They left me behind. Good enough to forge their swords, not good enough to wield one. So they say.
But tonight a stranger will ride onto the field to aid them, her shield bearing the device of a gourd on a vine. Let them think their lives saved by a mysterious ally from a distant kingdom. They will never know it was I.
My fairy godmother’s warning whispers in memory: “But you must be home by midnight, Iron Elle. Heavens help you if you’re caught in battle with the smithy cat for a horse and a pumpkin for a shield.”
Author’s Note: Cinderella plus swords equals Mulan. It’s basic fairy tale arithmetic.
School sucked so much. Matthias much preferred to draw. In fact, he drew all the time and was now working on a drawing of a fairy.
As his pencil ran on the page, he jumped back when the fairy came out of it.
“You have the power to make any of your drawings come to life, Matthias,” said the fairy with a smile.
Matthias remembered doodling hundreds of penises on his desk at school today.
He gasped. “Oh crap…”
Author’s Note: Once you imagine the desk, you can’t forget it.
“I don’t like this, Lanceton.” Dr. James tried to look away from the grotesque statue, but the recently discovered crypt under the ruins of Mortwood Abbey was otherwise empty. His eye, finding no resting place in the Stygian gloom, was drawn back to the dreadful thing.
“No. Just prudent.”
“Hmmph! Say, you’re the classicist. Be a good chap and translate that inscription?”
“CUM INSCII CENTUM FABULAS CENTUM VERBORUM SCRIBERINT REDEBO.” James hardly hesitated. “I shall return when the unknowing have written a hundred hundred-word stories.”
“Madness! Whoever heard of hundred-word stories?”
There was a grating, scraping sound behind them.
Author’s note: This story is a not-too-serious tribute to M.R. James, doyen of the antiquarian ghost story.
“In conclusion, we’ll miss you Pete but we all wish you a long and happy retirement.”
Pete Spencer basked in the warm applause and downed his champagne. Colleagues clapped him on the back.
“You lucky son of a gun.”
“How did you manage to save up all that money?”
“Just 35! It shouldn’t be allowed.”
“Of course, it won’t seem as if you’ve left!”
The next day Pete stayed in bed until Noon and then drifted down to the pub for a leisurely lunch. He sighed happily.
At the office his exclusively manufactured clone walked in and set to work.
Author’s Note: A way of letting people retire while retaining their skills.
The cop caught the criminal climbing the gigantic tree and tasered him. The criminal fell, landed heavily on him and fled. The cop managed to uncork his emergency Time Wine but accidentally swigged too much. The criminal freewheeled backward, landed on the cop and climbed the tree, again. The wine soaked into the ground, the tree collapsed on the cop who fell onto his taser, which arced up through the tree. Criminal and cop both died. Later, a farmer bulldozing the tree found the bodies, plus the bottle of nearly-empty Time Wine. Two drops took ten years off his life.
Author’s Note: I explored one outcome if ‘Time Wine’ were added to a regular cop’s arsenal of weapons.
Sharon watched her life being packed away in charity boxes.
“What an ugly thing,” a man in overalls said, holding a purple vase. “Oops.” It shattered on the floor.
How dare you! I loved that vase.
An icy breeze blew into the room. The lights flickered. The shutters opened and closed. The man’s eyes filled with terror, and his face turned ashen.
Sharon slumped and stopped. What was she doing? She didn’t want to be that kind of ghost.
But didn’t she deserve a little fun?
She pulled out every plate off the shelves, cackling and moaning, and yelled, “Oops.”
Author’s Note: I had an idea about a ghost watching her apartment being emptied and not being happy about it.
Kate held her mother’s hand tightly as they scurried down to the Underground station when the air raid siren sounded.
A bomb hit nearby with a shuddering thump – dust and a few bricks fell from the ceiling above. There was a crash further down the tunnel.
In the darkness, something moved, dark and wetness reflecting from the station lights. Kate peered down the tunnel, shining her torch. She saw silvery metallic cloth, but not like a zeppelin – this moved with the thing inside it. It was moving towards Kate’s light when with a crash another bomb hit above.
Author’s Note: Wondering what could have been wakened during the Blitz.
I was thirty when the stories ran out. I had always been gifted; people would come from miles around to hear me. I had just finished a tale about a talking horse when my tongue dropped, cold and heavy like a pebble, to the floor of my mouth. I struggled to breathe. I fainted and when I woke, my voice was gone. I can play the old tales in my head but they are little more than silent movies, muted shadows of my imagination. The stories are gone forever. How am I supposed to survive in a world without them?
Author’s Note: The tradition of storytelling is ancient and I think a lot of people either take it for granted or underestimate it’s importance. We learn through stories, we entertain through them and we impart morality and wisdom through them. I was thinking about the impact on my sanity if I couldn’t share the tales my imagination cooks up. I can’t imagine I’d be too easy to live with.
I could see into the future. I made fortunes winning several lotteries and became the most famous person on Earth. Everybody wanted to kidnap me to exploit my power but it was, of course, quite easy to avoid them.
That is, until the power suddenly disappeared. I said I was stopping predictions and went into hiding.
The CIA got to me first. I awoke in a nuclear bunker and my hosts looked ugly. Fearing torture, I panicked and said I’d allowed them to catch me as a nuclear bunker looked like a good place to be just now.
Author’s Note: They might not have believed him even if he had told the truth and they would probably have jumped to the same conclusion!
He had watched the ravenous werewolf tear her apart and could do nothing to stop it. Fumbling with his pistol, he fired and the silver bullet found its mark in the heart of the beast. It reverted back to the form of a man. Pale. Naked. Dead. But when he turned, the girl was alive and whole again.
Although, that wasn’t completely true as he saw the puddle of blood seeping back into her flesh. When he looked up, she gazed upon him with sad eyes.
“I really wish you hadn’t seen that,” she said before tearing his throat out.
Author’s Note: This was my take on the classic werewolf versus vampire mythology. If you can call that type of story a classic.