The Waking (1019 Words)
He woke through stillness and cold. That waking was precarious, and came and went, like a lazy tide. But at last, consciousness impressed itself on him. He opened his eyes to the world again.
Eddie breathed deep. The heavy motion almost made him cry out. His hand went instinctively to the bandage around his middle.
“I wouldn’t.” Wurther’s voice was low but firm. “You are still healing.”
Marble Garden (822 Words)
A silent, solemn figure to steal through the graves, his long cloak trailing in ebon folds as if he hurried night into the evening’s blue mists. Past the disconnected lines of wooden crosses he walked, mindless of the old and pausing in a moment’s fixed grief at the newer. His glance swept the cracked marble of aging stones but never for a moment did his purpose falter, and his direct progress led him straight to the gnarled cherry, shedding vibrant color in sharp spring wind.
The lights were beautiful. Every year the clan gathered to see them, the mysterious glowing orbs that some said were the souls of the departed communing with them like angels.
Grayse found Peepa at the top of their favorite tree. She panted as she climbed, scolding the little bird under her breath.
Flight of the Birds (99 Words)
“Some say that cranes are the spirits of the dead,” said Allie. “When you see one, it could be the spirit of a loved one watching over you.”
Worth It (225 Words)
It was a beautiful sight. Daria leaned over the boat edge, letting her hand trail in the water. The current pulled past her arm, troubling the reflection of fireflies and starlight. The moon shone clear, and the silver glow lit the world like another kind of day, bright and enlivening.
“Do you think it’s worth it?” she asked.
Ruad was barely awake, resting in the boat. At her question, his eyes half-opened.
“What do you mean?”
Saving the World to Lose It (688 Words)
They said he asked for me often; that his prayers were full of my name, the mock self-portrait I had given crumpled at his heart. He wept often—it was his weakness, the illness. He cried for me, but it was the pain coupled with fever that directed the cry, and when he was aware he was silent and asked for no one.
News of my adventures affected him unpredictably. He expressed no gladness that I was still alive, nor enthusiasm at any chance of success. Sometimes he was calmed by talk of me and would listen quietly and attentively, as if he were a child and his nurse a storyteller. Then he was afforded a moment’s peace and stillness. Equally often he shed silent tears as he bade the speaker tell on, his countenance so stricken that it seemed he could not live on however promising the account.
The Patron (275 Words)
There was an artist who was known to paint one picture. Always it was the same, the same distant gray-green mountains and the dark, hilly plateau where the city had once stood. With only that one image to offer, people lost interest in the man’s art and his house would have fallen to ruin if it wasn’t for the attention of one customer.
She visited him every day to see how his new work was coming. Whenever he finished, she bought the piece, giving him a high price without waiting to hear what he asked for. No words were ever exchanged between them. That, like his art, was a ritual never forgotten, never changed. Who the woman was in her rich strange clothes, with her frightening piercing eyes, no one knew. They knew the artist, and knowing what he had lost and the disorder in his mind, they were afraid to ask him.