Look Frankie, we’ve gotta talk. I’ve been seeing stories all over the internet about some guy they call The Ripper, and I know it’s you. They say he’s been using super-strength to rip open people’s rib cages and tear out their hearts. Except the only people he’s done it to are women. Women like Diana, for instance, and Kelsey. Sarah. Lauren.
Tell me it’s a coincidence that this guy has only targeted your exes, Frankie.
I won’t rat you out, you know that. But how could you do it? I thought I knew you, man. I thought we were friends.
Author’s Note: Congratulations, narrator; you’ve now become Frank’s next target.
My name is Rapunzel and they say I have the face of an angel.
I lie through my rose-petal lips. I tell them my father’s an ogre, a tyrant, and I don’t know what to do.
Getting in is easy enough.
It’s getting out that’s a little tricky.
There’s only one way into this tower of mine, so go ahead. Climb the famous golden stair if you dare, but let me tell you something first.
If I let you up and you don’t satisfy me, out you’ll go, face-first through the window.
There’s a reason I’m locked in this tower.
Author’s Note: Imagine what would happen if Rapunzel was evil.
“So? Will… you take me back?”
Time stands still in the space between seconds. Possibilities diverge…
The builders slap the first together. It doesn’t take much imagination to create the world where she laughs in his face and walks out of his life. Where he slumps, defeated.
It takes a lot more work to craft that second possibility. The one where she sees a spark of sincerity in him. Where she puts her heart on the line. This possibility takes fine, intricate craftsmanship, and the builders do not rush their art.
Time quivers, waiting, between one second and the next.
Author’s Note: Who designs the stories of our lives in those moments where everything changes?
A three-headed ice-cream cone with fangs broke the idyllic forest scene with its rabid, creamy roar, and Figgy jolted awake.
Something was wrong; she had handpicked the dream off the assembly line. A good dream, relaxing.
She checked the conveyor belt. The clear, iridescent dreams flowed past as usual.
The dream bulged, swirling with the inky taint of nightmare. Three more like it fell into the delivery sacs.
She glanced up. Somehow, the nightmares had backed up and begun dribbling down on the glittering dreams.
Figgy winced and hit the emergency stop button.
She was so fired.
Author’s Note: Do you ever wonder where those really bizarre dreams come from?
Every day, the boy Jacobo saw the heroes training on the mountain. Running, jumping, fighting with sticks and swords and spears.
Jacobo knew he could never be one of them. He was born with a shriveled left arm – how could he hope to hold a shield? A hero without a shield is nothing, he could never form a shield wall!
One frosty, windy morning, the Dark Wizard awoke from his long slumber and set the mountain on fire with one waggle of his index finger, and all the heroes turned to ash.
And Jacobo thought, “I’d rather be a wizard.”
Author’s Note: Being a wizard means less cardio.
Troubling news today, as the Times reports yet another burial ground desecrated by the man known as The Necromancer.
The Necromancer, legal name Boris Dresky, has previously been jailed twice for unlawful trafficking of human organs, but officers were unsure where Dresky was procuring his goods. Now the Times reports that Dresky is allegedly using dark powers to wake the recently dead, who climb out and donate their organs to him willingly before wandering off to frighten local citizens.
Officers refused to comment on what Dresky might be doing with these organs and whether he is truly waking the dead.
Author’s Note: For such an exorbitant price, those Black Market organs better be fresh.
I’m not one of those new magicians, playing pop music over my illusions, incorporating Harry Potter tales into my routine. I’m old school. If that means a few jeers as my show starts up, fine, I can take it.
Rabbits have teeth. Carrots are one of the toughest vegetables, and it’s always a gamble reaching into my black top hat.
Children shriek as my blood spurts out over the audience, spraying little Madison’s seven-year-old friends across their formerly bored, sallow faces.
Fortunately, one of my tricks is regenerating fingers. The kids stare, enthralled, dropping their smartphones on the floor.
Author’s Note: I remember the first time I saw a magician as a kid, at my local public library. He placed his fingers in a miniature guillotine. I was terrified and thrilled all at once.
Mom called, “Put Sugar in her cage and come down for supper!”
I looked up from my book. My Guinea pig continued to race around manically, as she’d been doing for the past hour. The plush carpeting beneath her tiny pink feet had taken on the image the little creature seemed determined to imprint.
It took a bit of effort, but I finally managed to catch her. She oinked and squealed, squirming in my grip.
I looked down at what she’d made and sighed. “Not again.”
Using my toes, I rubbed out the pentagram.
I booped her nose. “Bad, Sugar.”
Author’s Note: I had a Guinea pig when I was a teenager and she may have been named Sugar. Whether or not she worshipped demons is a matter up for debate.
It was becoming more difficult every year. There were fewer large trees, more environmentalists, and Babe had been put to pasture, caring more for chewing daisies than for towing logs. Paul couldn’t blame him.
He rubbed his back, dabbing at his sweat streaked brow. These days, he removed barnacled stumps from house lots.
Paul’s bunions were killing him.
“Hey, you stupid oaf. No loafing. You have this acre to clear,” yelled the foreman, chewing his ever present licorice.
No one cares about my exploits anymore.
Retired, sipping drinks in Fiji, Paul looked out at the forest of men and smiled.
Author’s Note: Times move on, people change and so must Paul Bunyan.
The currents had a strong northerly pull, but Grayson didn’t mind. He didn’t swim so much as become water, and the cool breakers felt refreshing rather than frigid.
“I never thought I’d meet another.”
The voice made Grayson pause before diving—a girl his age, floating ten feet above the surface. They considered each other, curious and awestruck.
“I’m wind,” she said. “You’re obviously water.”
“What do you mean, I’m water?”
“The elemental gift, of course. There are two others. They’ll be on land.” She started to blow inland. “Coming?”
After a moment, Grayson became a wave and lapped ashore.
Author’s Note: I’m not huge on elemental magic, but I thought discovering you had a penchant for it all along might make for an interesting story.