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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.