Sunset Stop (220 Words)
The sun was sinking, red and huge in the west. It colored everything in its brilliant glow, the rolling waves crimson and deep blue. The sand was like the sky itself, twinkling golden, silver, to velvet purple. And at the edges of the great welkin twinkled the first evening stars.
“This is your fault.”
Bob glanced at his companion sideways. Arabella sat glaring into the horizon, her pants’ legs rolled up her calves.
“I’m still getting sand out of my boots,” he offered.
Together (281 Words)
The turn in the road, the angle of the trees on the hill—it was all familiar. After all that had happened, Beck had expected home to feel like a dream. Instead it was a different reality. Yet her happiness at knowing her family’s cottage was just around the hill was strongest with her desire to share it.
“It might be late for lunch,” she said. “We’ll have something for you. Come on.”
The elf man had stopped walking, standing in the shadow of the hill.
“This is your home, isn’t it?” he said.
Beck’s mouth pursed. She nodded.
“Then this is where we part ways.” He held out his hand to her. “It has been a pleasure, mo chroi, my dear heart.”
The Star Balloon (201 Words)
She was looking at the sky. It was a wide open sky, clear and blue. It had that color and brightness that can make your eyes water. But Annie stared straight up, watching the white lines of cloud pass like light gossamer threads in wind.
Somewhere behind all that blue were other worlds. Annie knew this was true. It was a simple scientific fact that stars shine even during the day. You can’t see them, but they are there, millions upon millions of lights.
Winter Child (488 Words)
There was a man who walked this road a very long time ago, when the ground here was all shrubs and long gray grass. Every morning, from early dawn to evening, he walked this way to work. And some time in his walking, he noticed a young girl.
She was a shabby little creature. She sat in her dirty brown dress with her knees pulled to her chin, watching the passersby. The first time he saw her, the man imagined her parents had told her to wait. The second time he knew she must be lost.
“Where are your parents?” he asked her.
The little girl stared at him. She had enormous eyes.
The Patchwork Flag (169 Words)
“Aye. It is.”
She could feel his eyes on her. She didn’t look up from her work, her precise needle stitching together corduroy and silk.
Her husband sat beside her. He lifted the patchwork at one fold, feeling the texture.
“Is this Maggie?”
The woman raised her head, her face inscrutable. “Yes. It’s Maggie.”
The Log Boat (162 Words)
“That,” said Captain Ratt, “will be a hard boat to bail.”
“It is what it is.” The beaver folded her arms. “Do you want it or not?”
Denial was on the tip of the man’s tongue. It seemed to him a peculiar irony that he could name any ship by its rig and still be as much at a loss to build a seaworthy craft with his own hands as anyone. Perhaps it was justice that he should be shipwrecked on an island of talking animals.
Dragon Perilus (386 Words)
“Do you know how much a dragon eats?”
Tom raised his head, squinting through his one good eye. “Ah—no?”
The keeper shook his head. “That thing may look tiny,” he said, “but it eats twenty pounds in a day.”
“Will it take fish?” asked Tom.
The newly hatched dragon was climbing up his waistcoat, its tiny jaws clamping on a button and wrenching savagely. The button held, but the little beast’s violence was alarming.
“Yes, it’ll take fish,” said the keeper. “And human flesh.”