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Mark Roman



The Magic Sword

Having mislaid his map, Sir Naylor the Negligent quickly became lost in the Cursed Forest. After one wrong turn too many, he realised he’d blundered into the dreaded Quarry of Doom.

In an instant, a horde of evil demons surrounded him, their devilish eyes glowing, their sharp teeth glinting in the moonlight.

Only one thing could save him now: his magic sword, Garethlor. Forged by elvish blacksmiths, engraved by dwarf craftsmen and enchanted by Merlin himself, it would make light work of these monstrous fiends.

It was a pity, then, that he’d left it on the kitchen table that morning...

And Then There Were...

Three days on this nightmarish island, cut off from the world. Phone lines cut, no power, the castle in darkness. The boat’s not due until Wednesday.

Four have been murdered so far, leaving just six. The barrister had her throat slit with a ceremonial sword. The dentist was drowned in the well. The bank manager was found hanging in the stairwell. And this morning, the doctor was poisoned. Screamed a long time before he passed away. Strychnine. Very nasty.

Terror grips everyone.

Who will be next?

No one knows who the killer is.

No one so much as suspects me.

A nice new home

Look sharp. Customers! What have we got? Mum, dad, two kids. Promising. Come here. Pick me! Get me outta this filthy tank; I’ll be a faithful, loving pet.

Wow, they’ve chosen me, they’ve chosen me!

Journey’s not much fun, but the house looks grand. Little girl’s all smiles; we’re gonna be great friends.

Mum’s carrying me. I can’t see any fish-tank. We’re headed for a round metal thing. It contains water, but the water’s bubbling and churning and steaming. Something’s not right. If only my claws weren’t strapped shut.

Surely she’s not going to ... No. Wait! You can’t. Aaaaah!


It’s coffee-break at an astrophysics conference and some guy approaches me, checks my name-tag and starts chatting. Knows my work, has read all my papers. Me, I’m panicking because I recognize his name, but can’t place it. Probably read his papers, too, maybe even cited them, but can’t recall what he’s known for. Seems like a nice chap, though.

The break ends and we return to the conference hall.

Then it hits me where I’ve seen his name. You see, I’ve published a novel, under a pseudonym. He’s the git who left me a snotty, 1-star review on Amazon. Bastard!

We’re back!

Despite being outlawed across the Galaxy, the savage sport of Gr’Oth flourished for tens of millions of years: two alien armies, each abducted from their home planet, bred for intelligence, speed and aggression, fighting to the death, with vast fortunes hinging on each battle.

But the galactic authorities began a clampdown, imprisoning fight organizers and repatriating the abducted species.

And so it was that, one chilly April morning, the people of Affpuddle, Dorset, found their village besieged by thousands of super-evolved, lightning-fast, battle-hardened T-rexes bent on reclaiming their home planet from these pesky mammals that now seemed to be everywhere.


“Ah, Sheila.' Professor Cranker ushered me into his lab to describe his time-machine. However, I barely listened for, the whole time, this dumpy, frumpy woman (his new assistant?) stared at me with a superior sneer. 'What’s that about?' I wanted to ask. 'Jealous of my prettiness?' Because, boy, was she ugly. A real minger. Haircut, clothes, make-up. Ugh! Plus some serious personal hygiene issues ...

“Today I went forward in time!' the professor was enthusing. “And, as proof, brought back this lady.' He indicated the unattractive specimen before me. “Sheila, let me introduce ...' he paused, “... your future self.'

Dragon Slayer

“Tremble before me, you vile beast,' hollered the heavily armoured knight, shaking his magnificent sword at the scaly beast towering above him. “For I am the mighty Sir Jasperot of Birhamham! Son of Grinklethor. Ruler of Midlandia. Slayer of dragons.'

The dragon smirked, examining its claws. “Name’s Nigel,' it murmured with hardly a glance at the knight. In a flurry of wings and flames and swishing tail, it swooped from its perch and swallowed him whole. And, as it flew back to its nest, it added with a burp, “Devourer of pretentious jerks.'