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 Festival (141 Words)
The Festival of Shadows was a memory. And like a memory, it could be frightening.
The girl watched the spectacle of dancing monsters, the giant, the scavenger, a man and a child, all theatrically presented in exaggerated flare. Aasfresser, that was the name for the scavenger. Sekr, the giant. She did not remember the man’s name.
The child was the Question.
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.
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.
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.
Selkie Mom (99 Words)
Annie always wondered why great-grandmother never insisted on the truth. She wondered why the old woman allowed the legend to persist, when the twists to the story were often so lurid.
Then one day as she sat listening to her husband talk to their little daughter, she realized.
The Intelligence Plan (679 Words)
“Miss me?” he said, and kissed her.
It was a firm kiss, soft but passionate. His hands at her elbows were not confining but relaxed. It would have been simple to translate his laxness as overconfidence, but there was something in his expression that warned Li otherwise. And she couldn’t help it—not when his glance was lost to her, not when she saw how tired he was—not when he looked as if he had read her thoughts and his heart was close to breaking.
Sea Monster (132 Words)
Supposing it was a sea monster. Billy and Brian insisted that it was. I thought there was a mechanical touch to it myself.
“Well go on,” I said. “See what it is.”
They looked around the bench, glaring at me.
“It could eat us, silly,” pointed out Brian, always the logical one.
Falling Forwards (1267 Words)
But oh, what joy to see him! To find him, alive! I could not stop but embraced him. Rupert patted my back with light affection. I was surprised, cavalier as he was in nature, that he did not withdraw entirely.
“Thank God,” I said, “thank God!”
“Steady on,” said Rupert, the smile in his voice as plain as any wholesome laugh. “What’s this, then?”
The Heist (193 Words)
There’s something about a market in the early morning. Very little traffic, few passersby. The smell of humidity under the slow-rising sun.
Pam glanced at her watch. It was a quarter past six in the morning. Soon they would be here.
“What’s taking them so long?”