Queen Niyami

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Image description: Digital drawing. A creature with the front half of a woman and the bottom half of a shark. She’s underwater. Foreground, a disembodied eye trailing a nerve stalk lies on the floor of the body of water in which the creature is floating. She’s facing forward with both hands planted on the floor as if doing a push-up. Her right eye is missing. The socket bleeds. Her open mouth is filled with shark’s teeth, and part of a second mouth appears to be growing out of her first and under her right cheek. She wears gold jewelry, metal cuffs, and a scarf wrapped upon her head that flutters slightly in the water. Her tail is visible bending towards the right.

“Well, I’ve heard that sharks can never stop moving or they’ll die.  And they don’t sleep as we do.  I have a story that might explain why, but…”

Lia pretended to hesitate as she gauged the children’s reactions.  The oldest looked curious but skeptical. The middle one started to grin at the mention of sharks.  And the youngest cocked her head in such a way that the lamp light cast a twinkle in her eye.

“You know what?” Lia said.  “I’m actually not sure I should tell you this one.  I don’t want to give you nightmares.”

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The Final Monster I Fight

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Digital drawing. Composite of several figures in silhouette. Bottom foreground left and center, two figures from chest up with various missing limbs and digits reach to the right. They are zombies. Bottom foreground right, a figure from chest up holding both hands against their head. Shadows representing gravestones lie at angles behind them. Left moving into frame is a ghostly cloud in which the outline of a face and a hand are visible. Right of frame, sitting on an outcropping, a werewolf howls against a glowing moon. Top center at a distance, floating in the sky, a vampire wearing a cloak and reaching out. At center from back, a hooded figure from torso up holding a long stake propped over the right shoulder. Upper left corner, a patch of stalactites.

The final monster I fight.  It won’t be long now.

Curses and cures.  Curses and cures.

I’ve tried everything.  Like most people in my position.

Everything reasonable that is.  I didn’t think I’d run out of options this soon.  I only started seeing the signs a couple of weeks ago.  Of course I’ve known it was coming, but I also hoped…I might be one of the exceptions. 

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The Why Winter Challenge

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“Why does there have to be winter?”

The asker was my little niece, all bundled up in black-and-silver fleece blankets.  Her favorite colors.  She didn’t ask the question just out of curiosity.  She was frowning slightly.  Winter had swallowed up her favorite season, autumn.  (The season to which her only objection was, “why does there have to be so much orange?”).

I smiled.  “Do you want the scientific explanation or the non-scientific explanation?” Continue reading

The Monstrous Men of the Moors

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“The only gift you ever ask for is a story, the same story, year after year.”

Nisha grinned at her uncle.  “Well, I like the story, especially the way you tell it.”

“You, dearest niece, do not need flattery to win my heart.  But I like the sound of it nevertheless.  You shall have the story, of course.  But I’ve brought you something else this year as well.” He pulled the basket he’d set on the table closer.  Nisha had thought the basket was meant for one of her siblings.  He lifted the top.  “A gift,” he said, “as well as a burden.” Continue reading

Sam and The Sequence

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Sometimes a thing isn’t good or evil in itself. The sequence is a thing like this. It becomes good or evil when you touch it. If you are good, it becomes good. If you are evil, it becomes evil. But we humans…we are both. What happens when we touch it?

Sam lay her fingers on the page where those words were written. The man who’d written them had been dead for almost a century. Continue reading