The Day That Words Transformed

Once, there was a man who woke one morning, and upon uttering his first word for the day, discovered that the word was stuck in his throat, for the word had turned to stone.

He tried to cough out the stone, but he had uttered the word upon an exhale. He had no breath left to cough. He clutched at this throat, his eyes growing wide when he felt the stone slide down his throat. By instinct, he swallowed, and he felt the heavy lump descend through his chest and drop down into his belly.

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The Curse of the Gray Hunger

Three beautiful sisters were they, in those days. They had eyes the color of jade with shades of honey flecked within. They had hair like golden silk. Their lovely smiles were made lovelier still by their dazzling white teeth. As might be expected with beauty so bold, they were envied by many. They were coveted by many. Their mother fretted and feared over that envy and longing. She did not want to lock up her daughters for fear of the world. But one day, her fears came true.

A powerful lord came to desire the sisters. When they refused his advances, he had a warlock curse them. He demanded they be cursed with an eternal hunger for all men. Though his intention was to inflict upon them the same longing that they inspired in him, the warlock’s curse had a different effect. The sisters were afflicted with a hunger not of their hearts or their loins, but of their bellies. For they became consumed with a ravenous hunger for the flesh of man.

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The Shallot Pot

I found it at a garage sale. Someone was getting rid of their family heirlooms. Not jewels or ancient scrolls or photo albums from bygone eras. Just cookware and cutlery, end tables, mismatched dining sets, and the like. I was supposed to be looking for something specific and practical. A desk. But something else caught my eye. It looked exactly as I would imagine a witch’s pot would look like. Coal-black cast iron. Bulging, maybe three or four quarts big, with three stubby feet and a handle. I paid five dollars for it.

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The Witch Rampion

At the base of the tower, I have grown vines studded with thorns as long as my arm. Not the dainty thorns of thistle or rose. But deadly thorns like skewers. Thorns that grow thorns of their own. There is no way to climb through them without getting tangled and pierced. Many a woodland creature have become mired. I cannot free them. I can only end their misery and watch as the vines devour them until only bones are left. It is useless to chop through the vines. For when they are culled, they grow back within a few heartbeats, thicker than before. I am protected. I feed the plant with my own blood. A drop a day suffices. For I am no woodland creature. My blood is full of nourishments beyond that known to beast or man. My body is a channel for greater powers. I was not told before I ran away to my tower what I am. I brought the knowledge with me. I gathered it as I wandered. I gathered herbs and I gathered books. I gathered leaves and dirt and rain. I gathered powders and tinctures and metals and stones. One day as a heavy rain fell outside and as my candles flickered, I read the word that my family tried to hide from me. The word that told me what I am.


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The Queen Remembered

“And so despite her injuries,” the king said, glancing at her with a bright smile of encouragement before turning back toward the vast crowd gathered below the castle balcony, “your queen will be joining you for the festival in three days’ time.”

The crowd roared and the king laughed. His merriment seemed genuine. She wondered if it was these days. A few years had passed, after all, since he became king and she became queen. Though in another memory, a false one that glimmered at the surface of her thoughts, he had been king for nearly two decades.

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Trifle House

Ignoring the sounds of sizzling and the smell of cooking flesh and the searing heat, she closed her eyes and cast her memory back to the day they came. Children. She had never had any particular need for them, but neither had she any particular objection to them. Not that anyone would believe so with her “peculiar” ways.

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