Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Hi all,

Just reporting that I did a bit of housekeeping on the blog, reduced the number of labels that are displaying, etc. This can be changed at anytime. I also added a new page, Navigation, which lists all the prompts & links to the associated labels. Sometimes that list of labels just got a bit long for my brain to handle... hehe

Feel free to protest here!! I want to see picketing!

Hope you are all having a great day!


Monday, August 29, 2011


Oooh you thought I forgot didn't ya? Okay maybe not...anyway, this week's prompt is very unoriginal but

This could all be over in a matter of seconds... Should I or shouldn't I?

Hope everyone's going well!

P.S. You may have noticed we've all slacked off on story picks. One excuse is that there aren't many stories to choose from lately! Another is that we're all super busy & can barely keep up with our own stories. I'm thinking the latter is a better reason... hehe. But we have not forgotten any of you!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ingrown Twin

 Errr . . . evidence of my diminishing coherence?

I have memories of drowning.

Ever since I could remember water has scared me.  Not ‘scared’—as in sweating hands and racing heartbeat.  ‘Scared’—as in can’t breathe, brain shutting down, skin getting too small.

When I was little, I would break out in hives at the sting of a raindrop.  They thought I must have been allergic to water.  There are strange allergies like that, you know.  The doctors did all kinds of tests.  But they found nothing.  The only possible conclusion was psychological.  

It must be true.  I am deeply somatic on so many levels.  Even my own tears scare me.

I have never taken a bath.

I have never been to the aquarium.

I have never learned to swim.

“That’s all going to change this year.”  Coach Blaus says when I tell him why I can’t join the class as they splash around the pool.  “Water safety is mandatory.  District wide policy.”

I don’t move.  I can’t.

“I want you dressed out and back here in ten minutes.”

My muscles are petrified.  I feel the water molecules already penetrating my blood cells, bloating them until they explode like tiny red fireworks.

“Did you hear what I said?”

I fall to the ground with a dry sob.  The words burn like vomit coming up my throat.  “I want to die.”

Coach Blaus laughs.  “Freshmen.  Listen, if it won’t kill you, it’ll make you stronger, right?  Jackson, Johnson, help young—um—” he flips through his role sheet, “Marlberry up to the locker room.  I’ll sign permission slips when you get back.”

Two seniors grab me by the armpits like gym equipment.  “Listen, if you make this hard for us, we’ll make this hard for you.”

They tell me about something that is important to them—something they can only get through my cooperation—but all I hear is my own death knell over the sound of their cannibalistic screeching. 

I change with their weapons held to my head.  Invisible hands close around my throat, choking out my vision and making my ears ring.  I must look like everyone else from the outside because no one else notices the knives in my chest or the fact that my head is spinning three sixties.

My wardens drop me on the edge of the pool where I dry heave into my own hands.  My heart is beating so fast that I can feel it in my eyeballs.  I wish that I could just pass out.  I wish I could pass out every day this semester.  If there is a God, if there is any benevolent force in the entire universe, this would be possible.

“There isn’t.”  A voice whispers through my panic.  “I should know.”


A violent pain rips through my head.  “I am the one that drowned, not you.”

The memories of drowning come back fast and furious now.  But I am not in water.  Where I am is dark and warm.  I do not breathe in this place.  I—

My hand flits to my belly button.

This is what I did in that place.

“Not you, you idiot.  It was me.  It was always me.  Nothing happened to you.”

There is something hard closing around me like the shell of an egg.  But it does not protect me.  It consumes me like the whale from Pinocchio, sucking me deep into its monstrous cavern.  When it finally closes its horrible jaws, my life line snaps.  It’s then I drown.

“But it isn’t you.  It was me.”  There is hungry pleasure in that voice that rips through my brain tissue.

“Who—are—you?”  I say again.  What I mean to say is Why do I have your memories, if I never drowned?

The words are slow and precise as if the speaker were talking to an idiot.  “It was your skull that closed around me, brother.”

When he says it, I remember him.  Or maybe he remembers himself.  Four hands.  Four feet.  So much alike.  We nuzzle each other forehead to forehead, never moving from that position.  We can’t.  We are blood and bone and organs fused.

But I take the blood.  And I get big while he stays small.  My body sucks him inside.  And in that dark place, no one ever knows.

“Okay,” Coach Blaus blows his whistle.  “Everyone in the pool.”

“You may be wondering why I’m talking to you now,” my brother says.  “We need to show them.”

“Hey Marlberry!”  Coach yells when I don’t move.  “In. The. Pool.   You won’t melt.”

“Show them what?”  I don’t care that I am speaking out loud.  Voices ripping through your brain tissues change things like that.

“We need to show them.  We don’t like the water.  Do we brother?”

“No we don’t.”

“Now Marlberry!”  The coach’s voice sounds so far away.  Like I am sitting dry and clothed in my nice safe English class.   Maybe now I will finally pass out.

“We don’t like the water one bit.”  I feel my brother reach into my limbs and pull my muscles like strings.  My body jumps into the water.  Gulps a breath of air.  Dives deep.

We don’t know how to swim.  We don’t know how to swim.  We don’t know how to swim.  We don’t know how to swim.  We don’t know how to swim.  We don’t know how to swim. We don’t know how to swim.  We are going to drown.  Drown.  Drown. Drown.  Drown.

“Relax.  I have been drowning for thirteen years.  I know how it’s done.”

In a second, he is at the bottom of the pool.  From the very back of his eyeballs, I watch him pry off the enormous drain cover.

It takes a second for anything to happen.

In that second, we are back where it is safe, dripping on a patch of tile at the pool’s edge.

We watch the pool give a giant belch.  And then . . .  the whirlpool starts to spin.

It spins, catching each boy.  Spins.  Spins. Spin.   Until the pool is empty.

Coach Blaus has stopped screaming.  Stopped calling for security.  It is too late.

Together, my brother and I get up from the pool’s edge.  He is one on the right and I am on the left, fused in every cell.  Sharing this strong body.  The only one that was born.  We say the words in unison because there is no other way to say it.

“Did that make you stronger, Coach?”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Eek, so sorry, everyone! The prompt is late, so... er, how have we dealt with this in the past? Just let it blow over? Okay, cool. Hey, have an extra day to write, on me. :P

Because I'm thinking about nothing but the beginning of school these days, write a short story of 1,000-10,000 words based on the following:

The first time I walked into that classroom was also the last.

Bonne chance! I don't speak French.


Friday, August 19, 2011


I did actually write this on Thursday night...then I forgot to post it on Friday! But here it is, backdated (it's Sunday right now, but yes I'm backdating).


She bloomed with life and good health. He was inclined to thank the baby for that. The creature growing inside her, a small human awaiting its turn at life. Not long now. She was forty weeks pregnant and ready to burst. But he hated the faraway look on her face, hated the way he’d talk and she’d forget to listen.
     Amazing that in just nine months, he’d grown to hate the love of his life. And all because of a dreamy expression.
     There were mysteries he could never be in on, secrets he could never learn. He didn’t want to be a woman, but he envied the secret nooks and crannies of their minds, those places he’d never been able to reach. His mother had had them, all his girlfriends had had them. And now his wife, the one he’d had to beg just to get a first date, to get the ring on her finger, to get her to stay when the grass on the other side glowed searing green. His wife was the worst of all. Because begging didn’t work this time.
     She didn’t even hear him.
     Despite his frustration, he counted down the weeks and days and hours and sometimes even the seconds. He craved the day when he would see his son—or daughter, he reminded himself; might be a girl—in the flesh. He longed to see that minute face, however prune-like it might appear at first. He longed to study those tiny hands, fingers laid out in all their perfect glory against one of his comparatively enormous fingers. He longed for the day, he hungered for it, and he stayed by her side because that day was coming.
     It was the only thing that kept him here.
     He’d seen newborn babies in sunlight—sometimes it was like you could see through their skin. They glowed red, and you saw the skin silhouetted. It was difficult to describe the wonder of such a sight. He’d always been insanely jealous of others and their babies. He was jealous of his wife for being closer to the kid than he was. He was jealous of his friend who was a single father. He wished he could be a single father too.
     Just Daddy and baby, living in harmony together. Glowing in the sunshine.
     Because really, what man needed a wife?

For the first time in weeks, a new expression flitted over his wife’s face. A slight pinching of her brow, a flicker of an eyelid, a soft intake of breath like a snake’s hiss. He tensed in his chair, leaning toward her. “Darling? What is it?” He called her darling out of force of habit alone, now. She wasn’t his darling any longer. Hadn’t been for a good while. But since all words were empty to him now, what was another meaningless utterance?
     “I think…” She’d had it for a moment there—a grip on the thing she wanted to say. But then it had slipped through her fingers, wafted out of her mind like every thought she’d had for the last nine months.
     His fingers itched to slap her. He tensed the muscles of his arm to keep it by his side. He gritted his teeth and reached out in his mind for an anchor. Something to hold him steady on the stormy seas. He was so close, so close. He couldn’t ruin things now.
     He wouldn’t let her ruin things now, when he was so close.
     “Darling? What is it?”
     She blinked. “I think the baby…”
     And then she doubled over, as far as her distended belly would allow her to, and that flicker of discomfort became a fixed mask of pain. Teeth were bared, eyes squeezed shut, and breathing sped up. A strange guttural moan began in her throat, and he saw her chest rattling with it. Then he saw the belly—it was moving, writhing, the creature inside it fighting to get out. Fighting for air and freedom.
     He knew it then—the baby didn’t want her anymore than his Daddy did. The baby wanted freedom. The baby wanted a life with just Daddy.
     It was settled, then. Daddy would take care of him.
     He would.

At the hospital, it was everything he could do to hold everything on the inside. He was bursting with feeling: excitement, fear, desperation, elation. Anticipation. He anticipated the beginning of his life, for really, life hadn’t begun before now. The baby would kick start everything. The baby would breathe new life into its lungs and into its father. The baby would change the world.
     But first, it had to escape the prison of its mother’s womb.
     He’d started to wonder, in the last few minutes, if that creature was the baby’s mother after all. How could such a sublime creature have such a thing as a mother? Surely it was more divine than that. And somehow, the thought of that baby being tainted with such a vacuous influence was too awful to bear. So he decided, in his infinite wisdom, that the baby was his and nobody else’s. Mothers didn’t matter, anymore than wives did.
     He was forgetting his own beloved mother, of course. But it had been so long since she died that it was natural he would’ve forgotten. All he knew of women was the one he’d married, the empty shell who had served as a vessel for the growth of his son. His only son. There would be no others. For there to be others would mean taking attention away from the child. That couldn’t happen, not even for a moment. The child was all, it would be everything. And together, he and the child would never want for anything more.
     The vessel was laid out on a cot. The kind that rolled down hallways, when pushed. She was laid out, and her stomach climbed into the air like a mountain. The baby pushed against its bonds with increasing fervour and strength. Growing more desperate. Daddy was hard pressed not to lunge for the cot and plunge his hands into that mountain, ripping his child free. He was hard pressed not to wrestle the vessel to the floor and scoop its treasure out. But ending up in prison wasn’t his idea of quality fathering. That would really mess things up. So he stood beside the cot, staring down at the trembling mountain and biting his tongue. Clamping down on the scream that built inside him.
     At last, the nurses arrived and the cot began to move. The vessel was wheeled along one hallway, then along another. At a pair of double doors, he had to fight the nurses to be able to follow. In those days, fathers weren’t meant to be anywhere near the birthing room. But he knew just the right wheedling words to say, and he said them, and he begged and pleaded and he even cried a little. It was easy. All he had to do was think of a life without Baby. The tears flowed freely after that.
     In the birthing room, things happened quickly. Nurses spoke encouraging words while Daddy held his tongue, unable to speak for fear of unleashing a stream of invective. He raged inwardly at the vessel for taking so long. How dare she withhold his treasure from him? How dare she laugh at the ceiling, eyes practically crossed from the stupidity flowing in her veins. How had he never noticed her stupidity before? How had he been so blind?
     At last, things started to look up. The nurses began talking of crowning, and Daddy knew that meant something about the head appearing. He gathered it hadn’t appeared yet, but was set to at any moment. He tried to lean closer, tried to see, but bodies crowded in front of him to keep him away. He growled and clenched his fists and thought about smashing faces in. Only thought about it, mind; it’d never do to end up in jail at this particular moment, when he was so. damn. close. It was the hardest thing he’d ever had to do, though. Hold himself back. Restrain himself. Wait.
     Voices rang out in the room, and the vessel’s stupid airy laughter coated everything. Daddy felt in desperate need of a shower, but that was hardly his main concern. His main concern was an exclamation from one of the nurses: “Oooohhhhh…” And then the strange croaking sound, the kind of sound he’d never heard before. It made him think, Baby! but no, it couldn’t be. Babies didn’t sound like that…did they?
     All fell silent, but for the vessel’s hateful laughter and the beeping of machines. The thundering of Daddy’s heart in his chest. The ticking of some distant clock. The faint hush of activity beyond the doors of the birthing room. Daddy’s thundering heart. What is wrong? he found himself thinking. But nothing could be wrong. Nothing at all.
     “Where’s my baby? Where is he?”
     Nobody looked at him. All eyes were on the vessel, or rather on what had just come out of her. He could not see! And though he tried to be polite about it, nobody was letting him through. So, politeness wasn’t the way. He had to try something new.
     He shoved the first nurse aside, and the second. People started getting the message, shifting so he could pass. The vessel’s mindless titter wafted through the air, grating on his nerves, making him flinch. The way forward parted, the crowd around the cot making way for him. For a moment he had eyes for something other than his baby, and what he saw sent a faint chill through him. Round saucer eyes full of fear, a nurse’s mouth hanging open in apparent disbelief. Sympathy. Sorrow. Confusion. Horror.
     What the hell is wrong? He longed to ask, but he had no time for questions. He had to see with his own eyes.
     At last, the cot was revealed. The vessel was torn open, blood everywhere. He could hardly see that she had been a person. He realised that the sound of her laughter was in his head, not happening for real. It echoed in his head, seeming to grow louder with each second that passed. Blood and gore and death greeted him. But not everything was dead.
     There, nestled in the middle of a lake of wet and sticky redness, was a creature so unlike any human baby that Daddy had to wonder just what he was looking at. The thing had a spine on the outside, it had protrusions from its back that he quickly recognised as folded bat wings, it had oddly arched eyebrows that reached nearly to the hairline. And the hair. It had a fountain of black hair, longer than its body, clumped with blood and bone and other unrecognisable matter. But the main thing he saw was the eyes. Glowing orange-yellow like the strongest flame, blazing from where they nestled in a misshapen head, the eyes fixed right on Daddy and seemed to glow even brighter. Daddy, a voice whispered straight into his mind. You’ve come, at last. Take me home, Daddy. Let us begin our life together.
     And despite the dismay all around him, Daddy wasn’t sad at all.
     The grin on his face was fixed—destined to stay there forever more.
     He scooped his child up into his arms and cradled it, gazing down with mindless adoration into that beloved face.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Prompt 33

Why do I always leave these things until last minute?

So on Wednesday, I have to do a presentation on classroom economies (does anyone remember those from elementary school?) and I had this thought:

"I closed my eyes and reached into the class treasure chest.  Uh oh.  THAT'S not a pencil."

Yep.  That's it.  That's your prompt.   1K-10K prose/333-3,333 verse.

Oh and yeah, go ahead and ask me about bizarre/dangerous ways to implement token economies.  I've been cracking myself up all weekend.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Sorry...yep, I forgot and I'm late! I blame my head being done in by my significant other and his makeshift psychiatrist ways. :P Anyway...head screwed on tight, so here goes!!

Write 1,000-10,000 words based on the following:

"Any moment now, he's going to press the button. Are the cameras rolling?"


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Prompt 31: The Sushi Knife

Warning:  Much hacking of flesh ahead.  Also, I’m kind of inundated with weirdness right now.  More so that usual, anyway.

Here’s how the old fairy tale goes:  Once upon a time there were three beautiful fairy princesses.  As the fairy queen was near death, she brought these sisters to her bedside and asked:

“How much do you love me?”

“I love you more than the first day of spring,” the eldest said promptly. 

“I love you more than the all the jewels that sleep among the rocks,” said the middle directly after.

The youngest didn’t answer for sometime, too over come by the sight of the dying queen to answer.

The fairy queen grew impatient, her soul yearning to separate from her worn, mortal body.  “Well, how much do you love me?”

“I love you—” A single tear streamed rolled down the cheek of the least articulate girl and gently traced the corner of her lips.  “I love you more than salt.”

“Salt?”  The queen was outraged.  The elder sisters shook with barely restrained laughter.  What kind of a thing was that to say at a royal death bed?  The queen had meant to divide her kingdom between the three sisters, but when the youngest had given her answer, she changed her mind.

“My dear Foliana,” the queen said to the eldest.  “I bequeath you all the earth’s surface and seasons so that you may rule over the flowers of spring and the fruits of summer that you love best.”

“My sweet Cordeline, I give you the heart of the earth and the caves and wonders that lie within.”

And with her last breath, the queen cursed the youngest princess to the cold cruel sea.


We came from the sea.  Sometimes old money forgets that we are the children of the youngest, clumsy-tongued daughter.  But grandfather will never let us forget.

“Our blood is chemically identical to seawater,” he announces as we dine in the great hall that over looks the Pacific.  This isn’t true, but I let it go.  He is more than a hundred years old.

“I see you don’t believe me.”  There are fifty other family members feasting at the long formal table, but Grandfather’s eyes bear straight into mine.  Some shade of doubt had probably flickered across my face.  I should have known better.  He rings a bell and a servant wheels out a pump connected to a series of thin tubes.

Grandfather rolls up his fine silk sleeves, revealing pale arms still corded with muscles.  “Pay close attention.”

Then my grandfather takes a sharp knife from his plate and slits his wrists.

Blood gushes every where.  The wife of one of my uncles faints.  Children scream.  But the expression in my grandfather’s eyes is utterly serene.  “Come here.  I want you to see this.”

His words are meant for me.  But I hesitate.  Before I move, the room grows oddly silent.  Everyone is looking at me.  Blaming me.  We have been long in the habit of humoring Grandfather.  If he dies today, it will be on my head.  So I go and kneel in the pool of blood by his chair.

A servant takes each one of his marble arms, presses the tubes into ocean-blue veins and begins to pump.

But the blood keeps gushing out and out and out.  The floor puddles red around my knees.  He keeps a hand on my shoulder, forcing me prostrate in the gore.  I was vaguely aware of my uncles and aunts flooding into action around me.  With someone else’s eyes I see the servants pushing everyone back.  I hear the whirl of the hand pump pushing all the ocean into my grandfather’s leaking veins, but it is as distant as heaven itself.

It is as if they are in a different world.

A world under water.

The smell of salt is strong in my nose.  The blood at my knees rises higher and higher, pulling at me like the tide and invading my body with an unforgiving cold.  Grandfather’s face wavers above mine.  I am looking at him through a curtain.  He is holding me under.

I am drowning.


There’s a part of the story that doesn’t often get told.

Just as the curse was claiming the youngest princess, she cried out to her sisters:

“Please have pity on me!”

The elder sisters were not hard-hearted girls.  They each grabbed one of her arms and held on for all they were worth.  Every bit of magic they had went into keeping their little family together.  Their bodies trembled with their light energy; molecules dislodging and reattaching, as unstable as stars.

But the curse—the wishes of the dead—were too strong.  The fairy queen’s voice reached back from eternity and ripped the sisters asunder.

The elder sisters’ bodies were nothing but sparks and vapor at this point.  The youngest clung to them wherever she could.  When they were ripped asunder, two large pieces of her sisters’ energy broke off into her all too solid hands.

As the curse landed her in the deepest darkest part of the sea, the energy cooled, solidifying into two wiggling legs, one from each of her sisters.  Her own legs had been taken from her, a golden fish’s tail taking their place.

The youngest sister began to sob, heaving so hard that the sea trembled with each shudder.  In one day she had lost the queen and her sisters.  She did not care about her inheritance or about the warmth of the sun.  She only cried for the love that she had lost.

Her crying stirred the sea.  The surface of the ocean grew treacherous.  Ships crashed against rocks.  Giant whirlpools plucked down whole islands as if they were ripe fruit.

In the tumult, a human relic fell before her.  She recognized it at once.   The knife of the first alchemist.  One side could be used to cut through any living surface and the other could be used to seal up any wound.  Her sisters’ legs flail around beside her on the ocean floor.  If she severed her own tail, she could wear her sisters’ legs.  Then she could return to dry land and . . .

The youngest sister took the golden knife into her hands and drove it deep into her flesh.  A sharp, bitter laugh escaped her lips as she hacked into her own flesh.  Apparently, blood meant more to her than salt.


I heave and sputter as I take my first gasp of the real world.  I am lying on the floor, covered in my grandfather’s blood. It is in my hair, my ears and in my eyes.  It has found its way into my mouth, tasting just like the sea.

The servants are still pumping.   Grandfather still sits above me, eyes fixed on mine and alert.  For all of his bleeding, he looks stronger, younger.  Somehow eternal, like a sea king carved from marble.  Clear water now runs from his wrists.  Every ounce of blood replaced with the sea.

“Our blood is identical to sea water,” he says again.

“Yes” is all I can say because now I see.  The rest of our family has cleared from the dining room.  We are alone with the servants. “Yours and mine.”

Grandfather nods approvingly.  “Now you understand.”

I don’t answer.  The golden knife on the plate calls to me.   I take it carefully into both of my hands, turn the sharp side to me and reseal my grandfather’s wrists.  The servants stop pumping.  “How long has the alchemist’s knife been in our family?”

Grandfather wrings his wrists and shrugs.  “Always.  We are her direct decedents.”

“What I guess I meant was, how long have you had it?”

“Since the day I opened Mermaid.”  Mermaid is the reason that we are rich.  It is the most important sushi restaurant in the kingdom.  Kings and queens can not do without the fish that my grandfather cuts. 

“It is the secret of our success.”  My voice sounds hallow in the room, no more than the whisper of a ghost.   Grandfather nods.  “How?”

“The sea.”  Grandfather muttered.  “It heals.  My parents brought me here when I was young.  My legs were crushed by a giant millstone.   The pain was great and there was nothing left for me except to heal or to drown.  They left me on one of those rocks out there.”

I watched the old man point to some distant gray boulder quickly being swallowed by the tide.

“Except that it isn’t a rock.”

“What is it then?”

“A giant oyster shell.  It is the dwelling of the beautiful Illonia, the plaything of the youngest sister.”

I shake my head.  “She is not in any of the stories, Grandfather.”

“Of course.”  Grandfather sighed and looked once more over the water.  “The youngest sister haunted the earth for many, many millennia on the legs that she had unwittingly stolen from her elder sisters.  She never found them.  So she returned to her prison in the sea, using the alchemist’s knife to carve coral from the rocks and fish from her own hair.  But she was lonely still.  So she ventured to the surface to find things to transform into her sisters: bits of pearl and shell.  And that was how she made Illonia, the first of her new sisters.”

“Grandfather, this doesn’t explain how you got the knife.”

“I’m getting to that.  It wasn’t long before the youngest fairy princess realized that no companion carved from shell and pearl could ever replace her own flesh, in the same way that she realized that the salt of the sea could never be as sweet as the salt of her own blood.  She carved many, many creatures—our ancestors among them—but her heart had shriveled up, dry as a mermaid’s purse.  Nothing would ever bring back her sisters.  She gave the knife to Illona and retired to the depths of the sea.”

I joined Grandfather by the window. The sea below causing the rocky beach roar as it inhales and exhales against the sand.   If I asked, grandfather would tell me that the lonely sound was merely the princess sighing down below.  So instead, I asked “Why did Illonia give you the knife?  Why didn’t she keep it?”

“It wasn’t for me.  It was for our children.  Illonia wanted a better life for them.  In her grief, the youngest princess had bound her little doll to the oyster that Illonia called home.  Illonia didn’t want her children to be a prisoner as she was.  So she begged me to leave the shell with the young ones and gave me the knife so that they would not be deprived of anything.”

I fall silent for a long time.  There is no doubt in my mind that the knife he holds is indeed the alchemist’s knife.  And the more I stare at the rock in the distance, the more it starts to look like the shell of a giant oyster.  The more I listen, the more the wind sounds like crying.  I do not disbelieve his story.  A dozen years of facts and science have melted away tonight.

But there is something missing.

“Why do you want me to know this, Grandfather?”

“I’m passing the knife on to you.”


We stand on the shore at noon.  The legs of our pants have been rolled up to our knees.  The maiden’s breath wets our feet and we wade further and further out toward the rock.

Our clothes become heavy with water and sand.  Sea foam clings to my arms like itchy soap.  A second before the waves lift us off of our feet, the oyster shell opens—pink flesh and rainbows in the summer sun.  A school of dolphins comes to meet us.  Grandfather shows me how to grab on and they take us to the lip of the shell.

There is a woman there, white at the moon.  She stands naked to the waist.  The pink flesh of the oyster has swallowed her lower regions, covering her female parts like a long, living skirt.  Golden hair falls like a veil over her breasts.

“Is this our hero?”  The woman asks.  The question is for Grandfather, but she is looking at me.  “Can he do what needs to be done?”

“He is everything I could hope: brave, honest and true.”  Grandfather is beaming at me.  “The most worthy of our decedents.”

He squeezes my shoulder and hands me the golden knife.  I take it incredulously.  All of these years we have been using the most magical relic in the land to cut sushi.  “What do I need to do?”

I don’t really need to ask the question.  The woman, Illonia, has pulled a giant golden fish tail from the folds of pink oyster flesh.   She is looking at grandfather.  Looking at his legs.  “This once belonged—”

“I know who it belongs to.”  I say, thinking of the princess who sighs below.   Grandfather takes the tail from her.  He turns to me.

“My legs—give them to the princess.  Make her sisters whole again.  And find a way to break the curse.”

“Are you—”  I don’t finish.  Grandfather has taken my fist and plunged the golden knife deep into his stomach.  I don’t hear his human spine sever, but I feel it.

“Break the curse,” he says with his last human breath.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Hey Experimenters!

Write a short story of 1,000 - 10,000 words based on the following:

They're not mutually exclusive. It's like how all blood tastes salty, but not all salt tastes like blood.

By the way - re: the word minimum thing - under 1,000 would technically be flash fiction, so... that's why. =P I think upward of 10k is a novella (if, um, anyone's having that problem. XD). Not sure on that one, but 1-10k is standard length.

Best of luck,