Tiny Stories: I Love The Bones of You

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Aretha declared her undying love, her voice quivering with trepidation. Had she misread the signs, spoken too earnestly, too hastily? Had she forgotten herself and in a moment of childish infatuation, put the man of her dreams off her completely for making so bold an advance?

Luther’s smile was slow to unfurl and she could not decipher its meaning. Was he aware that she was on tenterhooks, awaiting his response? And if he was, did he delight in toying with her and her affections?

Finally, Luther responded by saying, “I love the bones of you,” and all her fears were instantly allayed.

And this was the truth, only, it wasn’t the complete truth. Luther actually loved Aretha as he claimed, the very bones of her, straight down to the marrow. Unfortunately, it was the only part he truly cared for.

As for the rest of his would-be paramour? Well, he would reduce that in a savory stew which he was positive his neighbors would enjoy immensely.

Tiny Stories: The Impossible Knot

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Everything she ever owned was now little more than ash and in the charred remains of her once luxurious home, time crept at its petty pace around Emmeline Massingham without ever quite touching her for she was stuck in a moment.

Her fingers, gnarled and crippled with arthritis, pinched and pulled at a ball of concentrated time, trying to unravel an impossible knot made from the ancient threads of musty eras and epochs long past.

She realized her efforts were most likely in vain but could not stop herself from attempting to reverse the merest moment of eternity’s clock and, with crochet hooks at the ready, reknit a reality in which her family had not perished in the fire.

Tiny Stories: The Scent of Her Lips

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

“Excuse me, Miss, you may think me forward but might I inquire about your lip rouge? I am familiar with its scent.”

“Oh, are you a cosmetic artisan, Sir?”

“Nothing so rousing, I assure you. I am a botanist by trade and I recognize the plant your maquillage is made from. It has hallucinogenic properties, does it not?”

“So I have been told. It also has additional medicinal and magical uses.”

“Magical uses, you say?”

“It is said that those who dabble in the arts are able to concoct a poison to protect fair young maidens from unwanted advances, but this is merely a rumor, mind you.”

“Duly noted. I shall leave you to continue your stroll in peace. Pardon the intrusion.”

Tiny Stories: Abigail’s Time

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

As it was written in The Book of Life, the time had finally come when Abigail Loughly was scheduled to die. A stray bullet during the bank robbery pierced her right atrium as she attempted to move a pregnant woman to safety.

A tiny instant before she hit the ground, witnesses reported that Abigail’s body appeared to go out of focus, her clothing springing away in tatters as if the fabric itself had exploded off her and she began a bizarre transformation into a new form that was still recognizably human but somehow more than human.

When she finally came back into focus seconds later, her skin seemed as if it were made of solid light, her torso and extremities had thinned and elongated, all outward traces of gender had fallen away, and its back was now crested by wings which roiled and shifted as they unfurled like white satin sheets in the wind.

“No one else need die this day,” the being formerly known as Abigail said in a voice that was more akin to music than speech.

No-Longer-Abigail flicked its sylphlike wrist and shifted the molecular structure of the bullets, remodeling them into delicate gunmetal gray butterflies when they were mere inches from their intended targets.

Then the newborn angel turned its attention to the bank robbers. Gone was the previous musical quality and now its voice was a layered thing, numbering thousands upon thousands, when it spoke in a language that was not meant for human understanding.

The weapons, rendered inoperative, slid from the robbers’ grip and clattered on the tiled floor. These once tough men who held no regard for human life fell upon their knees and sobbed uncontrollably like lost children desperate for the love of the parent who abandoned them, which was how they would remain until the authorities arrived.

Tiny Stories: Contract Renegotiations

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Esmee Fernsby took an interest in law from an early age, could stand her ground in an argument, was thorough in her research and work, and excelled in the written word, as well as spoken. So, who better to represent her contract renegotiations than herself?

She explored loopholes, sited rulings on previous cases which supported her argument, tried every single trick in her legal law repertoire, and her closing argument was concise, on point and strong.

The devil gave Esmee a slow clap for her brilliant performance before letting out a slow breath and saying, “The rules you originally agreed to are very clear and inflexible. You made a deal for and were granted beauty, health, and success in exchange for your firstborn. The fact that you never anticipated having a child and growing attached to it is not my concern.”

“Can I at least have my daughter through college? After all, what does a few years matter to the likes of one such as yourself?”

Esmee was also not one to accept defeat easily and if the Devil agreed, she would plot out a course for a profession with the longest schooling possible. This, of course, would give her a chance to rethink her strategy and work out a better defense in the future.

Tiny Stories: Annie’s Fury

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

On the day she officially became a teenager, at the precise moment of her time of birth, Annie began rocking back and forth while banging her palms rhythmically on her temples.

Her thoughts, once simple and innocent and pure were turning sideways and her mind was becoming an awkwardly misshapen thing filled with fury caused by not just the weight of her family’s judgment but that of the entire world attempting to limit her with labels and gender roles, which was forcing her toward impulsive and terrible actions.

Tiny Stories: The Night Mare

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Once there lived a little girl named Serina, who simply would not go to sleep. Amanda, her mother, tried all manner of remedies to relax the young child. After a hot bath, she fed Serina warm milk just before bedtime, read fairy stories aloud, sang lullabies and even cooed as she rocked her precious little angel in her arms. But nothing worked.

Amanda kept this from her husband at first, for although he was a kindly man, Alrick was often preoccupied with his struggles to procure food and goods for his family, but the day had finally come when she felt he must know.

Alrick was at first upset that his wife had not informed him of the matter sooner but then he became ashamed that he had not noticed his daughter’s suffering himself.

When Alrick entered his daughter’s room, he found her sitting up in bed. She was pinching the skin of her arms to help her stay awake but stopped the moment she saw her father. The bruising on her arms accompanied by the dark crescents that ruined the emerald that once shone in her eyes nearly caused him to weep.

He sat on edge of the bed and asked, “Little one, why do you continue to refuse to lay your head upon your pillow?”

Serina was hesitant to answer but her father’s manner was gentle and soothing and eventually he coaxed the answer from her.

“The Night Mare,” she said.

“Is that all?” he smiled. “Everyone has nightmares, but they’re only dreams and dreams cannot hurt you.”

“No, Poppa, not a nightmare, the Night Mare!”

“Not a nightmare but a nightmare? I do not understand.”

Serina let out an exasperated sigh. “Every time I go to sleep, I draw the attention of a burning horse, the Night Mare and she talks to me.”

Alrick furrowed his brow. “And you have had this dream more than once?”

Serina nodded.

“What does she say?”

“She says that one day she will follow me back into the waking world and then all that is real would fade just like a dream,” Serina said, her eyes glimmering with tears.

Alrick lifted his daughter’s chin so that she met his eyes and softly said, “That will not happen.”

“How can you be sure?”

“Because I will sit watch as you sleep and if your burning horse dares to show its face, I will drive it back whence it came.” Alrick said in his deepest, most fatherly, protective voice. “Now, rest your troubled mind and sleep.”

“You promise to stay all night?” Serina asked.

“I have given you my pledge, young one. I shall not move from this spot,” Alrick said before letting out an exaggerated yawn which his daughter found to be quite contagious.

Amanda came into the room as Alrick began telling Serina a tale about the devilment stars got up to when they came out each night to play and Serina found that she could not fight the descent of sleep that was pooling on her eyelids and soon her chest rose and fell with the lightness of a spring breeze.

That peace, however, was short-lived for soon Serina’s sleep became fitful and both Alrick and Amanda tried their best to calm her but they became distracted by something. A sound, far off, like the whinny of a horse but distorted in a manner that shot cold fear down both their spines.

“No! Stay Away!” Serina cried out, still firmly held in sleep’s embrace. Amanda tried to grab Serina’s shoulders, to wake her, but her hands passed through her daughter as if she was made of mist.

Their little girl was vanishing right before their very eyes. Alrick reached out for his wife but she too began to vanish as well as the walls of the tiny bedroom and the house beyond.

The last thing Alrick saw, the very last thing his eyes beheld before he evaporated into nothingness, was the approach of a skeletal horse that had been set on fire. And he realized his error.

The Night Mare was indeed real and he and everything he knew would soon become the stuff of someone’s dream…if there was anyone left to dream it.

Tiny Stories: Wrought From Shadows

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

It has been three excruciating years since our final devastating war of words and your subsequent departure. In that time my loneliness has become a physical creature wrought from the shadows of all the empty spaces in my life you used to inhabit.

Although I never speak it aloud, I have given the shade-born wretch your name and imagine your likeness on its face which is devoid of features and each night as my pillow whispers all the regrets I will never be allowed to forget, it comes to me, kissing my forehead and caressing me with long, blurry arms in bed as I tremble from sobs brought about by the absence of your presence.

Tiny Stories: Under The Twilight Moon

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Daphne put on a brave face in public because she had to be strong for her children, but not only was she a mother, she was also a widow who needed to mourn, who had to find some way to purge the bitterness she felt toward her husband’s abandonment, though she knew in her heart the fault rested on cruel fate.

So, each evening, once the twilight moon had risen to prominence and the family had been tucked in, Daphne found herself by the lake that ran behind the house, her tears mixing with the mist that rolled off the water as she clutched her umbrella to shield herself from the utter silence and aloneness that descended on her like a condemnation.

Tiny Stories: Inside Me Lives A Demon

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

I tried to warn her but she was locked into the foolish belief that she could change me, the way women did when attempting to sculpt their Prince Charming from damaged earth and manure.

This was not to say that I did not appreciate her efforts, for she was kind and sweet but also terribly unwise. She assumed I was being humble when I told her I was not worth the effort because she believed she knew me despite my forceful assurances that she most certainly did not.

Not truly.

Inside me there lived a demon. It had no name of its own so it shared mine. Someday, I hoped to live in harmony with this hellborn creature, unleashing it only when needed, but today it ruled me, governing my actions, quenching my deep-seated thirst for violence and misery.

And now it mocked me with its laughter as I sat in the entrails of an angel who sought nothing more than my redemption.