The Emperor’s Third Daughter

Red lights glow in outlying huts of the tiny village of Paanai-phat. Red lights signify the deadly fever is high, though flood waters have receded somewhat. Farther out, hearth fires have been snuffed with no family alive to feed them. Continue reading

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Ophelia Persisted

“Pull off it. Like a sweater!”

“I’m sorry. What?”

“Like a sweater. Pull! Off! It!”

“Are you having a stroke or something?”

She glared at him, vibrating with rage, and pushed the sleeves of her washed-out taupe cardigan up over her elbows and planted her feet.

He sighed, slid his glasses up his nose. “I have no frikkin’ clue,” he grunted.

It was then that he noticed the linoleum and cinder-black dayroom was empty. Continue reading

Countdown

Boxes lay along the curved perimeter of the silvery dock. A slender figure darted around them, stacking smaller boxes on medium, turning some toward the shoreline.  The healer and her intern had placed three large boxes on the further, forested side, long before the observers had arrived. The dock rocked, slapping the water; the beasts were restless.

Twelve boxes total, counting the one in her belly pocket.

The crowd quieted as dawn softened, red to apricot.

She raised her arms. “Z!” The intern unlatched the largest box and stepped back as a silky black panther padded toward the trees.

He turned his head once, flashed his canines in farewell and disappeared into the shadows.  Continue reading

Summer’s End

School is out for the summer, but not for much longer.

The days grow short, the nights shine sweet crystal, cool under fulsome moons. Bare armed with glass raised high, we toast midnight relief from saturated days, leaning back into night’s caress. Continue reading

Homecoming

Deep winter, full moon, subtle rhythm of skis hissing through snow just-crystallized after a day of drifting flakes. No firm path, just skirting the deep wood where nobody with good sense enters after dark. Continue reading