A short fiction omnibus collection (vol. 1)
From a mechanical forest that constructs itself to the streets of Kyoto 8,000 years hence, the sometimes whimsical, sometimes cutting short fiction of KJ Kabza has been dubbed "Delightful" (Locus Online) and "Very clever, indeed" (SFRevu). Collecting all of his previously published, early works (plus 5 new stories), IN PIECES offers glimpses into other worlds—some not unlike your own.
IN PIECES collects all short fiction by KJ Kabza published before May 2011 and includes five previously unpublished pieces, notes on each story, and an author interview by Julia Rios.
Excerpt From the story "The Greatest Prophecy of All"
He came up the mountain like a drunken spider—another farm boy on a quest, some enchanted blade swinging from his hip and banging against the rocks as he climbed. I watched him from Far Sight Rock and sighed. The farm boys were all the same: evil king, murdered father figure, sacred errand, mentor who dies. Hearts of gold and flawless moral compasses. Clumsy charm and hopeless optimism, with eyes I could always get lost in.
And taste in women that never included me.
I went inside the cave and told Ildara. "Farm boy."
She nodded and rose from the table, a bit of charcoal in a gnarled fist. We approached the schedule, written messily on the cave's left wall. "Well, we're expecting two," Ildara said. "One with a dragon, and one with the Sword of Heaven."
"He's got a sword."
Ildara grunted and checked off 'farm boy: sword'.
Rocks clattered outside. The farm boy stumbled in. Like all of them, he was perfect; like every time, my heart twisted. Brown curls. Sparkling blue eyes. "Uh," he said, and I expected him to add, "Is this the Cave of the All-Seeing Oracle?"
Instead, he just stared.
Our eyes met. His mouth hung open, just a shade, and I looked away before he could laugh at me for my inelegance.
He finally said, "What's your name?"
"Ildara," said Ildara. "And I'm the Oracle of the—"
Ildara glared at him. He didn't notice. Those sparkling eyes were fixed on me, as if I were a rare treasure that might disappear.
I blushed down to my toes. "Me?"
"Nullia." He made my name into music. "I'm Hishmed."
"Well, Hishmed," interrupted Ildara, "I assume you're here to see the Oracle. And that'd be me. Not her."
"Uh," Hishmed said. "Er, sorry. Ma'am."
Ildara grunted. "Good. Now why don't we get you settled in the back on a nice pile of straw?"
After Hishmed took a rest and washed up, Ildara told me to give him the tour. I've done it a hundred times—crystal ball, scrying pool, unholy altar, talking animals, Abyss of the Damned—but with Hishmed, I kept stammering and tripping over my words. I was afraid he'd laugh at me for it, but he said nothing. He just stared at me with those blue, blue eyes.
When we doubled back outside past the scrying pool, he laid a hand on my arm and said, "Wait."
He looked at me in silence, and I looked back, breathless. Was I falling into his eyes, or was he falling into mine?
Hishmed stepped closer. "Tell me..."
"Why are you here?"
Hishmed didn't remove his hand. "Why are you here? Why are you working up on a mountain peak?"