Fantasy: The Best of the Year (2006 Edition)
The best stories of the year: here is a collection of the fantasy prose written in 2005, by some of the genre's greatest authors, and selected by Rich Horton, a contributing reviewer to many of the field's most respected magazines. In this volume you'll find stories Peter Beagle, Paul Di Filippo, Neil Gaiman, Theodora Goss, Kelly Link, Gene Wolfe and more.
Giff and me diminishing, and my last thought before we join something I can only describe as Nothing-Is-Excluded is, Giff, Giff, please explain, what made you come back for me? He doesn’t have to speak, I just know, his math emanating from inside me now: Not coming back, he would only have saved himself. Coming back, he saved Mom, Dad, me. Going to see Cyndi, I saved him. And, in this way, more were freed. That is why I came back. I was wrong in life, limited, shrank everything down to my size,
scarf without which it looked as fragile as an eggshell. “You were such an imaginative child. What made you care so much about money?” “You did,” she wanted to and could not say. And now she has taken that money out of the bank to buy Payne House. If she opens the door and sees only the unmown fields, it will have been for nothing. No, not nothing. There is Payne House, after all. And her memories. What will she do, now she is no longer Jessica Pendleton? Perhaps she will write, like her mother.
away. Sprokly wanted to cry but held it back. Instead she brushed at her short blond hair. A snag caught her fingers. A few strands had tangled beneath one of the screws that fastened the wooden top of her skull. She forced herself to count the gathered horned toads. One hundred, hundred fifty, two, two ninety—just about every one the Maezel family had made. “Hey, girl.” Sprokly turned and managed a smile. “Evening, Grampser.” Grampser limped up to her, one thumb hitched above the bib of his
hard, no longer the face of our Father. I could not see him in it anywhere. Yet I stepped up beside him, for I heard voices coming up among the rocks. I heard footsteps and scrabbling and harsh, panting breaths. I hardly sensed his fingers through the thick leather; his hand felt insubstantial inside the heavy glove. Looking out at the city, I thought the air above it was full of dark vibrant motes, and I remembered what he’d said about a sky full of kites. I was not sure if they were present
and after a momentary hesitation, north. “Don’t you hear them?” Sutton shook his head. “No, I don’t.” “Well, I do. Three or four cars, and they’re getting closer.” One by one, the sirens grew louder—and abruptly fell silent. For almost the last time, he ran nervous fingers through his hair. “What’s up?” Sutton began. “If you—” Before the third word, he had turned and sprinted for the door. It was locked. His key turned the lock and the bolt clicked back, but the night bolt was engaged. Once only,