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The Narwhal – Part IX

“She’s supposed to be here!” the Shopkeeper sounded distressed, something Maxine hadn’t seen before. His agitation bothered her but more in an annoyed kind of way rather than making her worried. We came all the way up this gigantic mountain for nothing?! she thought.

The Narwhal – Part VIII

Yunil the Riant was dreaming. Each unconscious thought the ripple from a pebble landing in a deep, dark edgeless pool. One ripple ran into the next before they each faded off into oblivion. She felt serene, languid. 

The Narwhal – Part VII

By the time morning came, Maxine found herself yet again traveling across strange lands but at least she felt more comfortable with her company. Kevin, the young man from Michigan, had brought her a savory herbed vegetable hand pie and a revitalizing drink made from the nectar from a flower of which she couldn’t remember the name. Captain Gray Wing also seemed to be a little more friendly than she had first expected as he started to tell her more about the sword she carried.

The Narwhal – Part VI

Maxine had been to many meetings in her life–staff meetings, Zoom meetings, impromptu meetings, annual review meetings–but this was her first time attending a meeting in the Hall of Kablooey. Well, at least Maxine thought it was the Hall of Kablooey but it was actually the Hall of Kabluii. How was she supposed to know how it was spelled?

The Narwhal: Part V

There was no sunset that evening and the gray sky just gradually became black. There was no moon and all the stars were hiding behind their blanket of cloud cover. Maxine had been hoping for at least a glimpse of the moon so she could see a resemblance between this world and hers but it seemed that her fate was dragging her along on blind faith alone.

The Narwahl: Part IV

“Well, Maxine Waters, I can’t say I’m impressed but it looks like luck was on your side.”

Maxine blinked to find the dreadlocked man standing above her. What had Falcon called him? Captain Gray Wind? No, Gray Wing.

He held out a hand and, after a few seconds of hesitation, she took it and he hauled her to her feet. She immediately felt the need to sit down again.

The Narwhal: Part III

“Did you hear me? We’re under attack!” the dreadlocked man stared at Maxine with an intensity that made her want to move out of his view.

“Um, sword?” Maxine flexed her right hand fingers unconsciously.

Before he could answer her, another BANG made the ship tremble and Maxine fell back against the wall of the cabin. The dreadlocked man cursed loudly and yelled to someone as he ran from the door, “Falcon, bring her a sword–a weapon of any kind, really–and tell the crew to hold positions. We aren’t letting this behemoth of a beast bring us down now when we are so close to Minka’s Port.”

The Narwhal: Part II

Maxine was dreaming but she was only tangentially aware of it. The rain was still pounding and the wind was blowing but she wasn’t sure if she was in the middle of a storm or observing it from somewhere else. She drifted back and forth between one location and the next, simultaneously aware of being wet and cold and warm and dry. Her confused brain tried to make sense of up and down, light and dark. If she was able to form cohesive thoughts, she would say she was in one hell of a quagmire.

The Narwhal: Part I

When Maxine left her house twenty minutes ago, the air was merely wet. A light drizzle left a soft mist on her zip-up hoodie. As she neared the corner market, though, the promise of a dry sky was quickly thwarted by a billow of cold wind and a swift downfall of heavy rain. 

Mom Guilt

The following story is 100% true. While I have truly enjoyed pushing my creative brain to write these flash fiction stories this month–and I have had great opportunity to use them to develop some background for my novel–this month has been a challenge to say the least. I needed the opportunity to get away for some “me-time” but in most cases, I forced that opportunity into my afternoon at the expense of spending quality time with my two little kids. A constant struggle for the stay-at-home mom!

Meeting the Mountain Guardian

The woonchaj waited in a cave deep inside the big, gray mountain. It closed its eyes and felt for a signal—just like it had every day for the last 500 years. As much as part of the mountain as the animals and plants that lived there, it had been in this world for longer than it could remember.

A slight tremble of earth, soft steps of a hare, a whooshing wind through the pines. The forest was telling the same story it had every day. Deep, deep, deep into the core of the mountain, where even the woonchaj itself didn’t understand the strange connections between this world and another, a man screamed. The woonchaj sent a tendril of comfort to the man and the screams quieted.

The Red Azaleas

The little girl loved to play in the woods but every time she went out, she had trouble finding her way back. Because of this, she never strayed far from home. The Spirit of the Woods loved to hear the girl’s sweet voice, singing her little songs she made about the birds and rocks and trees. When the girl stopped coming into the woods, it missed hearing her voice, so one day, when the girl was playing near the edge of the forest, the spirit came to find her. It said, “sweet girl, why don’t you play in the trees anymore?”

The House Cat and the Mountain Lion

I think I’m lost, the cat said to herself. She had hunted in the woods outside the village many times but had never traveled so deep into the foothills. A tame house cat, she never assumed she could compete with her wild cousins.  

Lost in the Super Market

My feet swing back and forth under the shopping cart handle and I start counting each swing, “1, 2, 3, 4, 6, uh, 4, 8…”

“You forgot 5, bud,” my mom says. Her voice is muffled through the mask.

Calming the Storm

A plate flew past Sira’s head, catching a stray wisp of hair before landing with a satisfying crash against the wall of the great hall. To her right, a teenage boy heaved a wooden chair up and then slammed it into the stone floor, breaking three of its legs. Anger swelled—no, boiled—within Sira, overpowering any shred of sanity left in her mind and emerging as pure irrational hate.

Family Heirlooms

Sira watched a gray mockingbird bob its tail up and down on the wooden fence and wondered about how the birds could tell each other apart. Was it smell? A slight differentiation in their black and white tail feathers? Maybe the way they sounded? As she studied the bird, Rhetta, their black mare, snorted and the bird flew away, its quick wings a blur as it pushed itself up across a gentle breeze.

Finding Spring in San Diego

I stare out the window of the car, watching the red trolley whoosh by, its horn blaring a dull warning.

“Is it winter?”

In front, my mom doesn’t answer. She’s pushing the buttons that make the sound come out of the speakers. I hear lots of noise, some fun music, and boring NPR. My parents always listen to NPR. They were so impressed when I learned how to tell Google to “Play NPR,” but now they just tell me, “Ok, that’s good, Ben, you don’t need to turn it on right now.”

Not the Best Timing

Jenny Jemima had never been in love until she met Steve. They had fallen in love one New England summer over their shared passion: antiquing. Steve was a history buff and loved finding rare items that had, supposedly, been owned by well-known people in the past. A chamber pot once owned by Benjamin Franklin was one of his prized possessions. 

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