“Hey. It’s Charlie, right?” he was hanging out the window of a silver Mercedes Benz.
“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?”
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
“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
Image by Dot Myl – Google Plus
Hello dear friends and imaginative travelers!
We regret to have left you at the Tree alone for such an extended period of time. We thought of you often, and despite our best efforts to return, the Door to the Tree eluded us, busy as we were fighting monsters in our path.
But if you’re here, if you’re listening… we’re knocking.
Where will 2018 lead us?
Come along. Let’s find out.
A little science fiction, in honor of Mr. Bradbury passing away earlier this month.
I miss color.
That’s the one thought going through my head as I scan item after item for customer after customer. It’s been a busy shift, what with the holiday and all. Everyone in the whole colony seems excited except for me.
I miss color.
It had seemed so cool when the opportunity first came up. I mean c’mon, I was eight. Who didn’t want to live on the moon? It had seemed like the best birthday present ever. We would be the very first, and Dad was going to develop moon-growing vegetables and Mom was going to design a drill to well deep into the surface to harvest moon ice.
Plus there was a rocket ship ride. Complete with a whole hour of anti-gravity free time. That feeling of floating, of not being weighed down by yourself or towards anything else, was the most amazing thing in the world.
I even got to wear a spacesuit. Had to, in order to get from the ship into the airlock. Fifteen minutes to put on a suit I got to wear for about two and a half. That was pretty cool, too.
Our first year was in tents, as the building happened. They’d built the entire Air-and-Grav dome around absolutely nothing to begin with, because it cost less to have people work after the dome was built, than outfit a bunch of people in suits for long periods of time. It seemed like camping. Which is fun for about two weeks. But then you kind of miss running water and warmth. The AG dome is protected from the harsh heat in the sun and cold in the shadow times, but the temperature is always either chilly or hot. And really, there wasn’t much here but rocks and dirt at first, so exploring wasn’t as exciting as it sounded.
It’s impossible to run in glass slippers.
I don’t mean difficult—I mean flat-on-your-face impossible. In fact, flat on my face is exactly how I ended up when I attempted it. One heel dislodged, my toe was still trapped, and there I was, sprawled on the marble steps, the bounty of layers from my dress thankfully breaking my fall.
The palace guards were on me in the blink of an eye. Surely someone trying so hard to get away had a nefarious reason for it, and they wanted to stop it.
That was how it happened that after an hour and a half of dancing with me—and by dancing I mean all but carrying me as he twirled; it’s impossible to dance in glass slippers also—the prince abruptly met my true self, strong-armed by two men the size of trees.
I sweep the frost from the path, whisking it away, just as my lady always asked of me when winter came. Some small part of me asks why I bother, when it will only build up again, with no feet to wander it but my own, and that of my broom.
It’s a curse that brought this everlasting winter on the castle of my birth. A curse, and love. Though what the difference is these days, I’m only half sure I remember.
With the grounds cleared, I gather my courage, to walk among statues.
Annie woke up feeling tired, like she’d thrashed around a lot in her sleep. Not tired enough to notice she wasn’t in her room, though. She jumped up, heart pounding, almost slipping on satiny sheets. She was in a small, lush room, all embroidered brocade and rich cloth in carefully-coordinated earth tones. Her favorite colors. There was even a small china plate of chocolate chip cookies on a tiny nightstand that was built into the wall. They smelled like they were freshly baked. She herself was in a silky negligee, but it went down to her feet, very classy-like.
She didn’t understand. She didn’t know how she’d come here. But if she’d been kidnapped or something, this was somebody really sick—who treated their hostages like royalty? She tried to remember what she’d been doing last, or at least what she’d been thinking before she’d fallen asleep, but her mind was a blank. She had an impression that she’d been with Derek—that she’d been breathing in his cologne and the smell of the ocean as he’d kissed her neck—but as she ran a hand over the same spot, the certainty skipped away, out of her grasp.
He is not handsome.
I watch the man sleeping on his side, one hand under his pillow, as if he had a sword stored there, and I know it as well as the rest of the kingdom does. His face is twisted in such a way that it seems as if he always has a surly expression, almost grotesquely enhanced, like some churlish tavern pamphlet illustration.
No one could believe that a hero could be so ugly. They don’t have to believe it—they see his face only when it is covered by his helmet.
He is not like my husband.
When we were seven, it was the names of boys we thought were cute. We pinky swore to take the names of each others’ would-be future husbands to our graves.
When we were ten, it was words we weren’t supposed to know. After we got to the worst ones, you started making them up.
When we were fourteen, it was the worst things we knew about every other girl in our grade. We didn’t keep those secrets—we filtered them into the student body and made sure they couldn’t be traced back to us.