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.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

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

The Frog Prince – The Middle Bit

by Angela Slatter

How could it have gone so spectacularly badly?

            Felicity negotiated Tad down to a family dinner. Was it Great-aunt Bernadette of Grenouille-sur-le-Tapis had married a frog who’d turned into a handsome prince? Whatever, someone had married a frog and it all turned out happily ever after. If worst came to worst, there was always frogs legs for dinner.

            Now, Felicity lay so close to the edge of her big princessy bed that if she breathed too heavily she would fall out. That would be better than looking at what sat on the other side of her teddy bear.

            Her parents had been utterly charmed by Tad. They ooh’d and aah’d when he told his tale – turned into a frog by a witch – Felicity suspected he’d deserved it. After dinner she’d tried to show him out, but her parents wouldn’t hear of it.

            Wasn’t he a fine, brave fellow? Hadn’t he retrieved Felicity’s treasured soccer ball? Wouldn’t he turn back to a handsome prince if kissed? Perhaps Felicity could – ah, perhaps not just yet then. Felicity put down the plate she was about to throw. But Tad was definitely staying and as he was Felicity’s special friend he would share her room.

            He lay like a blob of snot on her frilly pillows. She’d have to burn them. He was snoring incredibly loudly. It rattled the frame of her four-poster bed. She moved to the couch.

            Eventually she drifted off, the snoring dulled by the earmuffs she’d found. She was having a wonderful dream about kicking a frog-shaped ball when she woke with a start.

‘How did you sleep?’

            Felicity opened her eyes. Tad was sitting on her chest.

            ‘Gnaaaargh!’ she yelled and pitched about. He landed with a splat on the floor.

            ‘Careful! I have delicate bones.’

            ‘Do that again and you’re toast, mate.’

            ‘You’re not very hospitable.’

            ‘How long do you plan on staying? This wasn’t supposed to be a sleep-over.’ Felicity pointed out.

            ‘Well, when I re-prince …’

            ‘When exactly will that be?’

            ‘The moment you kiss me. C’mon, pucker up.’ He blew a big smooch at her, made all the more gross because frogs have no lips to speak of.

            ‘Not going to happen.’

            ‘Then I’m here for the duration. I wonder what’s for brekkers.’ He hopped out of the room.

            Felicity glared. There was nothing else for it: the frog was going down.

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