For our first anniversary issue, we were lucky enough to have two returning artists grace our cover: Courtney Bernard, who not only provided the cover for VI #1, but also did our signature portrait of Magdala Twistleton, and William Vitka, who penned the cover story, “Janitors of the Cosmos”.
It may seem like a simple urban fantasy escape, but like everything Vitka pens, “Janitors” is more complicated than it looks on the surface, scraping through such issues as econoslavery, employment, and, well, the family issues represented by Jack and Caleb, our heroes, are many and varied.
And who could resist the little energy-collector “Cthulittle” squids? Like our real cover boy, to whom Caleb has to play second fiddle on Courtney’s cover.
Jack used Ripper bullets almost exclusively on assassination missions. They were self-aware, and they loved their job.
Jack said, “Mark sighted.”
There was a hushed whisper as the Ripper left the barrel of Jack’s gun.
It announced itself and Caleb could hear all of it:
“Hello! I am a bullet! In a moment, part of me will separate into three sections. Each section will be a spinning blade. The other part of me will lodge itself in you and then explode. Isn’t that neat? Jack had the forethought to aim for your brain. You’ll be dead real soon. Hooray!”
The thing posing as a human outside the bar exploded from the neck up. Its tight pants stood for a moment, soaked in blood and matter. The lower half of it tried to walk. Took a step. Then fell.
In a flash the soul shitter was gone, and in another, back — loaded with Litostian juice.
“Test run was good?” Jack asked. “The Cthulittle did … whatever?”
Caleb stared, somewhat astounded. “Yeah, good quick job.”
The little squid thing in front of him chirped. An automated containment bin rolled toward it. The creature hiked up its hindquarters and crapped energy into it.
It started to purr, and then burped as Caleb hoisted it in his arms. He tickled what he thought might be its chin. “Did you half digest a soul or what?” Caleb asked as the Cthulittle stretched, exhausted.
So cute, for a little soul-sucker, amiright?
Volume II, Issue 1 contains stories by S.J. Hirons, Ash Krafton, Mark Rossmore, and Sara Kate Ellis on our usual delicious variety of pulpy topics.