“Mom,” I said in a strained voice, “you’re not an elf.”
She just stared at me. “Oh?” she asked. “And how can you prove that?”
“No one has to prove it! Elves don’t exist!”
Mom looked puzzled. “Who told you that?”
She sighed and shook her head.
“Can you prove that you are?” I challenged.
“Certainly.” Mom snapped her fingers. Her African violet on the windowsill exploded out of its pot and sprawled dirty roots all across the floor.
“Now,” Mother said, smugly, “would you like to meet the dragon who eats socks out of our dryer?”
Author’s Note: The real question is: is that dragon a pet, or an unwelcome pest they can’t get rid of? It’ll cost three socks to find out.
When Shigeo drowned in a well, Yuriko thought it bad luck. After Raiden succumbed to a fever, she was heartbroken. She tore her breast at Jirou’s funeral and cried endlessly for Daiki. So when Fumio began to court her, she went immediately to the family shrine.
“Please,” she prayed. “Protect Fumio, so that I may finally marry.”
The ancestors cast their eyes over the hapless Fumio, just like they had each time Yuriko came to them with a name.
“Not good enough.”
The next day, Yuriko heard the dreadful news about what had happened to Fumio.
Author’s Note: After a while of being dead, ancestors would probably lose touch with the lives of their descendants. They might think they were helping, but it would be hard for them to see how their actions might be harmful for the living.
The dragon puffed wisps of smoke into the fireplace, followed by a large ball of black goo. Fire wasn’t happening today. She picked up a codex bound in human skin and searched for a remedy.
Ah, brimstone tea.
She summoned a servant and gave him the order. But what was that smell? She sniffed the man, her steam breath scalding his neck.
Menthol? So soothing and oddly cool…
The dragon’s nostrils flared. “Atchoo!”
Flames engulfed the man, burning him to a crisp—and lit the firewood ablaze.
A cosy fire and a delicious snack? The dragon felt much better.
Author’s Note: What if a dragon caught a cold?
On time for my Tuesday 9:15, Sarah.
I never insert myself until after they’ve had time to get themselves ready for the day. I’m not a creeper; I just want to see life through others’ eyes.
Speaking of which, Sarah’s somewhere new. Posters of eyes, ads for colored contacts — an ophthalmologist’s office.
“Here, try these.”
My perspective shifts as her contacts come out. I’ve lost her.
It was always a matter of time; contacts, even those with embedded circuits, aren’t meant for long-term use.
Time to update my software, scan for new users. I need a new 9:15.
Author’s Note: Isn’t all fiction an attempt to see through someone else’s eyes?
I didn’t realize I was anything but ordinary until my twelfth birthday, when nobody came to my birthday party. It had been a clear, sunny day, but when I sang to myself to stave off the loneliness, the sky darkened and wept with me. It was the same when Mother died, and I sang her my farewells.
I haven’t cried much since you came along. I thought we had something special going; I thought you were The One. I’m singing now for what you threw away.
Go ahead, move into that hussy’s lakeside cabin. It won’t be there for long.
Author’s Note: Who wouldn’t want to be able to control the rain?
Ella called for the pumpkin-shaped carriage to change direction. After two nights of complimenting the vain monkey of a prince, she knew there was no way she wanted to feed bananas to his ever-hungry ego for the rest of her life.
And going back to washing floors for her stepmother? Hah!
“Where are we going, miss?” the driver asked.
“The night market. And hurry!”
She would sell the horses, the carriage, the ball gown and those ridiculously useless glass slippers. With the profit, she could get on the night ferry out of the city before her fairy godmother found out.
Author’s Note: When it comes to getting out of a bad situation, sometimes anything goes…
When the storm roiled high, Freya, the captain, cursed the dysentery that had taken their wind-caller. She reminded her first mate to sail fast for nearest port, then stood on the bridge and waited.
The sea serpent reared its head up out of the sea, opening its mouth in a roar.
She landed, wrapping her arms and legs around the serpent’s neck. Sharp scales cut the skin of her arms as she inched higher. She drew her dagger and plunged it deep into the weak spot behind the creature’s jaw.
Together, snake and captain fell into deep water.
Author’s Note: It sucks when your spellcaster dies before the main boss shows up.
The rural town was frightened when the children awoke to find their guinea pigs had vanished. Demonic sacrifice? Alien abduction? As months passed and nothing else disappeared, the incident was dismissed as an elaborate prank. Undaunted, Heather searched nearby fields for her beloved pig, Miss Priss. Following a curious rustling in the tall grass, she came to an abandoned barn. Inside she was astounded to find the missing guinea pigs. She was even more astounded when, after crying, “Miss Priss! Why did you leave?” the pig answered, “I can’t speak for the rest of them, but, frankly, I was bored.”
Author’s Note: I once had a guinea pig and always thought there was more on her mind than simply lettuce.
“Do you think to stop me with that little knife? I have come for your grandfather’s last sword, and I will have it.” Fierce and angry, the man advanced on Angela. “I have use for something that can steal men’s souls.”
Angela stepped back toward the main room of the cottage. Her heart hammered, but her hand was steady.
It didn’t impress the thief; he reached out to take the knife from her, to brush her aside. She twisted away, nicking him with the edge.
Colors rippled across the blade, and Angela met the man’s eyes squarely. “So do I.”
Author’s Note: I’ve read many tales of swords that steal souls, always awesome, showy things that betray they’re special. What if it was a humbler blade?
The executive shifted his ample weight in his chair. “Well, Congressman, it of course goes back to SICTA.”
“For the record, you are referring to the Slaughter Is Cruelty To Animals Act?”
“Yes, of course. When we switched to using stem cells to generate all our meat products, you know, to comply with the bill, we had to include an experimental protein that unfortunately triggered a severe meat allergy in everyone who consumed it.”
“How many people are we talking about?”
Mr. Alpers laughed. “Well, Congressman, it looks like the only people left who aren’t allergic to meat are vegetarians.”
Author’s Note: Sometimes it seems like only a matter of time before slaughter of animals for human consumption becomes illegal, and it seemed like stem cells could be a potential way around it. With consequences, of course.