Brad was an explorer born six centuries too late. He’d known this from childhood, staging naval battles in the bathtub. Trading pinecones and beads with his action figures. But at forty-six there were no new worlds to conquer, save the mysterious space where paper jammed in the office copier. So Brad set out in his dingy boat, looking for a land to call his own. Continue reading →
Sylvia had all the next day to talk herself out of the party. As sun set, she sucked on menthols and paced the balcony shared with the other smokers on her side of the building. It had a view of a brick wall. Inspiring.
That earthy, peaty smell like so many earthworms’ private fantasies richened the air that morning. The world was keeping secrets, and Jørgen was set on discovery. He sharpened his tools, mended his bag, and looked up the hill. The sun was high by now. He groaned.
“Sorry.” Her fingers grazed my back. I’d forgotten that feeling, like kittens climbing your spine and curling in your throat. Warm and matted and mewling. Disgusting, if you think about it. Who thinks about it at the time? Kittens in your throat. That’s gross.Continue reading →
Francis squinted until it looked like his toes were walking across the mud brown river, instead of swinging midair from the academy windowsill. That way his kicks could carve waves, bashing the cherry-red ferry tours against each other like toys in the bathtub.
The dorm attendant dawdled past his open door. “They just rang. I’m sorry, Francis.”
I’d fallen into a rhythmic stride en route to the dormitories, where my path led between a ridge of lamplit trees and pond reeds dusted with snow tops. That powder sifted over my route between the parking lot and campus proper would melt before morning, but it was here now, and so was I. Everyone else would be asleep at this hour, tucked away from frosted windows and clanging radiators. But here, falling into the silent rhythm of heel-toe, I left a single set of footprints behind me. Continue reading →
[PS, this has been my first Daily Prompt ever, Flee!]
County Sheepshire lies between the wooded hollows in the Valley Without Name. Imagine a sleepy part of the country, spread with idyllic farms and jovial townspeople who’ll gladly take a traveler in, in exchange for a hard day’s work. Who raise barns overnight and drink warm cider, and whose most pressing concern is whether the weather will hold for the season. There, can you imagine it? Yes, just like that. A bucolic paradise. Well County Sheepshire is nothing like that. County Sheepshire is a fucking terror. Continue reading →
“Do you two know each other?” Isabel’s little coins jingled on her skirt.
Sylvia was convinced this must be a setup. She had stumbled through this new city for months without recognizing a single face, seeing a single individual more than once. But here he was, the Man on the Bridge. Noah, rather. Now he had a name. Continue reading →
Those deepest things you might never tell to your best friend somehow always come out to the Thoughtful Stranger, poised entirely out of your own context. First impressions make first derisions, but not with the Thoughtful Stranger. Sylvia found herself telling the woman with the perfect eyeliner much more than she intended: the truth. Continue reading →