. Overton sneered in disgust. The tavern smelled like the inside of a whiskey barrel—the cheap kind of whiskey the deckhands drank. He shouldered through the flock of nattering peasants, who warmed themselves at the meteor smoldering in the central hearth.
The tawny, glowing emberstone put out a remarkable amount

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Mama Louise’s One-Eyed Gumbo

Minotaurs are dangerous enough when they ain’t toting semi-automatics. These young bulls are looking to cause trouble, and I just want lunch.

“My gumbo’s getting cold, Quigley.”

“I don’t care about your stupid gumbo, LaFaye.”

My partner has no soul. He’s crouching behind a wooden shed with me, both of us surrounded

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