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: 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.

Tiny Stories: The Quest For True Love

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

Of all Oriel’s many lovers, she admired Rasmus the most. He possessed a sexual allure that shone from the depth of his emerald eyes to the soothing expressions of his voice. He was generous and honest with his affections and she loved the way her heart quickened when he caressed her face as they kissed.

But she needed to be certain his love was true, that it emanated from his heart and soul, that it was not simply a mask he wore to bed her. Never being one to hide her feelings, she expressed her concerns to him.

“Forgive me in my haste,” Rasmus said. “If I have taken possession of your precious gift before you were prepared to offer it.”

“You have not stolen anything from me that I would not willingly share,” answered Oriel. “I simply desire to explore what makes you special.”

“By all means.”

“I have your permission then?” she asked.

“Dig as deeply as your heart desires,” smiled her lover.

And so she did. Layer by layer, she examined the substance of the man who at one time she thought to be different than the rest but as she inspected the glistening skull in her hand, Oriel found Rasmus to be quite ordinary in the end.

Crestfallen, she continued her quest for true love.

Tiny Stories: Penny Century

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

If ever a person’s monicker did exactly what it said on the tin, it was Penny Century.

She was the first baby born this century in a daisy field who grew to a certain age and never looked a day older even as family and friends withered and died around her.

As her 100th birthday approached, she weaved herself a bikini made of daisies to commemorate her birth place, stood in her backyard, lantern in hand with her trusty dusty companion, Skip, and welcomed the turn of the century with open arms.

And she was damn well determined to add another 100 notches to her belt.

Tiny Stories: Call Me By My Ancient Name

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

‘Twas the wee small hours and sleep was something on which Christine could find no purchase. Restless, she felt the pull of something beyond herself, a force that drew her to the sitting room window of her stepfather’s house.

At first she feared a hallucination, or perhaps she had fallen asleep and what she witnessed was little more than a fever dream. Rubbing at her tired, bloodshot eyes, she sought to clear her vision, but the image held fast. Outside the window, standing naked as a jaybird in the front garden, Christine beheld a bizarre woman whose gold-flecked skin glistening in the moonlight.

“Call me by my name,” the woman said. Her voice was clear and sharp as if it came directly from Christine’s own mind. “And the wrongs will be righted.”

“But I do not know your name, madam,” Christine said in her softest tone as not to wake her family of light-sleepers. She was suddenly very self-conscious about the bruising on her upper arms, the only signs of abuse that were visible in her nightgown, and sought to cover them from the stranger’s fiery gaze.

“Every woman knows my name,” the woman replied.

And somehow Christine knew this to be truth, for in the back of her mind, balanced on the tip of her memory’s tongue, was a word that no man alive today knew and even if they did, would not have been able to pronounce it for it was the ancient name for the weapon capable of cracking a man’s soul in half.

“Xelintailbheniamh,” Christine whispered, and from the bedroom, her stepfather’s screams of agony pierced the frightened silence of the household.

“You are free, my sister,” Xelintailbheniamh smiled, before moving on to the next woman in need of her services.