Cinderella, At the Ball

Light seeps in around the edges of the door. Not enough to see by, but enough to know it’s daytime and I should stop sleeping now. I pick at the hole near the baseboard of the closet. Insulation pokes out and makes my hands itch, but I ignore it. I focus on making the hole…

The Path Not Followed

It was raining hard. The wipers on my car thwapped back and forth, as fast as they could go, and still I couldn’t see much of anything out there. My hands, wrinkled and liver-spotted, gripped the wheel so hard my knuckles went white. Lights from the city flashed by in a blur. Not a soul…

Spells & Poems, Part Two

Continued from Spells & Poems, Part One. My queen could not leave the palace or be seen meeting her Spider, but I could come and go, so I went in her stead. For a year and a day, I carried messages for them. My meetings with him were hardly meetings but crossings—on a bridge, in…

All Together Now

The first thing Nomi did was kill the spider. Mara was going to be pissed, but it wasn’t like she could do anything about it now. What was the deal with the spiders, anyway? Nomi was pretty sure it had less to do with magic and more to do with pretension, which after all was…

The Arsonist

Aria shifts trying to lessen the pressure on her left shoulder. It doesn’t work. With her arms stretched back and her wrists tied behind the chair, it doesn’t matter which way she tries to rearrange her body, everything hurts. Her left eye is swollen shut. Her bottom lip split. She attempts a deep breath. “Shit.”…

Spells & Poems, Part One

Before the Spider was a magician, he’d been a youthful poet with dreaming eyes. And before Queen Mayberry was the queen, she was the young poet’s lover. But when she was made to marry King Grigori against her wishes, the poet renounced his poetry and turned to magic, which blackened his eyes and tarred his…

No Such Thing as Enough

We built the settlement in the woods. Each structure ordered, set in a grid, crowded close for protection against the ugly things that skittered in the trees at night. Jacob saw the ugly things, just like the rest of us. They glistened and grimaced against the light thrown from the torches perched over each doorway…

The Dreaming

Dusty cardboard boxes loomed over me in the attic of my late grandparents’ house. With a sigh I grabbed the nearest one and opened it. I hoped for treasure and instead found moth-eaten, ancient-looking nightgowns. A growl rumbled in my throat. This was useless. How did my mom ever expect me to find anything up…

When a Stranger Takes

The rickety screen door slaps shut behind me as I enter the party house. Although I could hear the music from the street, once inside, the bass line batters into me, muffling reality. I push against the waves of sound and people, trying to look cool, collected, purposeful. Eyes glaze over me, concluding I should…

Someone had to be First

Someone had to be the first, Kass thought as she wrapped her arm around her legs, tucking her knees in under her chin. The ring danced through her fingers, winking in the thin light that fell through the stairs above her. They’d fawned over Wolf since he first arrived, listening to every word that came…