Isle of the Fairy Ring

Most of the audience cleared out after the lights came back up. Tommie collected her notes and laptop, watching them go. One person, however, was making her way to the stage. She had both hands in the pockets of her khaki pants as she sauntered over.

“Doctor Leismore,” the woman said, with a nod of her head. “Would you mind if I asked you a few questions? About your talk?”

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The Golden Ratio Theater

Jules forged ahead. “I want to own and operate my own movie theater—specifically the Golden Ratio Triplex.”

For a few seconds she was facing a table full of blinking eyes, raised brows, and mouths on the verge of supportive smiles. But that all collapsed when the moment of comprehension arrived. Jules had braced herself for their reactions to her after-graduation plans. She had promised herself some kind of treat or reward no matter what response she got. A midnight showing of “The Planet from Another Space.” With a bucket of buttered popcorn first, chased by chocolate toffee crunch popcorn for dessert.

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King Midian and His Glove of Gold

A baby girl was born to the king and queen. Their first child. Many visitors came to the castle to see the newborn heir. Among them was an elven traveler who went by the name of Fall. All the visitors brought gifts, most for the baby, but some for the king or queen. Some gifts were humble. Some were precious. The elven traveler brought a gift so precious that he asked to see the king in private so that he may deliver the gift.

The king, whose named was Midian, granted this audience, for the best gifts that had so far been received were from the faery folk.

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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.

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Zone of Eternal Sleep

“There’s nowhere on Earth,” Sam said, her voice low and slow, as if she were dragging the sounds out of her mouth.

“Did you try the moon?” Lee’s voice sounded about the same.

Sam winced. “Sorry, I can go—“

“No.” Lee sighed. “It’s my turn.”

Sam managed a small smile, her eyes half-lidded, as she rocked the groaning baby in her arms.

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The Man Who Cried Bird

“It’s a blue cardinal, look.”

Roy looked as Andre swiped through the photos he’d taken of the bird perched on the branches of the tree near the picnic area of his park he’d visited that weekend.

“There’s no such bird, Andre.”

Andre closed his eyes and inhaled through his nose. “That’s because no one has seen him, until now.”

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