“The prenatal results are in. I’m sorry. There’s a defect.”
Mascara-stained tears smeared Lily’s cheeks. “What kind?”
“This pamphlet outlines the condition.”
“Is there a cure?”
“There are specialists who can help, but she’d have artificial correctives her entire life. I think you know what’s best.”
An hour later, she left the office, clinging to Kleenexes as mementos.
“You did the right thing,” Jack said at home. “Think of her quality of life. And with the extra expenses… we couldn’t have done it.”
Lily nodded but couldn’t look away from the brochure’s image of the sad-faced girl wearing thick-rimmed glasses.
Author’s Note: With modern technology and advances in genetic research, it begs the question: who decides what’s a “defect”?
The Lloyds wanted a house with character.
The old Victorian had character, all right, but to keep her real estate license, Evelyn was required to disclose the “paranormal occurrences” the previous owners had reported. The Lloyds exchanged a glance and asked for a night to think it over… in the residence.
The next morning, Evelyn met them at the door. “Find anything?”
Mrs. Lloyd was disheveled; her husband groggy. “We stayed up all night, but didn’t see a thing.”
“Great! You’ll sign the papers then?”
“Hardly!” Mrs. Lloyd huffed. “We wanted a house with character; this one’s not even haunted!”
Author’s Note: I read an article recently about what exactly realtors are required to disclose about a property’s history and found it so interesting that I just had to fit it into a story. In case you’re wondering: the laws vary by state.
Only a mad king would demand a pie of blackbirds. He ordered twenty-four birds be slaughtered, diced, and cooked for the crime of robbing the royal fruit trees. Yet when the baker presented the fragrant dish, the crust held only six. Six whirring, clanking clockwork crows with wispy feathers of gold, secretly constructed by the kingdom’s finest tinkerers deep in the rebels’ quarters.
His knife sliced the pie, meeting metal rather than meat.
The crows burst forth, brandishing their needle-sharp claws as weapons, their tiny beaks as spears.
The king fell, clutching his heart, in a heap of bloodstained feathers.
Author’s Note: This story is (obviously) based on the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence,” with a steampunk twist.