Joey was homesick. Ms. Howitt knew what to do.
“Here, see these beads? What’s your mommy’s favorite color?”
“Let’s put a green bead on the string. Touch it when you feel sad. Your mommy will feel like you gave her a hug.”
Joey touched the bead. He smiled then joined his classmates.
During art time, the phone rang.
“Ms. Howitt? This is Joey’s mother. I’m at the doctor’s. Could you tell him I’ll be late?”
“I slipped on the stairs and broke my ankle. It’s bizarre — I was all alone, but suddenly I thought someone grabbed me.”
Author’s Note: I wanted to play with idea of an adult making up a story to comfort a child, as well as the superstitious idea that if you say something, it will become true.
Oliver examined the bookshelf in Liza’s dorm room, tapping the spines so they were even.
“Can’t believe how many vampire romances you have. You really like this stuff?”
Liza shrugged and sat down on the futon. “Well, you know. You get addicted.”
“I heard they suck.”
She rolled her eyes. “They’re fun, okay? Don’t judge me.”
He wrapped an arm around her waist and whispered, “Suppose I bite you, then. Like a vampire.”
“That’s kind of hot.” Liza grinned and stretched out her neck.
Oliver’s fangs gleamed red in the glow of the lava lamp. This was getting too easy.
Author’s Note: I think the rehabilitation of vampires’ image as romantic heroes would be a great deal for vampires.
She had missed her own wedding. Her mother had rushed into the dressing room with the news, startling her into painting a streak across her eyelid with the mascara. She still wore her bridal corset under sweatpants and a hoodie. The crowd parted and allowed her to approach her groom.
The zombie attack had left his arms and torso mangled. His eyes trembled open, and she was relieved to see that a dim spark remained.
“Susie,” he drawled, “we were going to be married…”
“Shut up, Dustin. I do.”
He grimaced, which she took for a smile. “I do, too.”
Author’s note: My first draft of this story involved a car accident. I rewrote it when I imagined how a different misfortune would complicate the couple’s wedding vows immensely.
Bruiser wagged his tail and ran toward the hedge, following the scent of a wild animal. He stuck his nose into the leaves and came face to face with it: a winged lizard the size of a cat.
The creature did not move, and that bothered Bruiser. He prodded it with his paw. It answered with a puff of fire that singed through Bruiser’s fur and made him howl.
He limped over to the man, expecting sympathy. Instead, the man went inside and returned to tend Bruiser with a stinging liquid. He should have known. His master was only human.
Author’s note: My dog had a few run-ins with bumblebees, which didn’t end well for either animal. I wondered what might happen if a dog met a small animal that was a bit more dangerous.
Mike had been trapped for hours in the dark room. He was cramped. The room was scarcely large enough to contain him.
He heard voices outside the thin walls, but he couldn’t make out any words. Suddenly the room shook and rose, as though lifted by a giant. Mike trembled. He pictured his brothers, and wondered at their fates.
The little room stopped moving just as the ceiling was ripped off. As the light struck him, Mike froze. He was staring a young giant in the face.
“Wow, a toy robot! Thanks, Mom. I can’t wait to take him apart!”
Author’s note: I was considering Thanksgiving from the perspective of a turkey, which led me to think about gift-giving from the perspective of a sentient toy.