Fantasy

Story

The Familiar and the Frost

A couple rats rest on a woman's shoulder, under a witch hat

Camella the rat familiar perched upon the highest shelf of Witch’s cottage and stared down at the spy. Warlocks and wizards sent spies into the cottage to steal Witch’s powerful charms. But this wasn’t like any spy Camella had ever seen, not like the mechanical gnomes and flame sprites that warlocks and wizards preferred. Read more »

Story

Lost & Found

Cars covered in plants rust in the woods

Before you, the road forks in two wrong directions. One side bores through a tangle of trees, and the other heads off a cliff into the ocean. Neither fits your destination: a masquerade ball with a gushing fountain of melting chocolate. At this rate, you won’t get there before running out of gas again. You take the third direction – backwards – toward what looks like a station. Read more »

Story

Chaser of Shadows

A black cat looks on as small shadow creatures circle a teapot

We came alive when the clock rang one. Submerged in night, we were safe from the scorching rays of sun and burning beams of lanterns. We emerged from the cracks in the cupboards and swam through the crannies between the floor planks. Famished from our day of fasting, we slid up the table to taste the dying heat of the evening’s tea and gorge on warmth from the oven. Bolstered, we condensed into shadows of the night air. After that we played, but we heard well the chimes on every hour, and once we heard five, we shrank back into our crevices and slept. So it was before the beast came. Read more »

Story

Kelly and the Goblins

Conventional room with furnishings that are crooked, upside down, or at odd angles

Kelly emerged from the bathroom to discover all the furniture was upside down. Oh god, how could she fix this mess before John got back with his parents? He’d freak. He had planned every aspect of their visit precisely. He specified that the house had to be in perfect order and told her to wear the most conservative dress in her closet. But while she slaved over every eyelash, something had vandalized her careful preparations. Read more »

Story

The Dreaming Tree

The eyes of a person with a tree overlaid on their forehead.

Lithunsa was dying. The tree’s fabled voice, which once carried as many tones as the temple’s choir, had dimmed to soft cries. Through the long years, Lithunsa’s song had given Pao refuge from hurtful taunts, buoyed him when he felt worthless, and rejoiced with him on sunlit days. The tree was the only one who understood him, or cared to. Now he stood helpless as the leaves crumpled and fell. Read more »

Story

Ambush at the Office

Antique swords and grenades laid out with yellow and blue labels

Thank goodness it was Sunday; the museum offices would be mercifully vacant. The back parking lot lay empty, the silence beguiling. No one would distract Rita from her critical mission: submitting the grant proposal. Museum admissions barely covered the salary for her underpaid and overworked staff. Year after year, the rafters rotted and the plaster cracked, and she had no funds to repair them or anything else. Either she got that grant, or her museum was done. Read more »

Story

Red Riding Hood’s Bargain

Red Riding Hood aims a crossbow

Moonlit snow blew into Red’s face, nearly obliterating the paw prints before her. The other Woodsmen had deemed it suicide to track such a beast in the dead of night and the driving snow. The creature’s eyes would be unhindered by the darkness, and snow would muffle the sound of approaching paws. Read more »