May God bless you, this year and next year, and all the years to come.
River Road (100 words)
The running road runs like a river
Through the flowers and the loam;
The one road that I desire
Is the road that’s running home.
Riddle Heart (470 words)
“You know what you have to do,” said Jack.
Philadelphia hesitated. He was right, she did know what she had to be. It was just too incredible. A fairy’s arbitrary favor and blessing, cursed prince turned outlaw, and a quest through a fantastic maze Philadelphia would never have believed existed, all ended here.
“You’re not scared, are you?” asked Jack. “I may be cursed, but I won’t curse you if you set me free. I promise.”
Magic and Spies (200 words)
“But it’s real…I’m telling you, they were just here…”
Agent Z was very unamused and equally unimpressed. “Mr. Gray, thank you. We of course appreciate your handling of the situation, and understand entirely if you need to take a few days off to recover yourself.”
Mr. Gray flushed. “Yes, but, I don’t need—”
“Agent Gray.” Agent Z cut him off. “Good morning. Goodbye.”
To Be A Fish (150 words)
Sometimes he wondered what it was like, to be a fish. It must be very peaceful. James could imagine the brown cool waters closing over his head, the water life swimming around him, a wealth of good food in green muck. He could also imagine a bigger fish, mouth gaping wide and coming for him with the speed of disaster.
Sniffkins and Sandwiches (360 words)
—Do you know what those stones are? Why, they could be anything. Sentinels over a sacred place, forgotten long before the world remembers to forget you. They could be the guardians of some terrible or great secret. Or perhaps—they are the standing graves of the chieftains who have gone before us, kings and queens rotting under the earth—
“Now you’re being morbid,” said Molls wearily. She sat down next to one of the stones, letting her back rest. “We’re never going to find my sister or the others, not in this mist.”
Inith (1000 Words)
She stepped into the water. He rose to her, lifting from the deep, his long black hair clinging to his bare neck and shoulders. In the shallow water where she stood he turned on his back, unable to balance himself with the weight and length of his tail. His playfulness made Pat laugh. She knelt down and felt the warm water gather up to her chest. She reached out as Inith turned to go, and caught his hand.
The merman’s free arm braced in the sand. The fin at the back of his tail only just cleared the water. His eyes went to hers.
“Well, chi-uiris,” he said. “What are you going to do with me, now that you’ve caught me?”
Playing Pirates (99 words)
Two long boards made a very comfortable walk, and Tom appreciated the space to turn around, even though the boards were bendier than he liked. This was the moment he made his grand speech to the evil pirates before plunging into the watery depths of the sea.
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.
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.