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Encounters is a FREE bi-monthly digital publication featuring science fiction, fantasy, horror and paranormal short fiction.

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Encounters 10 CoverJanuary 12, 2014
Issue #10 is now available for download. Just right-click on the cover image and select the save file option.

by Zachary Woodard
   There is someone breathing.
   I jump upright. It is too dark, I can’t see in the thin hallway, and I begin scrambling for my headlamp. I try to calm myself and think. Did I wake up because I heard a noise? Did one of them break in? They breathe, though I don’t think they have to. Like a vestigial trait, or simply out of habit.
   I am cursing. I know I left the headlamp next to my bed, but—there! I fasten it on, click once, twice, a third time to put it on a steady beam and suddenly there is a spot of dim light on my pillow. I turn around and see nothing; the light does not shine far enough ahead, and the hallway is little more than a black maw that absorbs the light and hides horrors behind it. I am shaking.

by Brandon Crilly
   In addition to the hiss of escaping air, light mist whooshed from the cylinder as the lid was removed. Bryant waited for the mist to dissipate so he could see what was inside.
   A single ice cube rested at the bottom. Bryant lifted it out between his thumb and forefinger. The cube was imperfect, having partially dissolved before it was preserved. He looked at it more closely and realized there were flecks of brown liquid dotting its surface; the cube had been in someone’s glass. Bryant couldn’t begin to imagine how it had survived long enough to make it inside the cylinder.
   This was what he was looking for. This water...

by D.M. Anderson
   Rehab is relentless and painful. We force new Creeps to go cold turkey from day one, but it’s more than simply filling their mouths with worms, bugs or maggots to quell the pain. Most new Creeps don’t even make it out of Nightmare Alley…too far gone. Others emerge from that hellhole thinking they’re cured, only to revert back to their animal selves the second they run out of earthworms. The goal is to kill the urge for live flesh altogether, which is a different kettle of fish. It involves retraining the head. Being dead, we obviously don’t need to eat, but convincing the brain otherwise takes time.

by Geoff Nelder
   On the dot of four hours Chang woke with one thought.
   “First contact!”

   Wen looked up from her console. “The miracle of sleep.”
   “But this is momentous. We’re well into the twenty-second century and have probed into the Goldilocks zone of a million systems with nothing coming back.”
   Wen waved her hands. “So, here it is and they’re trying to smash Earth.”
   “With just one pokey little asteroid?”
   “Target practice.”

by Kurt Heinrich Hyatt
   Two shadows emerged from the night. Valery felt a forearm encircle her throat from behind, choking her. She struggled, clawing for air.
   “You take the chinkette, Radnor, I’ll have this little blonde. Damn, she’s a fighter!”
   Valery tore at the muscular arm choking her, flashes of red before her vision. In desperation she forced her chin down and sank her teeth into the man’s forearm.
Suddenly she was alone on her hands and knees on the wet deck. Coughing, she looked up to see her assailant lying face down beside her. With disbelief she watched Jinghua calmly thrust a knife into the belly of the second assailant and jerk it upwards, disemboweling him.

by Edward J. McFadden III
   As the officer paused on the landing, and before he could gain leverage on him, Seth fell backward, ramming all his weight into the officer, and slamming him into the concrete wall. The man gasped as the air rushed from his lungs, and Seth pulled free the nerve-snarler wand and spun the cop around, pinning his face to the wall. His twenty years of marital arts training had served him well.
   “Release me now and you and I can forget about this,” said the officer, as he struggled to get free, but Seth had the man’s arms twisted behind his back, and as he squirmed to get free, the pain increased. “They’ll put you away for this!”



Issue #11


Download the two previous issues here:

Issue #08
Encounters 07 cover

Issue #09
Encounters 08 cover

Book Reviews
We are now accepting books for review from small press publishers and independent authors. We will not review books from major publishers, they get enough publicity already. Authors or publishers can submit their books for review in PDF or EPUB format.
We will not publish negative reviews of any book or anthology, only recommendations of books we think are worth a read. We will begin publishing reviews in the January/February issue.