“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?
Leonora came stumbling out of the time machine, cursing her failure even as she hurried to the control panel to input her fresh data. She’d missed Alex by moments, catching sight only of the back of his head as he vanished around the corner and into the busy street. She’d run after him, of course, but he’d vanished in the immensity of the crowd.
Now she a new date. A new time. And she would find a way to reunite with him no matter what the Time Council said.
Ten minutes later, Leonora came stumbling out of the time machine…
Author’s Note: Even if you were fated to fail, would you give up on trying to pull a doomed loved one out of time? Especially if each attempt seemed to come this… close…
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!
Tray’s watch chirped. “You’ve been browsing travel sites! Maybe you should check out these Greek lessons!”
He swiped at his wrist. “Shut up, would you?”
“Oh. Would you like some relaxing music?”
“No!” He put a hand over it, trying to silence the stupid thing.
“Okay. But I noticed your list of websites to “read later” has grown a lot! Perhaps you’d like me to schedule an hour for—”
He wrapped his sweatshirt around his wrist until it was muffled, and then grinned fiercely at the stunned clerk. “Like I said, I want to return my Life Assistant. Please.”
Author’s Note: If Google prompted me to fulfill every aspirational search I ever made, I think I’d go crazy in less than an hour.
There once was a princess who was sometimes a dragon. She lived in the highest tower of a castle keep, but she wasn’t a prisoner there. On the contrary: on warm, sunny days she would spread her wings and leap from the battlements to go sailing away over the moat and across the fields.
Knights came from all over the land to win her fair heart, but when they told her of their great deeds of monster slaying, the princess would allow herself to transform, daring them to slay one more great monster in her name. Somehow, they never could.
Author’s Note: I know you’re wondering if she eats them… but I’ll never tell. 😉
“Have you tried knocking over her lamp?”
“Yes.” Chris sighed.
“Turning off her alarm?”
Adrian huffed. “Well, have you tried hiding her left shoe?”
Chris and his haunting consultant pondered Denise’s sleeping form. She’d walked away clean from the crash that’d killed him, and Chris had vowed never to give her a moment’s peace. Problem was, she laid the blame elsewhere no matter how many times he scooped soil out of her potted plants or switched off her coffee maker.
“Sorry,” the consultant said sadly. “There’s no good haunting that can’t be pinned on the cat.”
Author’s Note: Heaven knows I blame everything on MY cat.
“Mrs. Russell, I’m Mr. Cavanaugh, here about your son’s assessment scores.”
The large man adjusted his glasses – an affectation in a world of perfect vision repair – and opened his glossy red folder. Another affectation, it held a single sheet of SmartPaper, which had been tuned to Benjamin’s assessment. He seemed ready with a presentation.
Trudy Russell cut him off. “What’s his aptitude?”
The man frowned. “Math. And problem solving.”
“He just turned five,” she said, “prime recruitment age. I’d want an advance on an eight-year contract, at least.”
“Provided his education proceeds on schedule…”
Benjamin’s mother settled in to negotiate.
Author’s Note: The pressure to decide our futures comes earlier and earlier… fortunately, mommy’s here to save the day. Or at least negotiate for a higher advance.
“What about the red one?”
“We don’t usually recommend Kona lava dragons to first time owners. They grow to over 80′ long and spit a jet of flame that can melt granite. Ma’am, if you’ll just come this way I can show you a greater bearded dragon. They’re much calmer and they only grow to about 6′. I have one, myself, and he loves to curl up under my feet while I watch videos.”
“But that one’s green. I don’t like green. I’m sure this little red one will be just fine.”
Kara sighed. “Let me show you the leashes…”
Author’s Note: No doubt she’ll be back in next week to complain that her new poopsie ate the neighbor’s dog and burned down half the block.
The cop at the foot of Avery’s hospital bed flipped a notepad open. “You were possibly the only witness to a bank robbery today. Can you tell us what happened?”
The bank’s façade had glowed yellow for a moment before the motorbike had burst through the wall—not shattering the bricks, but passing through them like an oar through water. There had been a burst of pain, then a young punk peering down at him.
“Sorry, mate. Know the worst part? If you try to help the cops, they’ll probably commit you.”
“Sorry, officer, it was all just a blur…”
Author’s Note: What would you say?
“Sammy, come out here!”
“Yeah, mom, in a minute.” He pulled a fresh notebook off the shelf.
“You’re going to miss everything!”
“Well then I guess I’ll be disappointed for like two seconds!” He tried to block out the sounds of her nagging; the light from the meteor lit the room from the wrong direction like an eerie second sun, and he began to write:
Literal end of the world and the Parents still won’t let me take the Jag out for a spin. Worst. Apocalypse. Ever. At least I’ll never have to retake that test in
Author’s Note: Have you ever seen someone in such a mood that you’re sure even the end of the world couldn’t budge them?