Today’s Story Time is from the December 2003 edition of Realms of Fantasy. Looking back on this story, I can see some of the same themes and musings that later informed both the Yamada series and the stand alone novel, All the Gates of Hell. In addition to being their own thing, short stories can be the crucibles that refine one’s approach to a later subject. Several, if you’re lucky. Wasn’t thinking of any of that at the time, of course. I just thought it was a fun story. Re-reading it now, I still think I was right.