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.
Roses and Stone (193 Words)
It was all that he had left. All that he had left of a memory. For a moment he sat, turning the stone in his hands.
“This is ours, Ellan. Ours forever. Mrs. Coleman said she’d give me some cuttings from her rose and we’ll plant them out front. Can you imagine? Roses in our window, just like—”
Thinking Stone (516 Words)
The day after her eighteenth birthday, Princess Tana’s parents told her that it was time to marry. Because their daughter’s happiness was everything, they promised she could make her own choice with one caveat.
“If you aren’t in love within three months,” they said, “we will choose your husband for you. It is for your own good, Tana. You don’t want to die alone.”
Water Prints (427 Words)
She didn’t live in town. The island population, a little under five hundred residents, was limited mostly to farmers and fishers. The moment Davie saw her sitting on the sand, looking out to sea with her knees pulled under her chin, he knew she didn’t belong.
There was something unusual in her quietness and poise. Something in her eyes was strange and deep, wild and unafraid like the sea itself. Davie was a little afraid of her. But even though he was afraid, it comforted him somehow to see her every morning. People gossiped about her but he never listened to what they said. There was a mystery about that young woman he was satisfied to solve himself.
Fire-Blood (691 Words)
The downstairs infirmary was silent and empty. Medicine jars and torn blankets were shattered and strewn across the floor.
Sister Bierce was glad for the disarray only in that it emphasized abandonment and disuse. Dragonkind was not permitted in the abbey and allowed on the outer courts only by special exception. And here was Khaz, never one to win favor with the abbot, following her in the sharp, jerking motion of a fire-blood who has forgotten his human form, his mind trapped in lizard shape. If he was seen he would be killed, and wounded as he was he could not defend himself.
Revealing Rain (682 Words)
“Well isn’t that something,” he said. “That’s something.”
The water was running on his cheek. His hair was plastered in heavy sodden locks over his brow despite his effort to smooth it, so black, so vivid against his feverish color, she couldn’t help it. She leaned to him and stumbled.
He started, held her. His eyes fell to hers. For a startling instant she thought he knew her in spite of her disguise, because sharpness and reserve seemed to ice his childlike wonder. But then wonder, reserve, gave to a keener awareness. She raised her hands and he bowed his head. Their lips touched. They flinched. Her fingers curled in his dripping hair and brought his wet white mouth more surely to hers.