The Merman (315 Words)
It’s a fact that you don’t see many mermen. I wonder if it isn’t because the merwomen keep them hard at work in the weeds under the sea. Of course merpeople are real. There isn’t any question about that.
Perhaps mermen are shy. Maybe they would rather be tending coral or scrubbing manatees than spying on ships. I think they must be smooth-cheeked—otherwise their hair would always be floating up in their faces—or else, they must be careful to tie their beards down. I know for a fact that one of them was clean-shaven, because I saw him.
Magic Gold (154 Words)
She sat braiding her hair. In the morning light the strands shone rusty brown. The young woman’s agile fingers weaved in and around each other, but her mind was elsewhere. She remembered gathering chestnuts last fall, and the man who had offered to buy her basket.
“But, my lord! This is gold.”
“I am no one’s lord,” said the man. “And the real gold is what you carry.”
The Artist Who Didn’t Like Silhouettes (166 Words)
It was a shame, because she specialized in them. She knew how to find that symmetry, that poise, that would bring out the art in any figure. But she told me one time when I was with her in her studio, that she didn’t like them. At the time she was working on the silhouette of a bird poised on a winter branch, a jagged, India-ink blackness over gray Bristol.
“But why not?” I said. “They’re wonderful.”
“Well,” she said. “I’ve been thinking. You know what they say about looking at things in black and white.”
For today’s Daily Prompt, “Entertain,” Wallie and I offer another snippet from a work-in-progress–a story in which a little girl is helped solving a crime by the ghost of a detective. The ghost is summoned to help her when Maddie plays a harp she found in the attic room. This is a scene in which he explains the harp to her.
A Harp and a Ghost
‘Do you want to know the story of my harp?’ he asked.
I couldn’t care less. But it was his delicate asking, and the way he pulled the chair to my bedside, that interested me.
“It was during a case,” said Mr. Ingham. “I was murdered. Death is fearful enough on its own, but I’ll tell you what made it worse was my wife. She sat at the bedside long after the doctors had given me over and held my hands and warmed them, never asking if she could ease me for she knew she couldn’t. We said our words, we two, and it made me cry to see her there and feel so poorly. I didn’t want to leave her. But she kissed me like a parent would see, like this”—he kissed his hand and put it to his forehead—”and told me it would come out right. I was dying, but I’ll tell you the way she said that put a chill in me like living again.”
I raised my head from the pillow. “Did she save you?”
Goblin Tree (158 Words)
Once, a goblin stole whatever he could from a human village, jewels, apples, and buttons. He was lean-limbed with fierce gold eyes, but his hands, though slender, were like talons.
His one weakness was a human woman. When their love became known, the village threatened her if he did not surrender himself. He surrendered. I can’t tell you how many different ways they tried to kill him, but nothing harmed him. So they buried him alive. Some say these gnarly roots evoke the goblin’s reaching hands, clawing for escape.
Because you can’t be much more forlorn than that, can you? It was Wallie’s idea to post this. It is a little something from a larger project we are working on.
The King-Goblin was astonished. When he heard of Prince Ham’s capture, he had idealized their meeting as a clash of similar wills, the inevitable plea for mercy, and then a quick, clean beheading. What he discovered was something very different. A young elf-prince certainly, dressed not in the robes of his people but a close-cut suit and lace, and all around him the castaway children and elderly cripples of the king’s own goblin-kind. The elf stood with them, and they with the elf, as if it were not he on trial but all as one.
For today’s Daily Prompt, “Winsome,” I wanted to write something with a man who might be called winsome and a young woman who is definitely not. Wallie was bored with it. Wallie is not a winsome imp.
‘Are you given to imagination?’
‘Why, yes.’ I puff my chest out with pride.
Eddy snorts. ‘Indeed. I suppose you regard yourself as quite the romantic.’
This is too fine an opportunity, and I cannot resist batting my lashes with all the excess of perfect femininity. I know I am being absurd, but there is something in the batting of eyes that has always worked with men, and it has become a habit with me. ‘Oh, yes, if you like.’
Well who isn’t? Here’s a very short fic following the tribulations and triumphs of a little girl who is allergic to good behavior.
Little Gail Grey
Little Gail Grey was marvelously horrid.
She had her own room and her own set of colored pencils. She had her very own dollhouse, a closet that was two feet by six which is not bad when you think about it, and a bathroom that was hers approximately seven months out of the twelve because when her older sister Betsy came home on holidays, she had to share. She had a frog in a bowl who was spotted and fat, a sticker collection, and a pillow that was lavender on one side and pink on the flip.
Gail thought that if the frog were a nice frog, it would rouse enough energy at least to die, because it was very boring and she wanted another one. She thought Betsy, her sister, ought to clean the bathroom without their taking turns since she was borrowing it after all. She thought that she—Gail—should be paid per usage, since her ten dollar a week allowance wasn’t nearly enough.
“It isn’t fair,” said Gail Grey. “No one cares what I want! No one ever listens to me.”
Devil of a Deal
If I were forced to give up one sense for super-acuity in another, which would I choose for advancement and which—dear God, which—would I sign away as a handicap, dead to me and gone?
“A gift, you say?” I said. “This is not a gift—it is a punishment!”
The devil tapped his foot with some impatience.
“Call it a cost,” said he. “You’ve got here thanks to your books and thinking, into a dimension well out of your space and time; and now you have got to get out. Be happy you leave with your life. But no trip to Hell is made without a lasting impression. Now what will it be? Blindness in exchange for the sensory apparatus of a bat? Taste for the nose of a bloodhound?”
A little treat for the snow. You wouldn’t believe the bad rep it gets. Maybe you would. But…’tis the season for forgiveness?
A subtle difference is in the sky,
A light to dream or softly whisper by—
As if, with Heaven’s quiet grace endowed,
A candle flame were whisk’d within each cloud,
And showing faintly through the grey-cast veil
That makes some shining Ceremony pale
Concealing kindled starlight from our eyes
Lest we perceive what angels realize;
Oh still that thrill of eager wonder bright
We feel for this white magic at mid-night.