Short-Stories

Kiss the Girl

Amy Plum

I don’t know my beloved’s name. I prefer not to. He might have told me once, but I made myself forget. It’s easier that way. Names seem important to him, though. He calls mine every time he sees me, raising an oar in greeting. I just smile and wave, like I do now as his boat comes into view, not too far from land. Not too far, but not too close.

High waves crash into the rock I sit on, fanning up behind me in an explosion of foam. It is part of the barrier reef protecting the small fishing village adjoining the royal city. Inside the barrier—them. Outside—us. The only ones who cross it are sailors…or fishermen, like my beloved.

The rising sun reflects harshly off the waves, and I squint to shield my sensitive eyes before waving again. The sunlight is so much more beautiful from under the waves, where the water filters it into rich jewel tones. Everything is more beautiful beneath. I do not know how humans manage to live above, sticking up into the air like they do. Everything poking upward, ready to fall over at the slightest movement from the earth, rather than being a part of it. Enveloped by it. Part of the silken tapestry of the sea.

He rows with powerful strokes, as anxious to see me as I am him. Today is the day. After one year of waiting. One year of courtship. One year of stolen hours, of storytelling, of kisses, of desire for more.

“I want to be with you,” he had begged.

“You must prove your dedication to me,” I had told him. “You must visit every day. For a year.”

“I can’t wait that long,” he begged, frustration moving him to tears. For there is only so much that a human and my kind can do. I had to remind myself how short their lives are. A year to them seems like a few days to us. Things above the surface move so quickly that I have to remind myself to savor every hour. And yet, he pleaded with me. “How can we wait an entire year?”

“Stories,” I replied. “We will tell each other stories. One story per day. One from your world and then one from mine.” And with each story I rewarded him.

In the beginning, I let him hold my hand. Soon, I sat with my tail in the water and elbows propped on the edge of his boat, tail swishing in the water beneath me as I let him brush my shoulders with his sun-warmed fingers. His touch made me shudder. Soon I let him sit next to me on the rock, holding his soft face in my hands and kissed him. I allowed his hands to wander, exploring the body that was as mysterious to him as his was to me.

Something surprising began to happen inside me. I felt like an oyster, being pried open, not by the pureness of his love…because we all know a man’s love is never pure…but by his vulnerability. Unlike the others, he didn’t try to manipulate me. He didn’t try false charm. He opened himself up to me, this beautiful boy, with a childlike trust. And, no matter how much I fought it, my heart responded.

Finally, he told me what I needed to hear. He swore he would give up his family. His land. His humanity, in exchange for a life with me under the sea.

#

Every morning at sunrise, my beloved rowed out to me. I waited, knowing the story would come. It always did.

Sure enough one day, when the cold was such that he shivered despite several layers of thick clothes, he told me a local story…one that was said to have happened in the neighboring royal city, long ago.

It was the story of the mermaid and the prince. My beloved spoke of how the sea maiden fell in love with the royal and decided to sacrifice everything to be with him. She gave up her ocean for dry land. She left her people to live with his. She chose legs instead of a tail. All for love. All for her prince.

I listened as he told me. Pretended I hadn’t heard it before. Opened my eyes wide when he got to the part where the prince marries another girl. Gasped when the sea witch gave her sisters a knife for her to kill the newly-married prince, promising that if his blood spilled on her feet she would became a mermaid once more. Cried when she refused, throwing the knife into the waves and casting herself after it, her body drowning, but her spirit granted eternal life as reward for her sacrifice.

I listened carefully, each word like a drop of poison to my ears. I didn’t stop him to correct him. I didn’t tell him how the story really went. How the prince had ordered his boatmen to capture my sister when he spotted her watching the festivities of one of his shipboard parties. He had them bring her to the castle in secrecy, where he kept her in a saltwater pool until finally…mercifully…she died, then cast her defiled body back into the sea.

But the prince did not stop there. He hired a famous writer—Andersen—to memorialize the tale of the mermaid, warping the truth until it became the tale my beloved heard. The story was meant to give the prince fame and immortality, and it did. One hundred and seventy-nine years later, humans like my beloved were still telling it.

We have our ways of finding out what happens on land. That is…when we even care. And that time we did. When Father discovered what had happened, he sent out a decree. The next time the prince left land, we got him. My sisters and I wanted him for ourselves. But Father gave him to the sea witch so she could avenge the smearing of her name in his story. I had never seen her hurt as much as krill, but this time she made an exception. You could have heard the prince’s screams from the deepest trenches if his lungs hadn’t been slowly filling with brine.

My father charged me and my sisters with carrying out the revenge. Five hundred human lives for the life of my sister. Five hundred boys the same age she had been: sixteen. In our grief and wrath, we made a pact. We would take the humans’ lie and turn it on its head. We would make the boys fall in love. We would make them want us so badly that they would be willing to trade their legs for fins. We would make them lose their reason and beg for a folly that would prove to be their watery death.

Our revenge has been sweet. Until now. Because this time, I fear I too am falling in love.

#

My beloved arrives. His face is bright with expectation. The rising sun catches the blond in his hair and ignites it into a golden halo.

“Are you ready?” I ask, a sense of acute distress twisting my guts. I don’t understand this feeling. I wasn’t nervous with the others. I smooth the worry from my face and smile, reaching my hand toward him.

He nods, his lake-blue eyes fervent with passion, as he scrambles out of the boat to join me on the rock. “I’ll do anything to be with you.”

“Kiss me first,” I say, and though we have kissed a hundred times, I make it surpass all of the others. Prove with fervor that my love is real. Show him a part of my heart. Not everything, of course. But already much too much.

We part, and I take his hand in mine. “Don’t let go,” I say, and together we dive beneath the surface. A strong flick of my tail takes us deep. Almost past the point of no return.

But at the crucial second…at the time when they usually begin to struggle…I hesitate. My fingers loosen. His eyes are full of expectation and compassion, and for a second I wonder what it would be like to save him. To swim back up to the surface while he still has breath in his lungs.

What I’ve promised him is impossible. He can never become one of us, just as we could never become human. The sea witch reassured us that the concept was as impossible as it was ridiculous.

But if I took him back now, we could continue as we have for the last year, in each other’s arms for a few precious hours every day. Maybe if I tell him the truth, he will understand and he will still love me.

“Maybe” flickers through my mind before my gaze strays beyond my beloved and I see my sisters. Through the murky swells of ocean currents, they watch me. They wait. For tonight my father has planned a banquet to celebrate one more life taken. One more pearl in our crown of revenge. He would have us feed on the most delicious of sea creatures, while the inhabitants of the deep feed on my beloved and the remains of the others whose long-dead corpses are manacled side-by-side on the ocean floor.

My eyes sting with tears that melt into the water as I turn my gaze back to the boy. He is as handsome as the day I met him. Blond hair darkened by seawater drifts like a bronze aura around his head. As confusion clouds his eyes, I lean forward, pressing my lips to his. Regret stabs a searing hole through my heart as I think of my sister, tighten my grip on his hand, and, with a thrash of my tail, drag him down.


Amy Plum is the internationally bestselling author of the DIE FOR ME series, the AFTER THE END duology, and the upcoming DREAMFALL duology—all with HarperTeen. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama before venturing further afield to Chicago, Paris, London and New York. An art historian by training, she can be found on most days either daydreaming or writing (or both) in a Parisian café.

Learn more about her: Website  Facebook Twitter Instagram

1. Do the stupid stuff in life, but know your limits. You’ll have stories to tell for later.

2. Love, and love hard - even if you know that they’re just going to end up leaving after it all, it gives you something to live for.

3. If it makes you feel something, do it.

4. For god sake, eat the damn slice of pizza, the calories won’t fucking kill you.

5. Listen.

6. Get your heart broken. It’s sad, it’s depressing, and it literally eats away at your insides, but, it’s about living and learning: you were doing just fine before he came along and you’ll continue to be fine after he’s gone.

7. Learn when to walk away: if it’s over, leave; don’t continue watering a dead flower.

8. But also learn to push and fight for what you want. There’s no such thing as bad timing or any of that other bullshit: if it matters to you, do something about it.

9. Choose wisely: by the time you realize that success and dollar bills aren’t going anywhere, she’ll already be gone by then - don’t lose a diamond while chasing glitter.

10. And besides, this world can get pretty lonely, but she’ll never leave you in the dark; she’ll do nothing but support you, trust me.

11. But learn when to stop entertaining him, you deserve better than that piece of shit; if he can’t see your worth then it’s time to find better.

12. Breathe, you’re going to be okay.

—  c.f. // “twelve things for the rough stuff in life”
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  • Lisa Levy on the private pleasures of pre-internet fandom. | Literary Hub
  • The 2016 Man Booker Prize longlist has been announced, including Paul Beatty, J.M. Coetzee, Ottessa Moshfegh, and A.L. Kennedy. | The Man Booker Prizes
  • Hua Hsu and Yaa Gyasi discuss feelings of terror, problematic teachers, and the way we fit ourselves into narratives. | The Fader
  • “The value of my book and myself had changed, even if the book remained as invaluable to me as when I wrote it.” Viet Thanh Nguyen on the aftermath of his Pulitzer win. | The Guardian
  • On The Girls and American Girls, which both “explore the story of the Manson murders by shoving the ringleader to the side and putting the girls (and girlhood itself) at the center of the narrative.” | The Atlantic
  • “It never was about the work for him, about earning to take care of family, securing their futures, meeting responsibilities. It was about something darker, some festering pain that no amount of public adulation could heal.” Joe McGinniss, Jr. on his father’s fall from literary grace. | The New Yorker
  • Liz Moore on talking to computers, writing her way out of corners, and the importance of reading. | Electric Literature
  • “Likely he would comment on my attempt to individuate from my mother, to separate. And her need to envelop me. Or, he might even say, to devour me.” A short story by Kate Axelrod. | Joyland
  • On the “small, but noticeable, sustained, and continuous” resurgence of indie bookstores. | The Seattle Review of Books
  • What books are learning from television: On new methods of serializing literary fiction. | NPR

Also on Literary Hub: Katie Holten on turning words and paragraphs into whole forests · It’s Ok for a poem to be funny: an interview with Tommy Pico · A new poem by Chialun Chang · The high school kids are out for summer: “Darla” from Odie Lindsey’s We Come to Our Senses

Interview: Elle

Today we’re joined by Elle. Elle is a fantastic and versatile writer who writes in a number of styles. She’s got the soul of a writer, writing everything from novels to poetry. A lot of her prose writing is fantasy, which is awesome. Her interview demonstrates an enthusiastic and passionate mind, which always makes for a great interview. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’ve been writing ever since I knew how to write! I write anything from short stories to books, to poetry. I’ve had two poems published in national books. I stick with fantasy or the supernatural. My poetry usually revolves more around emotions, objects or single moments in time.

I also cross-stitch and knit.

What inspires you?

People! I work around people and people are just so interesting. I’ll admit I sometimes take direct quotes because really, sometimes, there’s just no making that stuff up.

Clothes also inspire me. I can build entire personalities or plots around a decent outfit.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

My mother used to tell me the most fantastic stories. To get my brothers and I off to sleep quicker and waste our energy she’d make us tell the stories. When I started picking up a pen it just seemed like a natural progression.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I have no real thing as it were but I always, always manage to include an asexual character even before I knew what asexuality really was.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

This might be an unpopular opinion but don’t try to make a career out of your joy. That turns something you love into something you have deadlines for or creating art you may not want to create. If you can handle that however (I definitely can’t!) then go for it!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Biromantic asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I’m incredibly lucky in that I haven’t encountered any in my field.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it can be changed. Many people don’t understand that it’s not some kind of mental illness or personality quirk.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Take your time to work it out. There’s no rush, I promise.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Nowhere yet, I’m working on getting things out there via Etsy or self-publishing!

Thank you, Elle, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

10 Female Written Short Stories Everyone Should Read

I have seen a post circulating for a while that lists 10 short stories everyone should read and, while these are great works, most of them are older and written by white men. I wanted to make a modern list that features fresh, fantastic and under represented voices. Enjoy!

1. A Temporary Matter by Jhumpa Lahiri — A couple in a failing marriage share secrets during a blackout. 

2. Stone Animals by Kelly Link — A family moves into a haunted house.

3. Reeling for the Empire by Karen Russell — Women are sold by their families to a silk factory, where they are slowly transformed into human silkworms. 

4. Call My Name by Aimee Bender — A woman wearing a ball gown secretly auditions men on the subway. 

5. The Man on the Stairs by Miranda July — A woman wakes up to a noise on the stairs. 

6. Brownies by ZZ Packer — Rival Girl Scout troops are separated by race. 

7. City of My Dreams by Zsuzi Gartner — A woman works at a shop selling food-inspired soap and tries not to think about her past. 

8. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor — A family drives from Georgia to Florida, even though a serial killer is on the loose. 

9. Hitting Budapest by NoViolet Bulawayo — A group of children, led by a girl named Darling, travel to a rich neighborhood to steal guavas. 

10. You’re Ugly, Too by Lorrie Moore — A history professor flies to Manhattan to spend Halloween weekend with her younger sister.

The Naked Clown

A babysitter was putting a child to bed when she noticed a completely nude man in clown makeup sitting in the corner of the room, stroking his hairy stomach and laughing quietly. Thinking nothing of it, she went downstairs to watch TV. When the parents came home hours later, she complimented them on their naked clown man, and the dad said, “We don’t own a naked clown man.”

Submitted by: contentprovider

MIDNIGHT STAYS: A SPOOKY SHORT STORY REC LIST

‘tis the season!  october’s almost halfway through, the evenings are stretching out across the days, the leaves are falling, and it’s cold enough to warrant whole days curled up inside with a book.  here are some of my favourite scary stories for that extra chill:

  • each thing i show you is a piece of my death, by Stephen J. Barringer and Gemma Files - originally published in the 2nd of the excellent Clockwork Phoenix anthologies; this is one of my favourite short stories, period.  It’s also one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever read.  Even Cat Valente, who was also included in that anthology, recommends it wholeheartedly.  The premise is very simple - what if spirits could haunt film? - but done originally and very, very well.
  • Shirley Jackson, the queen of American Gothic - I’ve expanded on my love for Jackson on countless occasions.  Her most famous story is likely The Lottery, but The Bus, The Possibility of Evil, and, unfortunately not available online but widely anthologized, The Lovely House, are all also excellent and creepy, as is her longer fiction.
  • A Rose For Emily, by William Faulkner - to stick with America and the Gothic for a moment; I first read this in English 12 and it haunted me for weeks afterwards.
  • The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman - in some ways one of the most terrifying short stories ever written, particularly the more one reads into it, this Lit class classic about a woman with postpartum depression and the woman she sees in the wallpaper grows and refracts upon itself with each new reading, making it endlessly creepy and rewarding both.
  • and, of course, the king and founder of American Gothic, Mr. Edgar Allen Poe - most or all of his known works are available on Project Gutenberg, but some of my favourites include The Masque of the Red Death, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Cask Of Amontillado, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, Morella, and, of course, The Tell-Tale Heart.
  • The Sandman by E.T.A. Hoffmann - the author of the story that would become the beloved Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker also wrote a story so alarming that Freud wrote an entire theory on it.  In fact, The Sandman is probably just the most quintessential Hoffmann tale as, long before Freud ever wrote about him, he produced a great deal of tales focussed on the uncanny and an undermining of perception and the security of the self (which is all a highfalutin way of saying that Hoffmann anticipated the anxieties of his readers to come in fascinating and unsettling ways.) 
  • Don’t Look Now, by Daphne Du Maurier - unfortunately not online so far as I can tell, this is one of my favourite stories ever by one of my favourite authors, the masterful creator of Rebecca and Jamaica Inn, who also wrote the short story upon which Alfred Hitchcock based The Birds.  This story was also adapted into a film in the early seventies, starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, also a favourite of mine.
  • The Landlady, by Roald Dahl - another story dramatized by Alfred Hitchcock, about the horrors of taxidermy.
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving - thanks to the Tim Burton film and the currently-running tv show, we all know this story.  Or at least, we think we do.  Irving wrote something a bit different than either of those adaptations lead us to believe of the story.
  • The Monkey’s Paw, by WW Jacobs - an exemplar of the “be careful what you wish for” genre.
  • the works of Algernon Blackwood - personal favourites include The Willows, The Kit-Bag, and The Strange Adventures of a Private Secretary in New York.  Blackwood is one of the originators of what would become the Weird tradition within horror writing, although he had much more of a sense of humour (and was much less racist than HP Lovecraft)
  • HP Lovecraft - speaking of, if you must read him (and he does loom large over almost all horror written after him), I suggest doing so critically, without ever trusting him, and with an eye towards doing better.  I also suggest the stories Cool Air, The Thing on the Doorstep, and The Whisperer In Darkness
  • William Hope Hodgson - creator of one of my favourite literary figures, not least for the possibilities he opens up, Carnacki the Ghost-Finder, who is essentially a supernatural Sherlock Holmes.  Hodgson also wrote one of the forerunners of cosmic horror, a novel called The House on the Borderland.
  • I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, by Harlan Ellison - a postapocalyptic sci-fi story featuring a vengeful computer that was groundbreaking at its time of publication and remains quite scary.
  • the late, great Ray Bradbury - one of the most formative influences on my own imagination, and one of the most important writers of the last century.  A lot of his work isn’t available online (although he’s beloved of almost every librarian I’ve ever met so finding his work shouldn’t be a problem), but here are a few: The Veldt, The Pedestrian, and The Pendulum
  • The Entrance, by Gerald Durrell - when I mentioned to a friend and prof that I was fascinated by mirrors in literature, she recommended this story by Durrell, who is better known for being a naturalist, an author of charming memoirs, and brother to Lawrence Durrell, but she failed to mention how terrifying it is.
  • Faces in Revolving Souls and Houses Under the Sea by Caitlin R Kiernan - two particularly disturbing stories by a writer who is perhaps less famous than she should be.
  • The Krakatoan, Who Is Your Executioner?, and The Cellar Dwellar, by Maria Dahvana Headley - three short stories by one of my favourite writers, author of Queen of Kings and Magonia, and keeper of a truly excellent tumblr
  • The Bone Key and other stories by Sarah Monette - The Bone Key: The Necromatic Mysteries of Kyle Murchison Booth tells the story of Booth, an awkward and introverted archivist who finds himself in the midst of a host of supernatural mysteries, sometimes to do with his own shrouded family history.  They are easily some of the most engrossing and enjoyable short stories I’ve ever read.  Wait For Me, The Replacement, and White Charles are all available online, as is the newer story To Die For Moonlight.  Two other Monette stories, unrelated to Booth, that I recommend highly are Queen of Swords and Under the Beansidhe’s Pillow.
  • A Kiss With Teeth, by Max Gladstone - vampires and parent-teacher meetings, enough said.  My favourite story I’ve read recently.
  • Madeleine, by Amal El-Mohtar - my favourite story I’ve read all year, which is perhaps unsurprising as I adore El-Mohtar’s writing (not to mention her passion for speculative fiction and poetry and raising its visibility), about memories, and loss, and struggling with your own mind.

What is Midnight Stays?
Tip me here.

There’s a vending machine in France that gives out free short stories instead of junk food. French publishing company Short Édition’s machines print out 1, 3, and 5-minute stories at the touch of a button so people will be encouraged to enrich their minds while waiting around instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media on their phones. Source Source 2

“When I was a child, when I was an adolescent, books saved me from despair: that convinced me that culture was the highest of values.”

—Simone de Beauvoir, The Woman Destroyed

Aisle 13

by Justina Ireland


It’s two days before the last day of school, and I’m sitting in my Combatives class ready to die of boredom.  Mr. Vaughn is showing a demonstration video on how to slay a basilisk. Again. It was the last question on our final. Only half of us got it right.

I was not one of the lucky few.

No one is paying attention as the warrior in the party uses her reflective shield to distract the basilisk while a mage makes a big deal about putting the creature down with a sleep spell.  We’re all talking and thinking about the summer.

“What did you get in here?” Jeb asks from across the row.

“C,” I say.  “What about you?”

“D minus,” he says, waving his test at me.  His ears droop a little like a chastised puppy. Demons are so sensitive.

I shrug.  “At least you dodged a bullet. No summer school.”

“Yeah,” Jeb looks down at his test morosely.  “But still, you can’t kill a basilisk?  Who knew they were an endangered species?”

Mr. Vaughn is clip-clopping across the front of the room now, arms crossed as he gives one of his “these are skills for the real world” lectures once again. As fun as it is to watch a centaur go off on a tear, I’m over Mr. Vaughn and I’m over this school year.  

I don’t really care about the test, but I do hate when Jeb gets all emo.  “Look, we’re never going to use this anyway.  No one goes adventuring anymore.”

He nods and incinerates his test with a simple fire spell.  No one even glances at him.

“What are you doing this summer?” he asks after a long while, his voice low. He’s still bummed about his bad grade. Maybe I’ll take him out for frozen yogurt after school.  Cheer him up. Sprinkles would cheer anyone up.

I slouch down in my desk, stretching with a yawn.  Mr. Vaughn has given up on his lecture and has retreated to his desk to eat an apple someone brought him.  He’s much calmer now.  It’s probably the apple.  Centaurs freaking love apples.

“Nothing dude,” I say, finally answering Jeb’s question.  “Absolutely nothing.”

*****

The second day of summer vacation my mom tells me I need to get a job.

We’re sitting at dinner eating Mom’s famous tavern stew, which is really just a bunch of random things boiled down to mush.  She’s still dressed in her work clothes: low cut white gown and flower crown.  I asked her once why the clinic makes her wear such a ridiculous outfit, and she just shrugged and said “It’s tradition. This is how healers dress.”  The men have an outfit that is just as stupid, tight white breeches and a flowy tunic, but I still think it sucks that my mom has to dress like a sex object to help people. Like, where is the self-respect in that?

“So, Caitlyn, what are your plans for summer?” Mom asks as I’m about to shovel in some of her stew.  My mouth is full so I just shrug and say “Uhnano.”

“What do you mean you don’t know? No big plans?” Mom is giving me this tight smile that means she wants a specific answer, but I have no idea what she’s looking for here.  It’s summer.  It’s two and a half months of not thinking about magic spells or chemistry or monster identification or algebra or anything, really.  So why is she hassling me?

“I was thinking of maybe taking my mage’s test or something,” I say, hoping it’s enough to distract Mom from whatever she’s about.  Dad isn’t even paying attention to the conversation. As usual he’s nose deep in Berserker Weekly.  Dad used to be this big time adventurer, walking through forests and bashing in heads for fun and profit.  That’s where he met Mom.  I think he saved her from an evil wizard or a druidic cult or something. It was a long time ago, though, and now he mainly consults for a living.

“Oh, that’s a good idea.  After you get your license maybe you could call Marcus and see if he’ll let you work in the Hex shop.  I mean, you should really get a job this summer.  Don’t you agree, Brock?”

A frown creases Dad’s dark face but he grunts in assent.

I take another bite of stew and look down at the bowl to avoid answering. There’s no way I’m going to work in my Uncle Marcus’s Hex shop. The thought of untangling curses all summer makes me want to turn myself into a frog and hide out in the forest.  Not to mention that my Uncle Marcus is the cheapest man alive.  I’d be lucky if he even paid me.

Mom pushes her bowl of stew away and jumps to her feet.  “Good! Caitlyn, I’ll send Marcus a note letting him know you’ll be there tomorrow bright and early—”

“I don’t want to work in the Hex shop. It’s gross.”

Mom stops and turns to me slowly.  Her skin is pale as usual but two spots of color have appeared high on her cheeks.  She is pissed.  “Removing hexes is not gross.  Your uncle gives those people their lives back.”

“A woman with boils all over her face is pretty gross, Mom.”  Last year when I had to pick a concentration Mom took me to see Marcus to convince me to pick cursework because it pays pretty well.  I chose spellweaving instead.  I’d rather work in a factory making love charms or fire spells than to have to turn frogs back into snotty princes all day.

Mom purses her lips and turns to my Dad.  “Brock, will you please talk some sense into your daughter?”

“Cursework is disgusting, Mel,” Dad says, lowering his paper.  “Why can’t the girl go adventuring like everyone else her age?”

“No one goes adventuring anymore, Dad,” I say.  Because it’s true. Adventuring is something your parents make you do because they don’t understand that it isn’t cool to slay dragons anymore or that maidens can rescue themselves.

I mean, adventuring is just so lame. Walking around, looking for a prophecy to fulfill, and then working really hard for something that may or may not come true? Yawn. I have better things to do.

“No one goes adventuring, huh?” Dad and Mom exchange a look, like they’re about to laugh at some inside joke.  Then Dad raises his paper again.  “Either way, you’re not going to sit around the house all summer and play video games.  Get a job, Caity-Bird, and if you can’t find one then your mother will call Marcus and you can spend all summer waking princesses.”

And that’s how I end up working at the Shop Quick.

Keep reading

I write letters to make sense of our random thoughts. We call to talk, but it’s the emptiness that follows after, it gets to me every time. So I write this letter to make sense of the hope that we once held. I write this letter to love the pieces of us that we have long forgotten.

Please, remember about me.

—  Light and bright #4