“I don’t want to be a princess anymore. I want to be a mermaid.”
Celia’s father rolled his eyes. “Okay, my darling. A mermaid.” He began to close his eyes when Celia interrupted him.
“With pink hair,” she added, “and a sparkly tail.”
The request would take too much energy but he couldn’t say no to that face. So, he closed his eyes.
Celia squealed in excitement as she transformed, sparkly tail and all. Soon, her squeals turned to horror as she started to choke on the waterless air. Her father watched helplessly as they lay dying beside each other.
Author’s Note: Some parents would do anything for their children.
I love you, Miss Muffet.
You are so beautiful, sitting on your tuffet, eating your curds and whey, that you send shivers up and down my cephalothorax.
Can I be your special pet, Miss Muffet? You could stroke the soft fur on my abdomen, tickle me under my pedipalps. Life would be so wonderful.
See how handsome I am, fangs gleaming and sparkling, polished with beetle-wing wax, rinsed with early morning dew!
Oh why doesn’t she look at me?
Here I come, Miss Muffet. Perhaps a gentle nip?
OH, MY GOD! What a bloodcurdling scream!
Did I frighten you away?
Author’s Note: Well, I just wanted to tell the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme from the spider’s viewpoint!
“Why aren’t you running?”
The little girl held mute ground.
“How old are you?”
Her fingers showed six.
“You need to run.”
She didn’t move.
Yanux stood on his hind legs, brandished open hands with sparkling silver claws, forced his wild wooded hair outwards, and roared. The child’s right foot faltered one step back. He fell to all fours and rolled his eyes; by now most of the village was safely indoors.
A soft hand touched his callused forehead between the two twisted horns. The monster sighed, turned for home.
She’d be thirteen soon enough, and then he’d eat her.
Author’s Note: Without rules a monster couldn’t hope to be sustainable, less he destroys all his would be victims in a single night.
“When I was your age–,” she began, but I cut her off.
“You’ve never been my age. I’m older than you.”
She blinked, confused and caught in the memory of another life. “Not now; before. I was a monk. By the time I was your age I’d discovered the meaning of life.”
For some reason, it really irks me when she talks about her past lives. “So you had it all figured out,” I snapped. “And what’s the meaning of life?”
A smile graced her lips. “You were there too; you’ll remember. I don’t want to ruin the surprise.”
Author’s Note: The idea of reincarnation fascinates me. The idea of remembering those previous lives fascinates me even more.
When it rained singing snowflakes, Kara caught some on her tongue. She hoped the ice crystals would give her a singing voice. She’d settle for any kind of voice at all.
When she opened her mouth again an enchanting song came out, the snowflakes flurried about her, creating a chorus. She sprinted over to the other kids, showed her new song.
Heated with envy, the others tried eating the flakes too, but all they wound up with were frozen tonsils. Kara sang for them, watched them recover as if by magic.
Guilty and thankful, the kids made her snow angels.
Author’s Note: This one came about with the thoughts of carols and snow, a new legend for snow angels.
“I don’t think you’d kill a boy of ten,” I said to the man, and hoped it was true.
The warrior before me was a demon’s servant. He guarded a dark cave’s mouth a mile outside the town where the beast had been attacking. The kid and I had to get through this fool to slay it. I reached for my sword, but the kid was smarter.
“Wine?” he said.
The warrior lowered his blade and took the wineskin. It was the strongest in the land, and before long he was snoring.
We stepped over him and drew our weapons.
Author’s Note: This story started with the opening line, became a drabble, but now I’m thinking it could survive as something longer.
First, it was guinea pigs. Then white rats. Next, a gigantic rabbit appeared. Wild monkeys clung to their cage bars.
“Honey,” she said carefully, “don’t you think we have enough pets?”
“They’re not pets,” he assured her, “I’m testing my new vaccine. Against my new virus. It took a while to perfect both—now all I need is a human test subject.”
She could get no more words out before the hypodermic needle jabbed her. Then a strange puff of vapor breezed across her face.
“I’ll be back to check on you later. Let me know if you’re…not feeling well.”
Author’s Note: I think most mad scientists working today probably feel at least some temptation to practice on their families first. Cuts cost. More efficient.
“You smell like old doughnuts.”
The Devil tilted his head. “What’s a doughnut?”
“Are they made of nuts?” The Devil asked in his monotonous way. He never lingered much on human triviality.
The girl laughed nervously. “They’re soft and sweet and wonderful. You should try one.”
“If I get you one, will you—will you let me go?”
The Devil considered her. At fourteen, she had sold her soul after a night of too many ‘Bloody Marys’ in the mirror. “Are you willing to stake your soul on my good opinion of a doughnut?”
The girl nodded.
Author’s Note: I sometimes feel like I might sell my soul for good food.
“I ever tell you about the Water People, Len?” Dad drummed his fingers on the steering wheel.
“That’s not real,” she said, not turning from the hardwood trees lining the road.
“You have to watch out for them when you’re driving. They’re almost invisible.”
Dad felt his daughter roll her eyes.
He waited, then screamed as he flicked the switch for the wiper fluid.
Len screamed too, but her look of horror turned into an embarrassed smile after Dad started laughing.
Neither of them knew what to do when the car lurched, hitting something that didn’t seem to be there.
Author’s Note: I pulled this on my little sister once. I thought I was so clever. It’s a good thing the Water People aren’t real, right?
I slam on the brakes. There I am at the school bake sale, standing over my peanut brittle. I get in the car and apologize.
Seven blocks later, yep. Sitting at the coffee shop with my laptop working on the report. “Get in the car!” I yell at myself. “It’s almost dinnertime.”
Across town, at the farmers market, I finally find six perfect apples for the pie. I leap in.
That must be my 90th lap around the park. Enough already!
My husband has gotten used to me going out for a drive before dinner so I can collect myself.
Author’s Note: We live in a fractured world. Lots to do and no time for pulling ourselves together.