“I dunno, man…I really like this girl, but she’s into some really weird shit. And not in a good way. I mean, that too, which is awesome, but there’s other stuff that’s kind of freaking me out. Like sometimes she just goes all starey, and then she’ll just pop out with exactly what I’m thinking. Or I came in one day and she was talking to the fire in the woodstove. And, I know it sounds crazy, man, but before she knew I was there, I swear I heard something in the fire talking back! And then there’s just weird shit, like how she keeps all her toenail clippings. Seriously! I asked her about it one time, and she got this weird smile and said it was so no one could ever ‘gain power’ over her. So she keeps them all in a jar she hides under her bed,” Steve said.
And then he never spoke again. Continue reading

The Brass Heart

It was an impulse buy. Half a brass heart, sitting forlorn on a glass shelf in the thrift shop. Like the wedding gowns (and yet strangely unlike the cast off tuxedos), it whimpered of broken hearts and promises unkept. It was $5.99, an outrageous price for a cast off bit of brass jewelry, but, she told herself, a fine price for someone else’s dream.

Anna had never had a best friend, had never really wanted one until she was too old for the concept. Childhood had been a landscape of old trees and broken fence posts with bird nests inside. Of being sure she had made friends with the faeries, and then, suddenly, being not so sure, anymore. Which required gifts and impromptu rituals to reacquire their good grace, reassurances given in the shake of the leaves, the gust of the wind, the carving of a riverbank which clearly meant something. Continue reading