Wading in the Shallows

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Wading in the Shallows (149 Words)

“What are you doing?”

Marge looked up from taking her shoes off.

“Come on,” she said. “It’ll be nice.”

Her companion gnawed his lip. “But there isn’t time! There’s the Diamond Citadel—and then we have to go to the Elder’s Council, to warn them—”

“I know,” said Marge. “But my feet hurt and I’m tired.”

The elf’s disbelief was replaced by anger. “The world is at stake,” he hissed, “and you’re resting?”

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When the Road Met the Hill

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When the Road Met the Hill (423 Words)

The field ran so far, but the road would never meet the green hill that shadowed its north horizon. But roads have a particular longing to be all places at once. This one road wanted very much to meet the hill. But no one else wanted to go, because the hill’s summit was home to a goblin.

There was the day when one stranger came along, and a shabby fellow he was, too. He must have come from very far. The road felt him walking along and figured he was as likely a person as any to climb the hill.

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Trapped Magic

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Trapped Magic (784 Words)

It was a fight, of sorts. The wife blamed herself for not being firm and the husband blamed himself because he was helpless and could do nothing to ease this new danger, this new obstacle, in their lives. It was a fight without the direct savagery of accusation, but showed itself instead in raw feelings and vulnerability that frightened them both. If there was blame, the blame was directed at the cause of the problem—the Eastern Shore Institution for Mythical Creatures—but sometimes, inevitably, one or the other suffered the crossfire of their mutual pain.

Their energy burned fast, too fast, like fat on fire. Perhaps a cruel word was said or some fear was spoken as if it were fact. Whatever happened, one of the listening children cried out and ran, so grieved, so scared, that she turned to her own little bed for safety from the nightmare that had somehow become life.

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Tournament of Tempers

redflower

Tournament of Tempers (536 words)

I would not submit and he knew it. The hard smile faded on Sperling’s lips, but his hand remained on my knee.

“It is yours, is it not?” he questioned again. “Come, speak. You’ve tongue enough for all the world.”

“It is mine, my lord,” I said.

“Then you confess it!” His eyes gleamed. “There are orders, I believe, forbidding you from keeping tokens as this on your person—let alone leaving them at table.”

A childish side of me, rather off topic, wished I would remark the displeasure of attending his table at all. I could not understand the aloofness of the man; his pride, pomp, and pretense left me cold as death and yet he laid it on thicker with me than with anyone.

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Night Shift

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Night Shift (188 Words)

Usually at seven I’m just coming home. It took me years to get used to the night shift. Sometimes I think I’m still not used to it.

Through that door to your left is all that makes it worthwhile. Tom will be sleeping now, breathing softly. I don’t like to wake him. Sleeping, Tom looks whole—he doesn’t look like a cripple.

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