Microfiction: Four Fairy Tales

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, the spare for the heir was betrothed to a terrible prince in an effort to unite the families. The princess begged for it not to be, but they were married in the sweltering heat of August.

On her wedding night, she cut the prince’s throat with a cheese knife and ran into the cursed wood. There, she confronted a coterie of monsters and won their hearts.

Both kingdoms burned in the bright light of her vengeance, and the blood glowed in the streets.

Every monster deserves to pen their own ending.

The fairies sat in the shade of the mushroom, counting seeds and watching the sun rise. The world woke up with the trill of songbirds, and the neighborhood cat stalked after a field mouse, disappearing in a blur of gray in the grass.

The fairies held hands and saw that the leaves were beginning to change, green bleeding out into crimson, earthbrown, mustard. They pulled their vole capes close as the wind changed, and the harvest moon turned a pale white.

When the winter came, they parted on the backs of birds. They promised they would meet again in spring.

Even in the deep snow, the man heard the bear approach, giant paws sinking into the drifts of white. “My cave collapsed,” the bear said. “I have nowhere to go. Let me stay with you this winter.”

“I don’t have much food,” the man said, setting down the axe he used to chop firewood.

“I will not need to eat,” the ageless creature said, dark eyes swimming. “Only a safe haven.”

Against his better judgment, the man opened his door and ushered the great beast in.

There were no wishes granted for this, save warmth and company in his heart.

The Earth fell for the comet, and it watched wistfully as its beautiful tail arced through the darkness of space. “Come closer,” the Earth whispered. “Just for a time.”

The comet laughed and sped away but came back in time. It considered and said, “If I do this thing, I will hurt you. It is inevitable.”

“I do not care,” the Earth said. “Just grant me a moment with you, and it will be worth it.”

The comet’s embrace was one of fire and thunder, ¬†and the Earth smiled even in the face of destruction, its final joy a shattering.

 

Microfiction: Sight

The psychic saw everything before it happened.

They picked up an umbrella even when the sun was bright, ignoring the stares because they knew when the storm was coming.

They held the elevator open because they could tell the woman running towards it needed this one win to keep from drinking that night.

They moved the chair so the little boy didn’t trip and bash his head on the bookshelf.

And when the beautiful stranger said, “Will you come eat with me?” they knew that their heart was at risk, saw the tearful goodbyes, broken promises, and said ‘yes’ anyway.

Microfiction: Birth, Ichor,Top 40

Danny watched as the egg began to crack in his hand. He had never seen something being born before, and the fact that it was happening in the center of his palm, the shell splintering slowly, the peeping from within becoming more frantic with the discovery of life…it made his eyes fill with tears.

Nothing else mattered in the world except for this tiny messy thing looking up at him like he was God.

“Go ahead,” his mother said, once the thing had fluffed itself to yellow cotton-candy consistency. “Give it back.”

It was the first time he said “no.”

“I’ve been poisoned,” she said to her sister as they sat on the porch, watching the tendrils of black infection creep up her pale arms.

“Does it hurt?”

“Naw,” she lied, each breath burning in her lungs.

“Is there an antidote?”

“If there is, I don’t know how to get it.” Blood was beginning to seep into her vision, casting a reddish glow on the little girl holding her hand so tightly and starting to cry.

“Tell me about your pony toys,” she said, picking up a pink filly in trembling fingers.

“That one is Twinkle-Butt.”

“Good name.”

I hate this song, Thomas thought before the car shattered around him. There was no slow motion to the destruction. This wasn’t a television show. He was just driving one second, and the next, glass had cut neat lines into his forehead and his airbag appeared like a grenade-powered cloud.

Stillness. And a wet dripping, from his nose and his mouth.

Pain and broken bones, and now he couldn’t move his arm to change the channel. In murky half-consciousness the voices of people outside were knocking and pulling at his door, and he said to them, “Pop music fucking sucks.”

Microfiction: Sand

I lie back on the sand and let the tide come.

It’s been months since they left. They said they would be back. They promised. They told me that it was just going to be for a little while and then they’d text or call.

Nothing.

A wave takes my phone, and I see the screen light up one last time, a silent scream into the oblivion of foam. Little sandbugs burrow by my fingers. Another rush bears me up and carries me into the surf.

They won’t have to worry anymore. I’m home now, submerged, and I go under.

Microfiction: City

Each step on the sidewalk is a story. Something has happened that is greater than the sum of a body, the whole of feet and bones and blood. A life has been spent, made or traded on the concrete (or at least the ground beneath it).

They say not to romanticize New York too much, but that’s hard for anyone who hasn’t been exposed to the electric air from birth. Because when you arrive the first time, you’re the rabbit pulled from the hat.

I still dream of the skyline without end, the statue in the bay, every single promise.

Microfiction: Still

The butterflies sit in his hair, the field around him a sea stretching into infinity in either direction. He hasn’t moved in hours, and the only passing motion is the opening and closing of wings, the silent ripples that the breeze creates in the lush grass.

He can feel his partner’s approach even before he comes into view, a dark figure that parts the tide with his gait. When he kneels in front of him, he takes one of the fragile things on a finger, and it flees to the wind.

The meditation is over, but the break is welcome.

Microfiction: Who

The owl sees everything.

It watches when the young man brings his son into the barn on his shoulders, introduces him to each animal by name.

It regards the expression on the boy’s face when he gets old enough to come in here and hide from the other children who don’t understand why he’s so quiet.

It turns its head as the adolescent counts how many times he strokes the horse’s bare back.

Its unblinking eyes take in the vacant expression of the silent man when he comes into the stable and falls to his knees sobbing.

The owl knows.

Microfiction: Error

When someone started using Jenny’s printer at work, she put out a simple memo telling them to stop. Since it was on the network, the ID was just a string of numbers, and she didn’t want to get HR involved. They weren’t using much anyway.

When she came in the next morning, there was a single sheet paper with one line of text: I didn’t know how else to say hello.

At the end of her shift, she responded and printed: Maybe we could have lunch instead?

The following day, another page: Printers aren’t great at lunch dates, I’ve found.

Microfiction: First Date

“I’m trying to decide if I want to kill you tonight.”

“Oh yeah?” John asked, sipping his Merlot, licking his lips to keep them from staining purple. “How would you do it?”

“Maybe a blow to the head–”

“This isn’t the movies, Paula. You’d need something more than that.”

Her blue eyes froze on him, juices pooling under her rare steak. “You didn’t let me finish. That would be to disorient you. Then I’d strangle you.”

“With your hands…?”

“Your belt.”

If that wasn’t an invitation, he didn’t know what was. “I’ll get the check then,” he finally declared.

Microfiction: Sugar and Fire

Each cupcake required an hour of work to decorate. While other bakeries made slapdash, hurried attempts to get their confections presentable and on the shelves for sale, these were works of art. Gold flakes sat perfectly atop white chocolate pools, while candied cherries created the perfect centerpiece for a buttercream basin. Doilies provided the delicate stenciling for powdered sugar snowflakes atop dark chocolate peaks.

When the bakery was robbed, the safe sat untouched, and the only damage was to the locks on the glasses cases. The owners could only forgive the bandits. Wherever they were, they must have been happy.

She had gone to the store to pick out a gift for a baby shower, and when she returned home, the house was in flames. She couldn’t tear her eyes away, the smoke rolling around her flip-flopped feet, the fire casting orange light against the yoga pants she was only going to wear out that one time.

She got back into the car and took stock of her belongings: her wallet. A tube of chapstick. Her keys. A scratchpad. A pen. A soft teddy bear, which she buckled into the passenger seat.

“Okay,” she said as she started driving again.