“Feeding the Feral Children” — David Farland

David Farland is the author of the best-selling Runelords series, which began with The Sum of All Men, with the eighth and latest volume, Chaosbound, coming out last year. Farland, whose real name is Dave Wolverton, has also written several novels using his real name as his byline, such as On My Way to Paradise, and a number of Star Wars novels such as The Courtship of Princess Leia and The Rising Force. His short fiction has appeared in Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn, David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches. He is a Writers of the Future winner and a finalist for the Nebula Award and Philip K. Dick Award.

In the movie The Last Unicorn (based on the classic novel by Beagle), Schmendrick the Magician warns, “And be wary of wousing a rizard’s wrath . . . rousing a rizard’s . . . be wary of making a magician angry!” That’s really good advice since, when it comes to revenge, wizards have a dizzying array of unpleasant options at their disposal.

When Merlin incurs the wrath of the Lady of the Lake, he finds himself imprisoned in a crystal cave. In Robert Asprin’s Another Fine Myth, an escalating practical joke contest between a pair of wizards leaves one of them permanently stripped of his sorcerous powers. And in the Stephen King novel Thinner, an obese man finds himself cursed by a witch to undergo an involuntary and unstoppable weight loss program. (In a similar—and somewhat lighter—vein, the movie My Demon Lover is about a man who is cursed by a sorceress to turn into a horrid monster whenever he becomes sexually aroused.)

Our next story also tells of an unfortunate fellow who finds himself in the crosshairs of a magic-user, and it reminds us once again why it’s definitely not a good idea to rouse the wrath of a rizard . . . er, wizard.