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.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.


by Jen Larsen

So I found this sword out back behind that abandoned building on Third Street where I shouldn’t have been playing, my mother says. I’m always going where I shouldn’t go, and it’s my own fault, she says. I told you someday you’d get yourself in a bunch of trouble, she says, and there you are.

But it was right there, lodged in concrete all the way up to the hilt. And you know, I know what that means. I didn’t want it. But it shook when I touched it, and then it came loose when I pulled. Just a tiny tug and there was this sword in my hand, and it wasn’t even shiny. I had to drag it home behind me. I left a groove in the sidewalk, all the way up to our front door. I split the stairs in two.

My mother came out and she said, “Where did you get that? You put that back where you found it!” I lifted the sword, and her words fell right down between us on the old braided rug. My brothers said, “No fair! Give it!” and they tried to take it from me, but I couldn’t let go. It was my sword, even though I didn’t want it. It’s my sword, and I can’t give it back.

I left it at the bus stop, but it was on my bed when I got home. I tried to put it back in the rock, but the building is gone. I tried to give it to a homeless guy, but he told me he didn’t believe in violence and did I have any change? Ravens follow me. They hang like black moss from the tops of street lights and the chimneys of the apartment building across the street.

An old man came out at me from behind a mailbox yesterday. He had a beard down to his belt and wild eyes. I didn’t mean to—he came at me so fast, and the sword is easier to lift the more I lift it, and I forgot to get milk. I just ran all the way home. I hid the sword under my bed. I did my homework. I wish I knew what he wanted. The sword isn’t even shiny. My brothers say, “You think you’re so fancy, Eileen, with your destiny,” but I’d like to see them try it.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.