What Pegman Saw

A Prince Enchanted

In an ancient Turkish legend that goes back to the time of Gilgamesh, the Shahmaran is a creature whose head is a beautiful woman and whose body is a snake. She lives in the land of the snakes under the earth and lures unsuspecting lovers into her cave of honey. 

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Afoot on the Staked Plains

The man cut a Comanche arrow out of the mule’s flank after the fight at the tanks, but the festering wound would not knit. Crossing the rain-swollen Nueces, the mule died under him and dumped his possibles into the churning red water. He’d felt the animal falter as he spurred it down the bank, so he wasn’t

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Breaking The Triangle

The East India Company Director sighed. He took off his glasses and set them on the dossier. “Is it really as bad as all that?” “I’m afraid so, sir,” said Briggs. “In fact, it’s actually worse. The Chinese are well aware of our vulnerability, especially regarding tea. The tonne price is increasing almost daily.” “What of

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I Am Not A Ghost

He is like the landscape, ancient, fissured, desiccated. He is the last one left who saw it with his own eyes. His voice scrapes like wind through dry branches as he tells the story he repeated all his life. “When the Turks came, all of us ran to the mountain. We rolled stones down the

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The Changeling

Blydig Gryyfth had black hair and eyes dark as rotting plums.  As he grew older, his limbs bunched with muscle though he did not grow taller. He hated the forest, hated the trees and the sky itself.  His chief amusement was staring, which could do forever. He never smiled, never laughed. In fact, he barely spoke

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The Weak Tea of a Friend

Dick climbed into the back seat of the Mercedes. “Slide over, Patty,” he said. “Where’s Premier Chou?” Pat asked. “He’s coming along in the other car,” Dick said, chafing his hands together. “Goddamn, it’s cold here. Never thought of China as being cold.” “Well,” said Pat, “they seem awfully fond of those fur hats.” He

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Conspiracy

Jepp was finishing his second cup of coffee when the two slaves arrived at the shop. Both were dressed so well Jepp guessed they had raided their masters’ closets for the occasion. “You are sadly late,” said Jepp as they sat. “Unavoidable,” said the man Jepp knew as Omar. “What is the password?” demanded the other

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Enough To Go Easy

“That’s him, there.” Banker gestured at the giant sitting across the barracks. “Christ,” said Crowley. “He’s immense.” “That’s why they made him a scourger, cob,” smiled Banker. “Strong as a bull. I saw him give a hundred to a shirker not two months ago. You could see the poor bastard’s backbone before he reached thirty.”

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Sufficiently Formal

Akunna stared at the laptop. It was a good one, a Dell he’d gotten from the Kenyan. He thumbed his phrasebook, scratched his head. “Come give me your opinion,” he said to Chimaobi. “I know you will be surprised at the tone of my letter to you, as I wish to send you greetings and tell you

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You’re Not Gonna Believe This

The Lodge packed us a wonderful lunch of fried chicken, biscuits, and pie in an old-fashioned wicker basket complete with plates and silverware. We’d driven the station wagon to a secluded spot and hiked to a spreading oak at the base of a rocky bluff. I spread the red-and-white checkered cloth on the ground, leery

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