Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Princess Tulip Ariel Jade*

by David

* One of my daughters briefly changed her name to this.

Tulip Ariel Jade, called by her subjects “Sue,” had been sent to bed without her supper. Again.

“And it’s totally not fair,” she said to herself, flopping down as hard as she could on the bed. The covers puffed up at the sides with satisfying vigor. So she did it again. And again, and again, and again, till a voice said “Stop!”

Lying across the bed, sheet rippled and ridged around her, Tulip froze. Silence settled over the room. Then she thought she heard a very soft scrape. She wriggled forward and flopped her head down to look under the bed, upside down, hair puddling on the floor and dust in her nose.

Dust bunnies. A Brat doll she’d been missing. And little people, all dressed up, dancing like in the old movies Mom liked. Dancing to no music.

The ladies wore frilly dresses that made bells around their legs, mostly in pastel colors. The men wore black suits that went well with the dresses. The people were all about 3 inches tall. They ignored her while she watched them, her face prickling as the blood pooled in her head. Finally she had had enough.

“Hey!” They kept on dancing. “I’m learning to dance,” she said. “Ballet. Ms Michiko is very nice. She’s from Houston.”

Just then Tulip fell off the bed. “That didn’t hurt,” she announced. One of the ladies beckoned to her and smiled. Tulip had been wanting to join them, so she ran under the bed. The lady was just a little taller than Tulip.

“My name is Lady Parimore,” the dancer said. “And you?” She raised one eyebrow (Tulip had once tried for a week to learn how to do that).

“Tulip Ariel Jade!” she said, with relish. No one would contradict her here.

They let her join the dance. One of the gentlemen didn’t have a partner, and he taught her the steps. He was very handsome and just her height, with black hair, green eyes, and a smile on one side of his mouth, like Uncle Rudy. He said his name was Mr. Pin. He wore a black suit, a ruffled white shirt, and a pink bowtie that matched her dress. The other men’s bowties matched their partners’ dresses too. And now there was music. She flew through dance after dance. It was wonderful.

At last the dancing was over. Mr. Pin whispered in her ear: “Come with us.”


He nodded.

“But what about my things?”

“You’ll have new things, even better ones,” said Lady Parimore.

“Will I be a princess?”

“Oh, yes,” Mr. Pin said.


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One Response to “Princess Tulip Ariel Jade*”

  1. David Martin Says:

    September 17th, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Cute story that suddenly veers into potential horror at the end.
    Yet the horror is simply our own paranoia as nothing menacing has been said. Good going!