Harbinger by Lisa

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Katerina Plotnikova Photography

When they said I could go back to her, I didn’t hesitate.

I had had a great love. Something most people can only imagine, or read books about. If Juliet was the sun, Sylvia was the supernova. She made me laugh. She challenged my ideas, respected my ideals. And she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

What I didn’t stop to listen for, were the conditions. I couldn’t go back as me—as Daniel—I had to be reborn.

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Uber Destiny by Lisa

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“Hey. It’s Charlie, right?” he was hanging out the window of a silver Mercedes Benz.

“Uh… yeah.”

“My name is David, I’ll be your driver for the night.”

Charlie checked his phone even though he’d already had his app open. “Nah, man… I’m waiting on a Honda Accord.”

The driver’s lip pulled up in a quirk. “You’ve been randomly selected for a luxury upgrade, free of charge. Unless you, uh, want to pay for that Accord ride instead. 28th and 2nd, right?”

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Three Wishes by Isabelle

He slumbered. For millennia, no doubt. But when he woke it was always to the same rumbling, the deafening crackle of magic like thunder, the stretching of his body to infinite proportion as it squeezed him through a space too small for him to fit, before making him whole again. The space around him came to focus slowly, dimly lit shadows dancing in flickering torchlight, fading fast, a single breath from extinction.

And like a passing sandstorm, they faded, clearing his vision, leaving behind only the shape of men and women, deathly still, crushed beneath the rubble. They’d come for his treasure. For gifts and talents unattainable. At a cost none could fathom. And like most, they earned nothing but a spot among his collection of bones.

The vacuum of silence exploded, as his sense fully returned, only to realize that the stillness of the room did not match the wet gurgling sound echoing against the cavern walls. He frowned, crossing his gargantuan arms over his chest, looking for the source of such desperate gnawing and froze when he saw it.

At the foot of his looming shadow, a small, suckling child sat, it’s tiny mouth pressed against the handle of his golden lamp. Continue reading


An Ideal Friday Night by Isabelle

“Well,” he said, making sure his sigh was a loud, exaggerated masterpiece, in case she happened to miss the point. “Here we are again.”

There was a long pause before she snickered. “We’re nothing if not consistent.”

He could hear the smile in her voice. Yup. He rolled his eyes. As usual, she missed the point entirely. Continue reading


Other Dating by Lisa

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The chime above the door rang and I shoved the book I was reading into my bookbag.

An inordinately handsome young man had walked in and was now leaning on my counter. He nodded to the backpack as I straightened up. “Whatcha reading?”

“Um… just something a friend leant me.” I didn’t want to admit what it was—one of the million YA paranormal books bracing the shelves these days, one of the very books that was driving up our clientele—it’s hard to find true love when everyone is obsessed with vampires and werewolves.

I cleared my throat. “Welcome to Other Dating. My name is Charity, how can I help you?”

He raised an eyebrow. “Charity? And are you an angel, Charity?”

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. I’d been hit on by an inordinate amount of Others in my time. It had long lost its ability to make me blush.

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Kaleidoscope by Isabelle

Color Splash from Polyvore.com

It’s true what they say: you can’t miss what you don’t have.

That’s why I didn’t understand it at first. All the hype about your soulmate, and what a big deal it was to find them.

Everyone said it changed everything. But what did I know? All I’d known my whole life was a monochromatic landscape. I didn’t know what I was missing… until I met her. Until the day we bumped shoulders at the little coffee shop on Main Street and she blew my world wide open. Continue reading


A Little Light Reading by Lisa

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The first time he put his lunch down across from her Helena froze. Everything in her seemed to bristle. People usually left her well enough alone and she was perfectly fine with that. If he tried to talk to her she knew her practiced response and had it ready: death glare, on ice. Every nerve was on high alert, ready to put it into play.

But then, without a word, he pulled out a book and sank into it, absently taking bites of his food between turning pages. He seemed to barely notice she was there.

Helena was relieved. He was new, so he probably didn’t know that people didn’t talk to her. He would soon enough. But for now, maybe he’d just seen a mostly empty table, in the sea of human noise that was their cafeteria.

The next day, she was sure, he’d have heard all about who she was and why he shouldn’t sit with her at lunch and he’d join the rest of the busy, loud room in ignoring her. It was fine. She opened up her own book and shook off the nerves still jolting in her veins and went on with her lunch.

But the next day he was back. And the next. She was bold enough to glance at him once or twice. She thought maybe he was slow. Otherwise what was he still doing, sitting directly across from her so calmly, as if it were the most natural thing in the world? There had to be something wrong with him. Nothing else made sense.

It took until the fourth day to realize he was in her English class. She had the grace to sit tucked into the row against the wall in English. She answered questions if called upon, but she rarely was. Mrs. Callaghan seemed to empathize with her misanthropic ways, and mostly left her alone, or gave her quietly enthusiastic shoulder-squeezes as she handed back her papers.

Suddenly someone was answering a question about Lady Macbeth and her sleepwalking self-incrimination. And the answer was intelligent and thoughtful, and coming from the mouth of the boy who had made a habit of sitting across from her at lunch.

And that’s how she learned that his name was Travis.

And how, as he caught her staring at him after he’d given his answer, she first saw him smile.

At lunch the next day he when the bell rang he closed his book—he was at the end, she’d seen, from her furtive glances at him—and slid it a few inches across the table, then picked up his tray and started to walk away.

“You forgot this,” she said, speaking to him for the first time.

Her heart sputtered in her chest when he just grinned at her. “No I didn’t. I think you might like it.”

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer, a book about memorization tricks and anecdotes. She did like it.

She was determined to return the favor and do it well. He had set the bar pretty high. She didn’t want to counter with another nonfiction, so what she slid in his direction the next day was high fantasy. He lifted an eyebrow at her, and let the book he had brought with him drop back into his bag.

The second time he slid a book over to her, it had a scrap of paper in it with his phone number and “Hi. :)”

You have to have heard how no one at school likes me by now, she texted him after she’d finally found the courage to send him a hi of her own.

I like you, what do I care what they think? he sent back. Do you care?

And it was so much harder to, knowing that he didn’t.

He asked her to go see a movie on a weekend in November, and he offered her his coat, but she didn’t need it, because Helena was the type of girl who dressed appropriately for the weather.

It took them both a little bit of time to get their words out, but walking the aisles in the bookstore or library seemed to help. They both had a lot of opinions on books.

People still called her freak sometimes, and even huffed at them when they walked down the halls. But then his hand would find hers, and graduation was in May. Austin wasn’t far, but it was a far sight better than here.

All they could afford was community college, but it was something. And she’d heard they had the biggest indie bookstore in the world. Helena thought it sounded just about perfect.


Powerless by Isabelle

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Her feet slapped against the smooth stone floor. Each step a heavy thud as she dragged her body forward. The sound echoed against the empty walls, harsh in the silence.

The candles had long burned out. Only the moon filtered through the portico, offering a wash of silver light.

She stopped when she came upon the great statue, and fell to her knees. Continue reading


Spark Strike by Lisa

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Ribina was bored.

In fact, bored was almost her favorite pastime. As the second daughter of the seventh family of Illindor, bored was her general right. If she had been a first daughter, or from one of the top five families she might have had civic duties to occupy her time. If she had been from any of the lower families she may have had to work for her keep—perish the thought.

As it was her life was one of wealth and opulence, and of waiting until one of the appropriate sons caught her interest enough to tempt her hand. Marriage could be fun, according to her cousin, Shadria. “Just find someone who is active enough for the bedroom and loyal enough to stay out of anyone else’s. So much the better if he has a head for conversation but as he’s like to be away on politics most of the year, he may as well not.” Continue reading


Sea of Stars by Isabelle

We were the last of the pure race. A straggling group of humans traveling among the stars, looking for a place to call home. We never settled on any of the terraformed planets- like so many of our species- though it wasn’t for lack of space. Every week The Winged Herald reported over the wireless that a new moon or dwarf planet had been transformed into a habitable environment for the heartbreakingly finite number of human refugees.

I used to dream about what life would be like in those colonies. A life that mimicked Earth’s old routines before everything went nuclear: school, farming, government. What would it be like to wake to the warm light of a star shining through my bedroom window, signaling the day? Or to dig my fingers into the wet soil and plant foods that would grow in an array of colors more brilliant than the nebulas?

I would never know. Continue reading


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