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.
Carol polished the keys of her new baby grand. It was the sort that could play a number of tunes for itself.
She’d bought it at an estate sale. The previous owner had been a great pianist in his prime, his skill butchered by arthritis setting in his fingers. Carol was fond of playing herself and vowed to use her fingers on the instrument while she could. She tapped a few notes of “Greensleeves” and went about her chores, the song still playing in her head, until it wasn’t.
Carol whipped around, recalling she hadn’t switched the piano to auto.
Author’s Note: As a child, I loved going into lobbies and seeing pianos play themselves. As I aged though, I wondered how easy it would be for ghosts to take over without anyone knowing.
“If I write your name wrong, you get this coffee and a free refill,” the barista said. Her grin grew wider when she added, “If I’m right, I get your soul.”
I shivered. It had to be a joke. Still, I counted my lucky stars as I gave my name. “It’s Dominique.”
All through school, my name was misspelled Dominic or something far from pronounceable.
But that barista’s teeth gleamed as she scrawled. She showed me the cup and my heart dropped.
“Sorry, but your name is in your eyes. We see all here. Here’s your smock. Get to work.”
Author’s Note: Most want their names written right on their coffee cups, but not at Café Nightmare where you have to work as a barista for an eternity, no breaks. Good thing there’s coffee.
She looked beautiful, a girl drawn 2-D with pencil lines. Kenji wished at the shrine last night that the girl would live for one evening. He knew she couldn’t exist forever. When the sun sank and the moon bled on the rooftops, Kenji waited.
He heard shuffling, the rattle of paper. His magazine sat beside him. Had it shifted? Kenji squinted at its pages, leaning over them. Whish! And he was in the pages himself, in the midst of the magical war fought by his desired girl.
It was okay. He’d be out tomorrow, if he could survive the night.
Author’s Note: As a fan of anime and manga, I had many a wish of wanting characters and/or alternate worlds to exist. Then I’d realize I probably wouldn’t last a day.
When Sadie felt cold, she could paint her nails. Red polish made her hot and with polish remover and a coat of blue, she could cool down again. Various brands had the same results, with no effect on her sister, so Sadie figured it was her.
She tried yellow and felt happy, black and felt depressed. Glitter made her glow in and out. But there was one shade she hadn’t tried.
She plastered clear polish on and went invisible.
It was awesome, walking through walls, pulling chairs from under people, until she realized that remover couldn’t work on thin air.
Author’s Note: This story came from thinking what if nail polishes could change your mood by soaking through your cuticles and became something crazy when I thought of how colors are already shown to affect mood. I was greatly influenced by the Invisible Man.
Amber’s Valentine’s Day gift came in a coffin. Somehow, the postman was fine dropping it on her doorstep without requiring so much as a signature. Baffled but curious, she lugged the wooden box in and read the little sender’s card attached.
“Giving you all I can, your secret admirer,” it read. Hearts and roses littered the fringes.
She tossed it aside and, hands trembling, lifted open the coffin’s lid.
Inside rested nothing but another card. Amber sighed, both relieved and disappointed. She bent, picking up the second card. On it were scrawled two words that chilled her heart: Your Future.
Author’s Note: I was going for a horror story that didn’t involve the supernatural. No vampires, just a creepy admirer and the promise of death.
Victor studied hard to get his rain dance right. When his feet could tap a rhythm and still keep him upright, he was ready.
At the park in dead heat midday, he got to putting on a show. Leaves cracked like rust shavings under him. When he couldn’t see straight for sweat, he stopped to catch his breath, looked up at the sky. No clouds.
Disappointed, he was about to go home when a drop hit him, then another, more.
He was happy until he saw their color: red.
His fault for not describing what he wanted to rain down.
Author’s Note: I like rain dances. They’re beautiful when done right, but I wondered what would happen if an amateur did one all wrong. What kind of treat (or trick) would the sky give him?
Paul was afraid of taking baths. He remembered what had happened to the Wicked Witch when her green flesh met water. His green skin wouldn’t like it either.
His parents began to get offended by his body odor.
“You must bathe, Paul,” his father roared. That night, Paul had no choice.
He prepared the water, dipped in a toe.
His body liquefied and he shrieked. As a patch of algae, he floated. Once bored, he stretched and stood again as a boy, greenness left behind. Not so bad, he thought. Maybe he’d to it again, when he was green again.
Author’s Note: I was influenced by the Wizard of Oz with this one. What if the witch wasn’t permanently green and just had an inversion to baths. I paired this thought with a young boy’s similar sentiments toward water.
We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for the best stories of SpeckLit’s first quarter. As we said beofre, while we love all our authors’ stories (we wouldn’t publish them if we didn’t), our readers have their favorites.
Congratulations to Sierra July and Anne E. Johnson for their wins!
Sierra’s Storytime was our readers’ number one story
And Anne took both second and third prize with Stitching Death and Bully Balloons.
Both authors will receive online bookstore gift certificates.
We look forward to hearing from our readers again in July for our 2nd Quarter Best Of.
Elephants march, born of stone, trekking Mercury’s surface, clutching prayer that angry Sun would cease boring holes in hide.
All walk bleak parade, crumbling into dust heaps, but two elephants twine trunks, send hope on blazes of light. A youngster is born of their wish. Like others, made of stone, scalds in flame. But he burns back (serve return!).
With focus, the youngster stares into Sun’s eyes, and triumphs. His eyes speak fury their own. Heat close to thirst quenches the Sun.
Elephants march under heat of waned Sun, ever balmy. Youngster marches too, eyes clenched, awaiting Sun’s peek again.
Author’s Note: This is one of a series of stories sparked by reasoning, if there is life on other planets, why can’t they be animals, cousins of those on Earth? Here we have elephants of stone, durable yet breakable, striving to win their war with the sun.