Outer City Magician

“Okay, but can your so-called handyman repair the cracks in your foundation without having to level your whole house and build it up again from scratch?”

I waited. There was silence on the other end of the line for a few seconds. I released the needle of energy I’d been fiddling with between my fingers and sat up. I thought she’d hung up on me.

Read More Outer City Magician

The Ace of Pumpkins

Four High Houses ruled the great city. All the other houses were left to vie for their favor—whether the lower houses liked it or not. The Ace of the House Pumpkins had been invited to dinner at the House of Clovers.

It was a custom, a tradition of the house, to invite one and only one guest from among the lower houses. And it was a custom for this guest to be the guest of honor at the dinner.

Read More The Ace of Pumpkins

The Brittle Star

“You would give him back the pearls?” Myra said.

She was standing at the prow, leaning against the outer wall of her cabin, peering at her first mate.

Rook crossed his arms. “If…if need be.”

Myra swept her gaze over the rest of her crew. They were all gathered on the deck to discuss the merman’s offer.

Read More The Brittle Star

River Fisher and Blue Dragon

“Strange,” the many-colored creature said.

It was not the reaction that Halceyx expected. With her beak full—full of the creature—she could not speak. But the creature, who was some kind of water slug, seemed to understand the inquisitive squeak that Halceyx uttered. The creature answered her as if she had spoken.

“Yes, it’s strange that you’re still alive. You have lucked into grasping me in just the right way.”

Halceyx uttered another query in the form of another squeak.

“I possess many different pockets,” the water slug said, “and I keep poisons in them.”

Read More River Fisher and Blue Dragon

Through a Sky Gray

“I want you to teach me how to paint,” Leodoras muttered, rehearsing the words as he strolled down the street that was assigned to his evening patrol.

He gazed up at the monochromatic gray veil of the sky, trying to imagine painting directly onto it, shaking his head at the thought. There were rumors that said it was possible. He’d never seen it nor known anyone who’d seen it. But their realm was vast. Who was to say there wasn’t a patch of gray that had been painted with swirls of indigo and black, and sprayed with blue-white stars, or brushed with a wide swathe of blue patched with soft diaphanous clouds?

Better to paint than to pierce, he thought. Better to live than to die.

Read More Through a Sky Gray

Garden of the Peculiar

I’m a terrible person. And terrible things appeal to me.

Branches terminating in skulls.

Transparent petals whose vessels glow white as bleached bone in the dark.

Bright yellow leaves whose soft serrated edges exude a dark red liquid that drips and pools and stains the ground like the signs of a crime scene.

Read More Garden of the Peculiar

The Monstrous and Curious

Some people claim they dreamt of the creature before its vast shadow soared overhead and landed on the top of a young redwood.

Most of us have dreamt of it at this point. A gargantuan pterosaur with gold-and-blue feathers like a modern macaw.

Read More The Monstrous and Curious