Havok Publishing

Cowardice-Courage

The Courageous Lyons

It’s an honor being a royal hot air balloon maker. But the conversation occurring around me makes me want to float away from my coworkers and hide.
I only have one thing in common with the other three people working in the sunshine outside Princess Amzho’s castle: a love and talent for our craft.

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Facing Freedom

I’ve learned to live with pain.
A copper wilting wasp scuttles up my arm, its stinger poised to strike. I lift my eyes past my rotund master, over the carts of food I’ll never eat, and rest them on distant mountains. I focus on those peaks as the wasp delivers a paralyzing injection. Debilitating

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The Hitman

“I’m afraid your understanding of the situation’s more muddled than a mojito, darling.” Nash Welter stretched an arm across his desk and flicked his lighter, touching flame to the tip of the dame’s trembling cigarette. “I’m only a hitman.”
The darling in question narrowed her eyes and inhaled deeply, staining the white paper

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Fate

It isn’t every day that fate gives you a second chance. Most days she seems content to let the stars direct the courses of time and space—punishing humans for going past their limits. Today is different. Today is a day you don’t throw away.
I, Captain Anton Carrick Stansy IV, stand at the helm

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The Only Thing to Fear is Greg

“So, does the bureau know why they sent us here?”
Sal shrugged while cramming fries in his mouth.
Jane waited for him to swallow. “They said a passing centaur reported all the other wilderkind in the area have gone silent.” She slapped his hand before he grabbed another burger. “Aren’t you worried?”

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The Lily’s Blade

Lily keeps her knife angled down as she runs, just like Papa had shown her.
“Your weapon is your ally, but misuse will make it your enemy.”
He’d said it so many times the words were ingrained in Lily’s memory. Yet now, as she runs through the shadowed forest, fleeing the attack on

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Brother’s Keeper

A musket ball whizzed past Lizzie Ozark’s ear and smacked the skull of a neighboring soldier. Warm blood splattered her cheek. She chanced a look and stifled a cry.
Through the haze a hundred yards away, gray uniforms shifted, progressed, and reformed ranks. Injured comrades groaned around her feet.
Her regiment’s tattered Union

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Super Gus and the Big Crush

“It’s all over, Psycho-Metric! Drop the kilobomb!” I practice the command sotto voce as I scan the harbor, searching for the crimson lights of the mad mastermind’s speedboat.
Bloodbath Bridge looms above the dark water, a line of gold lamps tracing the gentle arcs of its suspension cables. Psycho-Metric has commandeered the six-lane crossing, and his goons are

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Plucky Purple Ponytail

“With muscles like that, you must be from a heavy grav zone.”
The lilt of female admiration cut through the music and clamor of the club. Pete kept the flirtatious smile on his face and turned in the direction of the voice, the spotlights blinding him to the details of the crowd. Bending backward

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The Alloy

Greg glanced at the clock: a quarter to nine. He could close early. After all, he doubted anyone would saunter in fifteen minutes to closing.
But it’s the principle of the thing. The sign says open ‘til nine. Chin in hand, he flipped a page in his magazine.
The bell above the door jingled

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Boared Troll

Something was coming. Renard raised his hand, calling for a halt. His men stopped instantly, and he cocked his head, listening for the sound of their prey.
Breaking branches and pounding hoofs in full charge approached them through the woods. A large, tusked boar nigh on five hundred pounds burst into view.

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One More Time Around

Has it been long enough? The little voice in her head asked for the umpteenth time. No, one more time. Jyone used the phrase as a habitual counter, marking another revolution around the black hole. One more time around, then I’ll be far enough in the future that they will have forgotten me.

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