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Last Car to Annwn Station

by Michael Merriam

Last Car to Anwnn Station - Michael Merriam
Editions:Paperback - First Edition: $ 14.99
ISBN: 978-1-7343603-8-7
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Pages: 274
Kindle: $ 3.99
ISBN: 978-1-7343603-7-0

One week to save the child, bargain with Death and get the girl… 

Child Protective Services Attorney Maeve Malveaux is sure that Chrysandra Arneson needs to be rescued from her rich, powerful and abusive family. But how? Her boss won’t listen to her and neither will the judge. But after she gets taken off the case and sent on involuntary leave to get her out of the way, she’s determined to find out what’s going on.

She’s not counting on joining forces with Jill, the gorgeous law librarian from work, and a mismatched collection of fairy folk. Or getting the ghostly assistance of the long-defunct Minneapolis streetcar system. And, perhaps, even a hand from Death himself. Mae and Jill are about to be caught up in a supernatural power struggle that will take them on an adventure from the Uptown neighborhood in Minneapolis into faery realms and beyond. All they need is a dime for the streetcar fare and a little help from their new allies to be on their way. But will it be enough to save a little girl and get them where they need to go? They’ve only got a week to find out.

This book is on:
  • 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Queen of Swords Press
Cover Artists:
Tropes: Found Family, Person in Distress, Reluctant Hero, Secret Society
Word Count: 90.000
Setting: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Languages Available: English
Tropes: Found Family, Person in Distress, Reluctant Hero, Secret Society
Word Count: 90.000
Setting: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Languages Available: English

“I have to catch a bus at Uptown Station, so it’s on my way. Besides, you still haven’t answered my question.” Jill held the door open for Mae.

The cold air grabbed both women with its brutal embrace.

“Shit!” Jill shrieked as the stiff October winds rushed up to greet them.

“Dunn Brothers was closer to the bus station, too,” Mae said, laughing at her friend’s discomfort.

“Hush, you,” Jill said. “Aren’t you freezing?”

Mae took a drink from her coffee. “In this? This is nothing. I was thinking about breaking out the grill.”

“You’re weird. So are we on for tomorrow night?”

Mae gave her answer a moment’s thought. She had enjoyed herself tonight and in truth, she needed some normalcy in her life. “Okay. Where do you want to go?”

“I was thinking that barbecue place in Calhoun Square.”

Mae gave Jill a faux-horrified look. “Barbecue? This early in the relationship?”


“We’ve been out together bunches of times, I’m going to hold you to mid-relationship dating rules. Beside, wasn’t it you who was just talking about grilling?”

The wind rose up and buffeted them, bending the lightweight maple trees along the avenue dangerously and knocking the lighter Mae into Jill.

As Mae steadied herself on Jill’s arm, she heard the faint strains of Roy Orbison’s voice singing “I Drove All Night” from a passing car.

She followed the vehicle with her eyes and found herself looking at four figures trailing her and Jill, about a half block behind them. Mae shivered as she watched them. There was something wrong with the way they walked. Their gait seemed stiff and forced. As she watched, the wind blew back the hood of one of the men.

He had ears, similar to those of a dog, on top of his head. The creature quickly grabbed its hood and pulled it back over its head, but not before Mae saw a long white snout.


“I see them. Let’s make for the transit station. It will still be full of people, even this late, and there might be a transit cop nearby.”

Mae knew a transit cop would not be able to handle what was following them, but she did not have a better plan. “Okay,” she said softly.

The two women picked up their pace. Mae resisted the urge to look behind her, partially because she knew if she did, she might panic and break into a run, and something told her running would be disastrous. She noticed Jill reach inside her coat and withdraw a metal rod. Mae recognized it as a telescoping baton. She sincerely hoped they did not have to try to fight their way out of a confrontation, the more so because she still had not replaced her pepper spray.

“Cross!” Jill said as they reached the corner at 28th Street, grabbing Mae’s hand.

The two women dived into the crosswalk. Mae chanced a glance over her shoulder. Their pursuers had picked up the pace, closing rapidly despite their awkward gaits. They raced along the sidewalk unmindful of the other pedestrians’ indignant protests as the four crashed through in pursuit of Mae and Jill.

“They’re gaining!” Mae cried.

“The station’s right there. We can jump on the Twenty-One bus. It drops off near my place.”

They clambered onto the bus as the driver was closing the door. Trying to catch their breath and ignoring the disgruntled looks they were receiving, they fished out their bus passes and paid.

Mae kept a watch out the window. The four figures skidded to a halt at the transit station and watched the bus pull away, red eyes glowing from under their hoods.

Both women were silent for several minutes, content to let the bus rattle along as they waited for the adrenaline rush to subside and their heart rates to return to normal.

“Well,” Jill finally said, her face flushed. “That was interesting.”

Mae turned to Jill. “They were after me.”

“And exactly how do you figure that?”

“You remember that weirdness I was telling you about? They’re part of it.”

Jill raised an eyebrow as she reached for the pull cord to request the bus to stop. “I think we’re going to need to skip the dating part and go straight to the story.”

The two women climbed off the bus, looking around cautiously at their surroundings. They made a quick dash down Colfax Avenue to Jill’s townhouse. Jill unlocked the door, and both women slipped inside. Jill locked the door, threw the deadbolt and slipped the security chain into place.

Mae gave her surroundings a quick look. Jill’s home was an ordinary two-level townhome. A moderately sized living room, complete with fireplace, greeted her on entry, a smaller dining area was set off to one side, and Mae could see the barest glimpse of a kitchen shielded by the long wall across from the fireplace. The staircase in front of the door led up to the bedrooms. Jill’s taste in decorations and furniture ran toward comfortable, with oak wood dominating the furnishings. The cushions on the two chairs and the couch were a contrasting red. The entertainment center was modest and the artwork on the walls impressionist, mostly tasteful renditions of the female form.

“Look, Jill, maybe you should give me a ride home. I’m not sure how much you really want to know, or even how much you’d believe, about what’s going on. Maybe I should leave.”

“Or maybe,” Jill said, taking off her coat and favoring Mae with a slight smile, “you can have a seat. I’ll make something hot to drink, and you can fill me in on why a pack of two-legged Tindalos hounds are chasing you.”

Mae blinked in surprise. “Actually, I think they might have been two-legged Cŵn Annwn.”

Jill cocked her head. “Cŵn Annwn?”

“It’s Welsh.”

“I don’t know much about Welsh myth. I’m more of a Lovecraft kind of girl.”

Mae stood in the doorway and gave Jill a curious look. “You’re taking all this rather well.”

Jill snorted. “For your information, I think I might have peed myself a little bit back there. And I’ve spilled caramel mocha all over my shoes.”

Mae chewed on her lower lip for a moment, and then sighed. “I shouldn’t get you involved.”

“I think it might be too late for that. Besides, I don’t think either of us wants to go back out there tonight.”

Mae hugged herself. Jill was right. Mae was scared of what might be waiting in the cold Minnesota night. She was afraid to spend tonight alone in her little walk-up apartment. Coming to a decision, Mae took off her coat and kicked off her shoes.

“Okay then. If it’s all right, I’ll crash on your couch tonight.”

Jill smiled. “I’m glad that’s settled. I’ll make us some tea, and you can tell me all about it.”

Five minutes later, the two women were settled next to each other on the couch, steaming cups in front of them on the low coffee table.

Mae decided to start at the beginning. She put her cup down and reached into her messenger bag, withdrawing the illicitly copied file of Chrysandra Arneson. She opened it up on the table and turned to Jill.

“I saw a living dead girl tonight.”



About the Author

Michael Merriam is a writer, performer, poet, and playwright. He is the author of the steampunk series Sixguns & Sorcery, and his essays and stories have appeared in Uncanny MagazineCast of Wonders, and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. He has published ten books and over 100 pieces of short fiction and poetry. His scripts have been produced for stage and radio, and he has appeared in the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Not-So-Silent Planet, StoryFest Minnesota, and over the air on KFAI and Minnesota Public Radio. Like most artists, he has worked a variety of odd jobs over the years, including short order cook, late night radio disc jockey, international freight specialist, and manager of a puppet troupe. He lives in Minneapolis, MN with his wife and two exuberant cats. Visit his website at