Issue 33 – Phantastes

Dunsany’s Dream
By Harris Coverley

archipelagic Brahma
maker of the worlds


The Ninth Legion’s Last Patrol
By Andrew Darlington

hush now child, do not fear
close your eyes against the cold,
all that’s bad will disappear
as phosphorescent moons grow old,
disregard that phantom tread
as ghost-wolves howl against the night,
it’s only tales freighted with dread
of things we whisper out of sight,
the legion of the ninth still roam
beyond their corpses’ pale endeavour
seeking out their lost way home
although their march must take forever,
for even though all roads must lead
their last campaign will never relent
the druid’s curse will intercede
for this sad forlorn revenant
before the dead can reach their Rome,
before the dead can reach their Rome,
before the dead can reach their Rome,
hush how child, never fear
close your eyes against the fright,
don’t see those figures coming near
my hand stands firm against this night

The Statue
By Ed Ahern

The man wore his clothes well and wasn’t ugly. Valerie, bored by arty conversations, weaved through the museum exhibits and stood in front of him.

Tell me something I won’t believe.”

He smiled. “I’m boring. I don’t drink, smoke, gamble, or do drugs.”

No, that’s sad but believable.”

His smile turned wistful.

The model for this statue and I were lovers.”

The plaque says the statue is two millennia old. It’s impossible.”

There you go.”

Tell me more.”

She left me because of my profession.”


I weigh souls using a feather.”

What about mine?”

Don’t die for a while.”


Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had over three hundred stories and poems published so far, and six books. Ed works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of nine review editors.


The Dragon Kings
By Lee Clark Zumpe

Before the sun awoke in the east,
upon these lands there was but one beast
one creature from which all life did spring
Azthol was he: the first Dragon King.

First, he spawned trees, for the land seemed so bare;
next he blew storm clouds into the air;
his rain-heavy breath flew on the breeze,
soon followed lakes, and rivers and seas.

Tired from his labours, and lonely was he;
the Dragon King yearned for company.
He called all his strength, fluttered his wings,
and with one word spawned all living things:

Elves in dark woods; dwarves in mountain holes;
men in foul camps plagued by orcs and trolls;
and a dragon brood, ne’rmore alone,
a dynasty set to claim the throne.

But his dragon spawn were not as wise,
their malice concealed only by lies –
Til Azthol’s death, when they paused no more,
unsettling the lands with a cruel war.

Race against race, a million lives spent:
now some may rejoice, some may lament:
Heard no more, the clap of mighty wings
deep in the in the halls of the Dragon Kings.

Lee’s work has earned several honourable mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror collections. As entertainment editor for Tampa Bay Newspapers, his work has been recognized repeatedly by the Florida Press Association, including a first place award for criticism in the 2013 Better Weekly Newspaper Contest.

Learn more at


Witch Of The Well
By K. A. Williams

I left my hut when I heard a galloping horse. By the time the knight rode up, I had already dropped the bucket into the well.

“Quickly woman!” the knight yelled.

I pulled up the water bucket and held the ladle out to him. He grabbed it and drank. Then I unhooked the bucket and poured water into a trough for his horse.

The knight pointed to the three trails that led away from the well. “Which one goes to the dragon’s cave?”

“The one on the right,” I said, and stroked the armour on his leg.

“How dare you touch me! If I wasn’t in a hurry, I’d give you a beating!”

I didn’t doubt it. Every knight who came this way was rude to me, and none had tipped for the water. He rode off quickly but I knew a shortcut through the woods and hurried toward the cave to watch.

I got there and hid behind a big rock just as the knight dismounted his horse. He pulled a sword from its sheath and called, “Come out of that cave and meet your doom, dragon!”

A big red dragon strode majestically through the cave mouth. The knight started forward with his sword. As he walked, pieces of his armour began to fall off.

The knight stopped and looked back at the trail of fallen armour. When his visor fell off, I moved toward the horse.

“Stay away from my horse! You bewitched my armour and I’ll deal with you after I’ve killed this dragon!”

Stupid knight, just like all the rest of them. I ignored him and grabbed the reins of the frightened animal. I whispered a few magic words. The beast calmed down and I mounted him.

A knight’s horse and saddle always fetched a good price. I also had other things for sale to decent folk who came to the well. That was most everyone except for all knights, which I happily sent the dragon’s way and got rewarded.

“Return for your piece of gold in an hour, witch. You know I like to play with my food a while first,” said the dragon.

The End


By DJ Tyrer

Hero’s skilful blade
Kingdom freed from dragon’s wrath
Maiden’s gratitude
King’s sin of complicity
Glossed by half-kingdom reward

By Harris Coverley

across the grey sands
looking for the goddess but—
just broken seashells