The Boy Who Was a Fish

Title: The Boy Who Was a Fish

Word Count: 750

Rating: G

 

Once upon a time – and yes that’s how this story starts. That’s how it must start for all good stories begin with those four words and this is a good story, even if it is just the beginning of it; there was a boy who was born a fish.

This is not so uncommon. His parents were fishes, and his grandparents, and as far back as his family could remember since coming to this land they had all been fishes. What they were before here is a tale for another day but today listen of the boy who was a fish.

He looked enough like his family and swam well enough like his family that for many years the sadness in his heart laid buried, unseen. For though he swam, his strokes were not quite as steady as the other fishes and he never dove as deeply into the rivers as the others. This was a small thing, in the beginning. But as the boy who was a fish (was, do you see where our story goes) grew up he became discomforted in his own skin.

These were not the waters he wished to swim; and though he loved his family out of duty, theirs were not the voices he wished to hear.

The boy who was a fish had a secret, one he did not quite know yet. He wished more than anything to fly.

The wish grew, as wishes tend to do when left unchecked,, until it was the only thing he could think of: wind and sky and sun and he wanted it so badly he thought he might die.

So the boy who was a fish did the only thing he could think to do: he began to try.

His family scoffed at him. “what use is flying when you can swim?”

“If I can fly I am bound by nothing but my own strength. Here we are trapped by the edges of the river, we can only go so far.”

His family did not listen.

“We are fish but we are also people. what use is flying when you can just as easily walk across the land?”

“Land is well enough for some and perhaps I could be happy there if I tried, but my heart calls to the sky.”

“You’ll never make it.” His family waved his wishes away. “You’ll be back. You’ll see, this is impossible.”

The boy who was a fish but wanted to be more saw he would get no support here. Although he did not turn to a sea witch for help, she would have told hi to do exactly as he did: climb out of his river every day until he traded fins for legs. Walk up the highest hill he could find until he thought he would collapse, and then run back down, jumping before hitting water’s edge and trading legs for fins again.

Every day the boy who was a fish did these things. Some days he made it farther than others. Some days left him, broken and weak on the side of hills until friends came to retrieve him (a girl who was a tree but thought she was a fish and some days was both and some days was neither but this is not her story, although she plays a part.) Every day he pulled himself from his river and did these things. Again and again and again.

The sea witch he did not bargain with would have said good, Now put that practice into use and fly. And the first day he jumped, shifting forms from boy to something else and felt the wind buoy him from beneath his wings he gave a cry of triumph and heartache, so intertwined were the two feelings that it would be many years before he untangled them.

The boy who was a fish had done what he had been told was impossible: he had flown. And although he was still a boy an dstill a fish, his fins were tailored differently now and feathered and more wing than fin, if you knew how to look.

“Those won’t take you far.” said the boy/fish/bird’s family.

“Maybe not.” He smiled. “But they’re mine and I’ll find out exactly how far I can go with them.”

He did not turn his back on the river, not completely because there was still love there. Obligatory family love and freely given love to those he called friends. But he walks away with head held high, spread his fins/arms/wings and flew towards the sun.

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Got Moxie

 

Title: Got Moxie 

Word Count: 919 words

Rating: PG

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

For Love of Sea

Title: For Love of Sea 

Word Count: 993 words

Rating: PG-13

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

The Other Mirror

Title: The Other Mirror 

Word Count: 886 words

Rating: PG

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

Knock Twice

Title: Knock Twice

Word Count: 830 words

Rating: G

The very first place she tries is the mirror covering the often forgotten medicine cabinet.

Well, that’s a bit of a lie. The very first place she tries is the back of the armoire, having heard Very Good Things about doorways and worlds and backs of wardrobes. She had crawled through layers of disuse, brushed against coats of furs and leathers and soft cardigans that made her stop to run a sleeve against her cheek. Continue reading

How Pretty

Title: How Pretty 

Word Count: 760 words

Rating: PG

 

She is made of silk, tulle, and gossamer. Her eyes are two jeweled buttons, her mouth one long up sweep stitch in a color the Creator calls Rosebud. She is a happy little doll who sits patiently as the Creator applies the finishing touches – lace ribbons for her hair, knitted shoes for her feet, and finally a heart.

how pretty, how pretty
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Hush Now

Title: Hush Now 

Word Count: 367 words

Rating: PG-13

Notes: Trigger warning, this piece contains allusions to sexual assault.

He says hush, he says you’re beautiful, don’t cry. He pets her hair, her cheek, rests his hand against her collarbone, fingers caressing the pulse beatbeatbeating in her neck. As if this will make her okay again, as if she wants his touch.
Continue reading