from the back of the book:
Strapped for cash, college student Natalie Barns agrees to take a job at a costume shop. Sure, Estos—her classmate who works in the shop—is a little odd, but Nat needs the money for her tuition.
Then she stumbles through the mysterious door behind the shop—and her entire universe transforms.
Discovering there’s far more to Estos than she ever imagined, Nat gets swept up in an adventure to save his homeland, an incredible world filled with decaying magic, deadly creatures, and a noble resistance of exiled warriors battling dark forces. As she struggles with her role in an epic conflict and wrestles with her growing affection for a young rebel, Soris, Nat quickly learns that nothing may go as planned…and her biggest challenge may be surviving long enough to make it home.
My review under the cut. Continue reading
Word Count: 430
When you are seven you make plans to run away to Neverland. Your bag is packed, hiding under your bed with your piggy bank and all that’s left is to wait until the family is suitably distracted for you to escape. It’s not that they’ve been bad to you, quite the contrary in fact, and it’s not that you want to escape them so much as you want to sate this strange catch in your chest every time you breath. Continue reading
Word Count: 242
You press your hand against the hole in her chest. Her breath comes in lurches and gasps – wet and sticky and brimming of the end. You press harder against the wound; praying and hoping and doing all you can- all you know to do- to try and save her.
She says something. The syllables lost to the guttural bubbling of blood that leaks at the corner of her mouth. You want to close your eyes, want to look away to remember her as she was not so long ago (safe and whole and alive and vibrant and warm beneath your hand.) She tries to speak again, you think she might have said “go” or “stop” but the words are still nonsense and besides, both of you know you can’t leave her like this.
“I can fix it,” you tell her, trying for a smile. “It’s alright, I promise, I can fix it.” But you can’t stem the blood, you are helpless here. You feel her pulse flutter beneath your palm and lie to yourself that it’s improving.
She lifts a hand, pale and shaking and presses it against the place where your heart should be. It comes away red and sticky and you know. You know it’s not her blood on her fingers and she smiles for you, with you, you both wear identical lies stretched across your faces. And this time, this time you hear her when she says, “you can’t.”
Title: Harmonized Worth
Word Count: 945
Notes: Warning for self mutilation/suicide/possible body horror
Lily closes the hatch of the attic behind her without a sound. She has learned to be quiet in all the ways she can, lest her parents wake and send her back to bed. She will not allow that to happen again. She pauses to still the tremor in her hand and gather her courage; she cannot play to satisfaction if she cannot control her own body. Continue reading
Title: Got Moxie
Word Count: 919 words
Mugsy flicked the safety of his gun on and off again and again. It’s a bad habit, he knows that, but he’s got too much nervous energy and nowhere to expend it. The back of the stolen ambulance is cramped, even gutted the way it is. It’s just him in the back, empty cabinets and drawers looking on accusingly, overhead light humming in the special way reserved for tense situations.
“You gonna shoot your own damn foot off,” warned Danny from the front. Danny refused to use a code name, said Mugsy was being dumb. “Call yourself whatever you want, you’re still Georgie from Fifth Street.” Danny didn’t understand, Mugsy was trying to get into the part, trying to fit his skin around the concept they were executing. Continue reading
Title: For Love of Sea
Word Count: 993 words
Notes: Brief mentions of domestic abuse piece inspired by the legend of the selkie
“That’s all the mail?”
Bree flinches at the question, the key in her pocket nearly pulsing with dread. He knows. “Yes,” she says. Her voice stays even and nonchalant by some miracle. He knows, he has to know, damn. “Were you expecting something?”
What did she do with the box? The invoice was shredded and shredded again and flushed, so that’s not a problem, but for a wild moment she can’t remember what she did with the damn box.
Owen shrugs, plopping into the chair at the counter with an audible noise. “Nah, just seems like there should be more to life than bills.” Bree doesn’t relax until she hears the beer can hiss open. She manages to toss a smile over her shoulder. Continue reading
Title: The Other Mirror
Word Count: 886 words
Notes: Inspired by The Snow Queen
Inside the lodge it is dark and cold. Sadie’s breath frosts in the air as she looks around; there is no fire in the hearth, no candles to provide illumination. Everything is stillness and death and a queer blue light touching the whole room. She rubs her hands together and tries not to brush against anything, already knowing the cups are frozen to the counter and the inviting couches are nothing more than blocks of ice. A harsh wind blows outside, howling unhappiness to the world. She’d already tried the door, thinking the storm would be better than this eerie nothing, but the knob had stuck fast no matter how she twisted and pulled. Continue reading