Why Beauty Sought the Beast

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Digital image of a collage with four panels in two rows. Top left panel, a person’s sneering mouth with the canine teeth extended slightly. Top right panel, close-up of a person’s left eye wide open as if in surprise. Bottom left panel, a repeat of the top right panel image, except now the eye is a different color, red and gold, and the skin around it has sprouted small hairs. Bottom right panel, a growling mouth with long canines and a hairy face.

She did nothing to earn her beauty.  It was given to her.  And as with many such gifts, beauty was both a boon and a burden to the girl whose name was Imelda.

She was doted on by some, guarded by others, coveted by still others.

Imelda’s mother, who both loved and feared for her girl, spent many sleepless nights wondering when her child would grow old enough to be passed into the protection of another.  For she and her husband were humble folk, as their child too would have been.  But Imelda’s beauty—while it may not have impressed in a city or even a large town—was quite surpassing in their little village.  Surpassing enough to catch the eye of those with greater means.  The girl wished to be learned.  She wished to explore. 

Perhaps her beauty could make it so could do what she dreamed of doing.

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The Juggling Ghost Crab

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Four unlikely friends were frolicking in the ocean one day.  They were the Ghost Crab, the Blue Marlin, the Jellyfish, and the Nautilus.  The crab and the marlin splashed about on the surface, and dove back down, while the jelly and the mollusk bobbed gently under the surface.

Overhead, there passed the shadow of the Seagull, who watched the friends with great interest, a great interest born of a keen hunger.  Here she saw a variety of sweet and juicy treats for her to feast on.  She could easily carry off the crab, the snail, and the mollusk.  But that marlin was another matter.  He was a giant next to her, and he would surely swipe and skewer with that bill of his.  And being how fast he could swim, if he knocked the Seagull into the water, she would surely become his lunch. Continue reading

Nine Wishes in Three Tales

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A restless fairy grew bored one day and created a restless trinket, imbuing it with all of the fairy’s magic.  The magic was all bent toward one purpose, to grant the bearer of the trinket three wishes.

The form the trinket first took was as a pendant, which the fairy gave to a human acquaintance with only three instructions…or warnings.

“First, the wish itself will only have power over you.  Second, whenever you make a new wish, the old wish will vanish.  And third, once the final wish is made and granted, the trinket will leave your possession.” Continue reading

Salamander

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Jane knew about the salamander.  The salamander was capable of regenerating its limbs, to a certain degree.  As such, it had been studied by scientists who sought to unlock the secrets of tissue regeneration.  Wound-healing in humans was a messy and half-hearted affair and sometimes lead to more harm as useless scar tissue formed where living, operating tissue had once been.  The process could go so far as to render an organ completely useless, the only solution being to replace the organ.  Even the human liver, with its great capacity for regeneration had its limits.  But Jane worked with a particular group of scientists studying the liver and the salamander, who joined with another group who were studying the effects of aging.  They believed they had struck upon a treatment, a combination of gene therapy, the application of small doses of radiative energy, stem cells, and even specific bacterial cultures to induce regeneration of wounded tissue.

Jane knew about the salamander.  The animal’s mythical association with the element of fire.  Fire cleansed and fire sealed.  It was a good symbol for their project. Continue reading