By Megan Arkenberg
The village of Lapider-dans-la-Rivière was shrinking, just like the Gray Forest and the Twilit Lands within it. Many of the fae, I know, do not like to admit that Faerie can change; but they are the young ones who have never gone out on a midsummer’s eve to the Sunlit Land, who have never touched mortal flesh or tasted mortal blood. Everything fades in the sunlight. There is nothing that, once held by a human, can ever fail to change.
I took the road through the poppy fields, past the little white-stone church with its yard of stones, over the low hill that had hosted the midsummer market where, thirteen years before, I met Blanchet.
The market had moved farther south. I looked for her as I passed through, looked for a head of red curls and a hard, handsome face. Many girls gathered there, most young, all beautiful; from the hungry way their eyes followed my movements, I knew that at least one of them would have been willing to observe the old rites with me in the Gray Forest. But I did not want any of them. I wanted Blanchet—the love of my youth, the mother of my child, the keeper of my soul.
Finally, I stopped one of the flower girls braiding chains of clover at the card-reader’s tent.
Beyond the River
By Caroline Miller
Editor's Note: This is the cover image to Beyond the River (Schiffer Press) by Alex & Caroline Miller.
By Philip Umbrino
Her shadow had been very confident about everything since she learned how to make it talk a week ago. Her grandfather’s diary had been in a pile of old relics from their attic, and with nothing to do over the summer Arianna had read the entire thing. Tips on focusing her mind, paying attention to the world around her, the shadows that had their own little world apart from our own. She was able to tap into that world by sitting in the dark and talking, reaching out. Following her grandfather’s steps. And it had worked. Her image, a shadowy version of herself, had begun to converse. It even moved somewhat apart from herself. Though it never left her side. Like any shadow would.
When her grandfather had passed away a few weeks ago she was asked to go through the house and help her mother collect and organize the last of her grandparents’ belongings. When she came upon the pages about separating the shadow from the self and letting it do whatever you told it to do…well, she’d realized she needed that skill. Except the pages had been torn out.
A Day in the Hive
By Allen Kopp
Queen Francine, the Queen of all the Bees, came into the hive dragging her enormous egg sac, a cigarette dangling from her lips. Her harlequin glasses were askew because she had sat on them on the bed and bent them. “Where the hell is everybody?” she said with her characteristic sneer, making a whistling sound when she spoke because her dentures were loose. When she saw one of the worker bees—her own offspring—working a crossword puzzle, she bit his head off and ate it. Before she went into her office and slammed the door, she turned and said to the room at large, “And let that be a lesson to everybody!”
“My goodness, she’s in a foul mood today,” Ermine said to Lucille, the worker bee closest to him.