The Apothecary

This is the last one from the list!  And this one was hard to come up with, probably only because it was the last.  As for other things, I’m working on rewriting some short stories that are part of a series, so I still might not be posting quite so much.


He held the tiny paper package out to her, and his leather mask slithered and roiled, as if something crawled beneath it. “This is the poultice for Midwife Bera.”

Though his hands were gloved Alisandra still felt her heart flutter when his fingers touched hers.

“Are you ill?” he asked. “Your face is flushed. I can prepare you something.”

“No!” Her cheeks grew hotter as she smiled at his kindness, always his kindness. “I’m fine.”

She sighed when the door closed behind her. How stupid to fall in love with someone who would never show you their face.

Smoke Signals

The smoke drifted down into the candle’s fire, and Cassandra watched until the blaze quieted. She held a sheet of paper over it, letting the fire etch Warren’s message. She studied his graceful writing, as graceful as the smoke that had carried it.

She picked up fresh paper and a pen, and wrote her response. Her penmanship was nothing like Warren’s; she hadn’t had his schooling. She had learned magic from her mother rather than a tutor. But she could still send smoke.

She held a corner of the paper to the fire, and the smoke curled out the window.


Yes, my eyes are wide.

Yes, my teeth are long.

Yes, my scales are dull and coarse.

But my light is the brightest down here, down in the deeps. See how it bobs, weaves, and lights up the dark. Does it not entice you? Does it not make you want to look closer? To come closer? To come see me and my eyes and teeth and dull coarse scales?

I may not be as beautiful as my sisters, but I can still attract a human.

I may not be as beautiful as my sisters, but I am still a mermaid.

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The Screech Owls – Chapter II Part I

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter! I’m putting together lots of new stories to give away in it.

I’ve realized chapter two should probably start when they find the food, but we’ll go with this for now.

Novel: Fantasy Horror

They spent the rest of the night wide awake, the screech owls roaming in and out of the floor beneath them, trilling and coming close to the stairs, but not climbing them. In the morning Cole found words on the wall, right beside where the two of them had huddled together. They were etched into the stone, but old and faded, the reason they hadn’t noticed them at dusk. They weren’t in English, and yet Edward understood the words perfectly. At least the words he could read.

Don’t take……GO BACK…….

And then below that, in Chinese,

Keep going.

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The Screech Owls – Chapter I Part VIII

Novel: Fantasy Horror

More trills sounded around them that night, but none found them, close as they came. The ruined house proved a good hiding spot. When the sun rose Edward could see his bruise clearly, black and purple. He had thought up a plan in the night.

“Cole, I’m going to go on ahead and find some food. You’ll wait here and I’ll return with – ”

No,” Cole shouted hysterically, leaping up. “You can’t leave me here.”

“You’ll be safe. You just need to hide here.”

Cole shook his head, his eyes wide and wild like a frightened deer’s. “No. I can’t. I can’t stay here alone. I won’t slow you down, I swear.”

“It’s not that. I just don’t want you expending energy.”

“I won’t. I can walk. Don’t leave me, please.” His tiny fingers grasped Edward’s arm and dug into his skin.

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The Screech Owls – Chapter I Part VII

Novel: Fantasy Horror

They didn’t talk much that day. All their little energy was concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. Edward put on his armor – minus the helmet – though his shoulders weren’t quite healed. The pain of the armor cutting into them detracted from the pain in his stomach.

Twice they found ruined walls, remains of buildings, stone that in an alive world would be overgrown with vines and weeds but here were only bare stone. It was tempting to break for the day in their foundations, but they had to keep going. They had to find food. The ground several feet around the stream was gravel and rock. There was nothing moving but the water in the stream, which remained thin and shallow. They paused to drink it and Edward chanced a look at Cole. His face was pale, his eyes dark and sunken and hopeless.

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The Screech Owls – Chapter I Part VI

I’m sorry guys.  I still have to write this.

Novel: Fantasy Horror

Edward hugged him closer. He hated seeing Cole so frightened. If only he could take whatever was frightening Cole out of his head and put it in his own. It was too much for the kid, a kid who was too weak to fight what was terrifying him. Edward had the ax; he didn’t have to be scared.

“Go to sleep,” he said. “I’ll keep watch.”

Cole sat up. “No. You didn’t sleep last night. I’ll watch first.”

“You didn’t sleep much either.”

“You didn’t sleep at all. You sleep first.”

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The Screech Owls – Chapter I Part V

Novel: Fantasy Horror

Cole didn’t complain, not about the environment, not about the lack of food, not about the extreme thirst he must be experiencing. So Edward tried not to complain as well. Still, the conversation turned to food.

“I sure could go for some french fries right now,” he said.

“I want ice cream,” Cole responded.

“But it’s freezing.”

“Then…ice cream on hot apple pie.”

“Okay, I’ll go with that. Or some – ”

He cut off so abruptly that Cole jumped like a startled cat.

“You hear that?”

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The Screech Owls – Chapter I Part III

Novel: Fantasy Horror

Except the air grew warmer. Cole stopped shivering and Edward felt heat on his bare skin as if the moon were radiating warmth much as the sun had seemed to radiate cold.

“Where the fuck are we?” Edward hissed. Without the walk to distract him, his thoughts were centered on the question. He had died, that much he knew. Or had he? Was he dreaming, still in the process of dying in the bathtub? Had his mom come home early, and found him and rushed him to a hospital, and he would wake up in a hospital bed just like Cole had fallen asleep in one? For all his desire to keep Cole safe, was he just imagining him?

If this was a dream, surely he could change the scenery, or fly, or something if he knew it was a dream. But he stayed in the dark beside a crumbling wall and the air grew thick and hot and stifling. Cole took off the thick shirt and leaned against Edward, though they were both sweltering. His shoulder against Edward’s side felt warm and real.

Edward wanted to sleep, but couldn’t. He stared at the hot moon and ground his teeth, searching for an answer in it, and searching for stars.

There were no stars.

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The Screech Owls – Chapter I Part II

Novel: Fantasy Horror

“We should go,” he said aloud, and looked around yet again, though nothing had changed in the landscape. “There’s bound to be someone somewhere.”

But there was no path. The ground was dry dust all around, the trees were clustered all around, there was nothing in the distance. He looked up at the sun, but he had no idea whether it was rising or setting.

“What way do you think?” he asked Cole.

Cole didn’t even think about it. He pointed into the trees. “That way.”

“Why not.” He picked up the ridiculous hideous helmet and stepped in that direction.

“Your ax.”

Edward stopped and looked back at it. It looked like it weighed eighty pounds. “Yeah right.”

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