Unexpected Attacker

He hurried home across the park, hands thrust deep into his pockets. The moon was too sickly to light his path, leaving the lake a looming void.

‘Quack.’

The sound startled him. He tripped over a root and barely caught himself.

The duck waddled to his feet and glared up at him.

‘I don’t have anything,’ he told it. He’d had no notion that ducks could be nocturnal. He turned away, only to come up short when faced with another pair of beady eyes.

‘Quack quack.’

‘Shoo. Go on.’ He waved it away with his briefcase. He liked ducks, normally. Found their brazen begging endearing.… Read more

Terror by Moonlight

Every full moon, they locked their doors and shuttered windows. They barricaded, they barred, they held their children tight.

And listened for the crystalline ringing of silver hooves.

In the morning, they would always find the unfortunates gored through the heart by a long silver spike.

Nobody looked at their daughter too closely, because everyone knew that a unicorn wasn’t born from nothing.

First, there was a maiden with murder in her heart.

This microfiction in response to the microfiction poll winner: ‘evil unicorns’. Image by M. Maggs from Pixabay.… Read more

He Reads the Birds

There is a boy who can read the birds.

He throws crumbs to the town pigeons and in the pattern of their pecking, sees illness coming to his school.

He spreads seed across the garden and watches garden birds flit in and away, and sees that his mother will get a promotion.

He watches a plume of rooks rise from the trees below and sees that though folk think he is strange now, the world will one day have need of him.

It is good that the birds taught him kindness as well.

 

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.… Read more

A Fearsome Guardian (+ illustration!)

The dragon lowered a rainbow-hued head to sniff the small, furry morsel. To her surprise, it hissed and puffed up, and swiped at her with surprising aggression.

Perhaps it was more dangerous than it looked. She withdrew, curling her tail around her pile of gold.

The small creature stared at her, yellow eyes wide and suspicious.

Later, she found it batting at a stray piece of gold. She tried to take it back, and was again met with a hiss and a swipe.

In the night, she woke to something rumbling on her back. The creature again, now asleep and curled up in complete, purring contentment.… Read more

A matched pair

Red light gleamed from the dark hollows of her eyes. Her skin grew aged and leathery as parchment. She bared cruelly pointed teeth.

‘This is what I am,’ she said. ‘This is what the hunger does to me. And I have been alone such a long time …’

He took a deep breath. ‘So have I.’ His pale shape flickered, like an image losing signal. ‘But I’m willing to try, if you are.’

‘Try,’ she said. She put her hand on his, and it didn’t pass through. ‘Yes, we could try.’

Image by Rondell Melling from Pixabay.… Read more

The Tea Reader

‘Can I get you anything?’ he asked. ‘A cup of tea?’

‘No, thank you.’

‘I insist.’

Reid found himself sipping gingerly at a cup of tea a few minutes later. He thought: I just won’t finish it. That’s all.

But the conversation was good and when he next looked down, the cup was dry and scattered with black.

He sighed dramatically.

‘Is something wrong?’

‘No,’ he said, setting aside his cup and its heart-shaped residue. ‘Are you, um, doing anything later?’

 

A microfiction for Mastodon. Image by dungthuyvunguyen from Pixabay.… Read more

Love Transcends

Some loves transcend death, and so it was Lola.

Every day, she waited in the window for her human, her tail clacking against the windowsill.

When she heard a car pull up, she would clatter down from the sill, then run for the front door with a sound like a dull xylophone.

She would greet them by twining her ribcage around their legs.

And when she settled on their lap, she would knead a little too spikily, but in a different way than she had in life.

Image by isfara from Pixabay.… Read more

Appropriate Human Behaviour

The cat turned its back to him and started grooming. After a pause, he pinched the end of its tail.

It hissed and spun, swiping at the empty air where his hand had been.

‘Ellanas!’

He looked guiltily at his mentor.

‘Tail pulling is not an appropriate human behaviour.’

He sulked and crossed his arms. ‘Tail pulling is not an appropriate human behaviour.’

‘Neither is mimicry.’

He groaned and flopped back on the ground. ‘Can I go back to being a crow now?’

 

Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay.… Read more

An unusual ranger

When her mother cut down the green jelly beast, she’d watched its remains ooze into the earth.

‘Keep back,’ her mother warned.

But later, when a small chunk of green bounced toward her through the grass, she tossed it a strip of bread and watched it absorb it hungrily.

When she built up the courage to touch it, it didn’t burn as she feared; it was cool, and purred slimily at her touch.

One day she would be infamous for her (mostly) tame Gelatinous Cube.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.… Read more

RSVP to Save the World

‘We await your response by sparrow?’ I murmured, reading the letter again. Something about destiny, the fate of many, and ‘answering the call’ …

I turned it over and looked at the wax seal, now broken; it looked like a penny had been pressed into the wax.

The letter weighed on my mind, however. When I left for work the next morning, I stopped by the gently chittering hedge on the street.

A little brown head poked through the leaves, followed by four more.

They stared at me with their button-black eyes, then launched into the air in a cheeping flock.… Read more