Junie peeked out the gap between the cabinets and felt a shiver of excitement rush through her. There, discarded and forgotten on the kitchen floor, was a prize that would bring her family wealth and prestige: a whole peppercorn, dark and heady, as big as her two fists. Even after they split off a piece large enough to enjoy for months to come, they would still have plenty left to trade.
All she had to do was get to it and get back again before the resident mouse noticed it.
Somewhere nearby, the cat surely lurked. The race was on.
Author’s Note: All her sister brought home was a cilantro leaf from the compost bin!
“You have no vocational training whatsoever, so there’s very little I can do. Maybe a part-time job in the sanitation industry?” Ms. White said.
“I have special skills,” the dwarf said.
“What kind of special skills?”
“Got any straw?”
“This is an office, sir.”
The dwarf took out a knitting hook and grabbed a handful of shredded paper from the trash. In a moment he handed her a gold bracelet.
“We might be able to come to some sort of arrangement,” Ms. White said as she admired his handiwork.
“Yes, we might,” the dwarf said, eyeing Ms. White’s pregnant belly.
Author’s Note: You get all kinds at the unemployment office.
“You’ll make the rafters creak?”
“And the floorboards, too, as per the contract.”
“Yes, about that. I purchased the standard package, but…”
“Could you possibly make the walls bleed?”
“Wish I could, but that’s a boutique service.”
“I would compensate you handsomely, of course. Cash in hand.”
“No can do, ma’am. The union would have my head. Metaphorically.”
For shame, she thought bitterly, watching him float away. I know I’ve gotten too old to keep up with household chores, but when I was a young poltergeist, my walls oozed with blood. Hauntings just aren’t what they used to be.
Author’s Note: I wonder if these folks advertise on Craigslist. I didn’t check.
The would-be invaders arrived too late. The planet had already been conquered. Evidence clearly showed militaries surrendering to one powerful superman. Civilians were taking shelter.
But how could he be so successful? Perhaps his telepathy protected him. He knew so much about so many people! Perhaps it was his speed of movement, so fast even the alien’s orbiting technology couldn’t track him.
Another unexpected datapoint: his victims were resilient, surviving his repeated incursions.
The aliens listened, transfixed, as the war below played out for all to hear.
“This is a NORAD special report. Santa Claus has left the North Pole…”
Author’s Note: I wanted to write about how the Santa story would transpose onto asteroid mining colonies, but came up with this instead.
Bottles of spirits rest behind the bar, half-full and dusty. Light glints off the glass and if you squint, you can see something swirling.
The bartender knows how to mix them. A splash of southern vermouth gives a grandmother’s wisdom to a new bride; a shot of whiskey grants her the courage of a grizzled gunslinger for her wedding night. The ghosts don’t mind. They live on through bodies that drink them.
But the soul stored in that particular bottle is my grandmother, and she left me out of the will. I raise my rifle and take aim. Glass shatters.
Author’s Note: I wrote this one at my favourite pub, obviously.
One should never mix spells with potions. Every witch knew this. Yet, she had done it anyway.
She moved to her cauldron, her limbs hindering her with their lack of bones and suckers. One tentacle wrapped around a vial getting it halfway to the cauldron before it shattered. She sighed, a wet sound coming from a beak hidden by a bulbous head. She turned and headed to the cupboard, longing for a large body of water.
If she didn’t get this potion finished and her body back before her sisters got home she would never hear the end of it.
Author’s Note: My son loves horror stories, particularly those stories that have witches who make mistakes and all the hoopla they have to do to get out of trouble.
“Go on then… make your wish,” the town well said.
“Well, hold on a second. You had a wish of your own. I heard you muttering before,” Mike replied. He was feeling particularly generous.
“Oh. No, you really shouldn’t—”
“I wish for the well’s wish to come true!” Mike declared. He was pleased with himself until someone suddenly pushed him down into the well. When he came to, a voice shouted down to him.
“Thank you, friend! I did try to warn you. Good luck getting someone to wish you out of there! It only took me forty years.”
Author’s Note: To be fair, the well did try to warn him.
Taxi horns blared as Officer Zapone zipped ahead on her broomstick to follow the running murder suspect to the intersection. The officer muttered an incantation to amplify her voice over the noisy traffic. “Daryl Peters, stop running! You’ve been warned!” she shouted. The suspect halted only to avoid being crushed by a crossing bus. He started turning.
Zapone thought Peters was cooperating when he faced her, but then she saw him raise a spell-gun. “Mano amputata!” she cried. Two hands fell onto the street along with the spell-gun.
Later, reporters would inquire about undue force and the use of Italian.
Author’s Note: Would the broomsticks have sirens, I wonder?
Being forbidden from the ball was the spark which ignited the inferno.
“You’ll never find a husband before us,” her stepsisters told her, “and all the nobles will be spoken for.”
She hated her tears. Her lineage was a litany of unfairness. No. More.
She summoned her fairy godmother. The gray-haired matron listened, irate.
“You will have until midnight to claim your revenge!” she said. “Then, the fires go out.”
Vengeance! Her magic burned her home, her town, the streets, and finally the castle. The nobles fled the conflagration screaming, all terrified, all but one.
“Long overdue,” said the prince.
Author’s Note: I always thought Cinderella ended a tad too tidily.
Jennika’s eyes narrowed in grave consternation. The picture her mother had chosen was nice enough, a unicorn in a forest. It was the wall that was the problem.
“The wall doesn’t like it when you put that picture there,” she said.
“Oh Jennika,” her mother sighed. “Walls aren’t alive, remember? It doesn’t care one way or the other. I think it’s you who doesn’t like the picture.”
The wall smirked. Jennika suppressed a sigh of her own, wondering how her mother could be so ridiculously misinformed.
It wasn’t the first time she’d wondered this, and it wouldn’t be the last.
Author’s Note: As a child, I overheard the expression ‘the walls have ears.’ My imagination was sparked for months. I may have named the ones in my bedroom. Not saying I did 😉