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February 2015 cover art

Under a Blood-Red Sky

By Edward Ashton

The sail hangs limp, and the boat rocks gently from side to side as I try to get my fishhook shoved through a nightcrawler. The sun is high and hot in a clear blue sky, reflecting in sharp bright speckles off the lake. The worm is writhing, slipping through my fingers as I try to thread him onto the hook, and I’m just about ready to give up when a soft voice speaks in my ear.

“Sorry to interrupt, Jim. You’ve got clients.”

I squint up at the hills looming over the far shore. Asif is standing there, a tiny brown figure at the edge of the trees.

“Seriously?” I say. “Already? Didn’t we just do this?”

Asif walks toward me, down to the shore and out across the water. Space compresses in front of him and stretches out behind, so that in a half-dozen steps he stands on the surface of the lake beside me, bobbing gently with the swells. I roll my eyes and go back to my hook.

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