Matchstick and Mischief

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Digital drawing. At center, a mouse riding a motorcycle down a glowing pathway, facing forward, left paw on the pedal and right paw holding a lit matchstick. Objects float in the space around the mouse. At top left, a screw. Bottom left a sock. Top right corner, part of some device with buttons. Below that, a toothbrush. Middle right, a yo-yo.

“I’m Matchstick the Mouse.  And, hey, I’m actually a mouse.  Surprised?  I bet you’re wondering how I got my name.  You’re not?  Wait!  Where are you going?”

“Match, who are you talking to?”

“My fans.”

“Why are your fans walking away from you?”

Matchstick raised a furry brow. “Good question.”

“Is that the style you want for your chapters of our memoirs?”  Mischief reached for her satchel to pull out a pencil.

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The Misfortune of Repetition

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Digital drawing. At center, two little girls. The girl at left stands a head taller, with her right hand on her hip and her left arm around the other girl’s shoulder. She wears a skirt, a quarter-sleeve pullover, a band around her left wrist, and a barrette in her hair. The girl at right holds a book open in her right hand, and touches a page with her left. Sparkles surround the book. She wears a dress with a pleated skirt. The girls smile and gaze at each other. Behind them are lines of script with random letters bordered by a lightning pattern.

It was the turning into her fifth year, when Anushka would enter the next epoch of her childhood, the first learning years.  Being a child whose family was of modest wealth, there were a few minor enchantments that were gifted to her.  One was a book that could summon any one of a hundred different fairy tales within its pages with a simple chant.  Another was a pair of boots that could lace themselves.  And still another was a mysterious card placed within a vivid green envelope embossed with the golden letters of the giver’s initials.

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The Garden of Perpetuation

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Digital drawing. Three people seen from the back walking down a path that leads toward barren-branched trees in the distance. The figure on the left glances to the right, has long wavy hair, wears a coat with a purple carrot patch along the right arm, a satchel hanging from right shoulder across the body, and a belt on which hangs a pouch and an axe. The middle figure walks slightly behind the others and wears a cloak with the hood raised. Three black radishes are depicted on the back of the cloak with the leaves laying over the shoulder and one extending into the hood. The figure on the right wears a basket full of green garlic.

As it so happened, the Houses of the Black Radish, the Purple Carrot, and the Green Garlic all found themselves traveling the rough road that led to the garden of perpetuation. 

They traveled thus, the human envoys carrying vegetable plant seed on their persons and vegetable spirit within their persons.  As the envoys conversed among themselves, so too did the spirits of the vegetables.

“Root and bulb are we,” said the Radish, with sharp attention.  “No tubers do I see.”

“The tubers are well-loved,” the Carrot remarked sweetly.  “They have no need of the great garden.”

“So are we well-loved,” said the Garlic with mild bitterness.  “Or once were.  And will be again, I would wager.”

“But by then it may be too late,” Carrot warned.  “We would be gone.”

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Lucinda of the Ashes

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Digital drawing. Two hands seen from above, as if they were the viewer’s hands. The left hand at bottom left is holding a glass container, like a beaker with a funnel top. The right hand at top right holds a glass rod. The index finger is held away from the rod. A drop of liquid hangs from the end of the glass rod, right above the opening of the beaker. A small figure with dragonfly wings hovers over the left hand. The beaker contains a vaporous liquid. A bright cloudy swirl begins at center behind the hands and darkens as it moves outward to the edges of the image.

Lucinda held her breath, as she raised the glass rod above the vial and tapped the rod to release the single drop of liquid that clung to its end.

The drop fell in the vial, joining the muddy liquid within.  The liquid turned ruddy, then clear.  And it stayed clear. 

Lucinda dared to exhale just as the liquid began to swirl and turn ruddy, then muddy.  She ducked under the table just before the vial shattered, spraying red flames and charred bits of glass in every direction.

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Castle, Cave, or Cloud

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Digital drawing. A castle at center with three main spires flying pennants, battlements, and flanking symmetrical towers. The castle stands in front of a cave opening through which light pours. Moss grows along the cave walls. In front of the castle is a bank of clouds.

She remembered darkness.  And she remembered her name.  That was all.

Spark zoomed into a heap of advancing clouds, grinning and gasping at the sensations of cold and wet, reaching out to touch what could not quite be grasped.  She emerged on the other side, and spotted a colossal formation of rock and stone with three spires so high they topped the clouds.  A mountain!

Maybe there, she thought. 

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