The Wishing Pool (173 words)
Where the wishes went, no one knew. Silver pennies went up and down, disappearing into the bottomless black water.
“Shh, shh, don’t tell me what it is,” said the goblin. “Just let it go.”
That was an impossible thing—letting wishes go. Emmy looked down at the coin in her hand and dropped it into the water, a little girl’s wish going down, down, and down.
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The Answer (99 words)
The note was carefully written, the bottle was firmly corked, and Andrea looked out over the blue water. The water was still and so clear that she felt she could see the bottom.
Whispering a prayer, she let the bottle go.
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Sang-Col (595 Words)
It was on a cliff of stone and ice where they met, the goblin chieftain and the human king. So the goblins called the cliff and the field itself Sang-Col, which in their tongue means “Blood-Call.”
The goblin chieftain was Scrape, known to her people as a fair but unyielding ruler. In the days before goblin lords and the self-named goblin king, a goblin chieftain recognized no path but their own, and Scrape acknowledged no master of her actions but herself and the God whom the goblins named Ovallen. For this reason, against the advice of her kin, she had seen the human king’s youngest son Patrick and dared to love him.
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The Choosing of Scoral and Lune (878 words)
Scoral was a handsome mer, graceful and strong, his long hair the color of ripe kelp and his scales the same fiery orange-gold. He was chosen by Lune for his fearlessness and wildness. All mer have that wild edge to their personality, but Scoral was known to test his elders almost to the limit. More than once he was threatened with banishment from the chorus. Although lone mer were not unheard of, in dangerous ocean waters these solitary-minded mer only rarely survived.
Scoral himself was not concerned. He swam alone frequently, relishing the freedom of his own path.
Lune was his own age, the daughter of a chieftain. She was quieter and more thoughtful in her ways than Scoral, and she knew he was far too reckless. She better than anyone understood that to say so would be useless. Others had told him and Scoral refused to listen. It was left to him, to decide what his fate would be.
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Little Mouse Goes West (99 words)
Once upon a whisker, there was a cowboy who bumped into luck and fell down hard. It was the kind of fall you don’t get up from easily. Mouse, who had followed the cowboy’s dust for miles, didn’t like it at all.
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Seasons and Morning Mist (203 words)
She remembered standing on that ridge overlooking that moorland. It had been a morning like this a little over a year ago. The sky had been that pale, cool pink softening towards a rainy afternoon chill. She remembered huddling under her cloak, trying to keep the rain out as they continued the long road to the false king’s castle.
A silly girl, that’s what she had been. A silly girl with big ideas and a bundle of arguments that meant nothing to an iron tyrant.
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It was traditional, not to say required, to be married before the stones. The people of the fields and drops of Little Boulding had kept to this tradition, not at all a requirement, since before anyone could remember. So of course it was expected that if they were to be married, even a goblin and a man ought to be married before the stones.
On this day, the happiest day, Gnarlas was trying to decide why the man wanted to marry her at all.
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Goblin Child (1286 Words)
Jacob watched as Ray climbed through the window. He made it look so easy, like climbing from the second floor was the easiest thing in the world. But Jacob had been practicing. This time he was ready to go. As soon as the goblin disappeared, he slipped out of bed and looked down.
Ray was nowhere to be seen.
Jacob’s heart pounded as he climbed over the sill. He stretched for the elm branch. Everything looked so different in the dark, less certain, more dangerous. For a moment he thought maybe he should go back. But he reached out anyway and felt the elm tree’s rough bark.
“What are you doing?”
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Heroes Never Die (628 Words)
Thor flinched. He knew that voice too well. He turned restlessly, trying to force it out of his head. But it was there, always there, in his heart.
Thor’s elbow hit the TV tray. He cursed, throwing a plastic plate across the room.
“Get out!” he shouted. “Go away. Just leave me.”
He didn’t mean it. Not really. But he was tired and the pain was no easier. Loki, that cursed son of an ice giant. He saw him hanging from Thanos’s hand, fighting for air, for life. He heard his brother’s hoarse voice:
“You—will never be—a god.”
His death was too sudden. Thanos had thrown his body at Thor’s feet, so still and broken in a way that Loki was never broken, never finished. It was pretend. It had to be. Thor had bowed beside his brother, praying for some trick, some miracle.
No, Thanos was not a god. Neither were they.
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The moon is shining in the sky
The stars are twinkling down
The frost is glistening on the grass
And on the rooftops ’round
And I am sitting in my bed
And thinking of the way
One night turned all nights upside down
And made this Christmas Day.
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