The Lake of the Nightmare Cat

“So it’s agreed, if we see a cat—any cat—we flee.” The brown rat with the black spot upon her pink nose nodded at her two partners.

The black rat with the long swishing tail nodded his head in return. The rat with fur the color of storm clouds twitched her whiskers.

All three boarded the little ship made of twig and stone, bound by fibers, sealed with resin, and thrice-blessed by their elders.

The ship was named for what its crew desired to be, Invisible.

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The Midnight and the Derelict

Please don’t let us end up on some uncharted island. The only thing I know how to make with a coconut is a bowl. Please let there be coconuts if we do find an island. Coconuts and mangoes and big fat chickens.

Jane chewed on her ration of bread and gave a pitying smile to the naïve girl who had written those words only a week before. They were her words, written in her notebook. It was meant to have been her research notebook, but had become her journal after research gave way to a higher priority, survival.

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The Wandering Star

It watches me with those strange eyes. Even you, love, cannot imagine such eyes. This is the third night I have been assigned to watch it—him, I’ll call it “him.” The creature deserves that much dignity. The first night, I did not look toward him. I thought I felt him watching me, but I admit to you and only you, that I was afraid. I am a rational and curious person. That’s why I asked to be given watch over him. But my imagination can run as wild as that of the most superstitious sailor, especially out here in the vastness. We are farther now from home than any ship has sailed since before the war. After so many days, my excitement has waned, and my restlessness has waxed.

The crew’s whisperings about the creature, about it bringing bad luck, about its deadly powers, had seeped passed my rational mind and into my fears. Being on watch means actually watching and yet, I am ashamed to say, if not for my partner, the creature could have set himself on fire, or levitated the cell key toward himself, or done any manner of tricks and mischief that first night because I wasn’t watching him at all. To make matters eerier, the lights are so dim. We must keep them so, for we are rationing our fuel. Someone miscalculated. But then who can tell when it’s night and when it’s day when trapped in the bowels of the ship? I keep watch in the whale’s belly, while the captain and officers watch from its eyes.

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