The New Daughter

When the boy inevitably grew up, married and moved away with his own growing family, the toymaker decided to make a girl.  He did it this time in secret, afraid of what his neighbors would think, fearing the potential unjust accusation of prurience when all he wanted was someone he could talk to, whose conversation would eradicate the heaviness of his solitude. Continue reading

Retokado

She hoped the crisp warmth of the morning would persevere until early afternoon, aware that only on warm days do Manang Yna’s therapeutic massages work best. Mai needed a particularly potent dose for tonight: Jun, her husband, was coming home early. She made sure of it during breakfast when she seasoned his fried eggs with salt and a pinch of finely ground mermaid bones. Continue reading

Divine Light

Most favored and thus fortunate of wenches,” says the god, “yonder varlet hath yet again demonstrated most appalling familiarity toward mine august person.”

It’s ‘valet’, not ‘varlet’, Great and Glorious One.” Lee completes her exterior vehicle check, eyes flicking across the underground parking lot, as she re-folds the extensible mirror she used to scan the undercarriage. Of course, since she waited a reasonable several minutes a respectable several meters away before even approaching, any little surprises would more than likely have triggered already—and poor Carlos would have been a victim of, probably, automotive immolation rather than godly wrath. Still, it’s always better to be sure. “Can we please get in the car?” Continue reading

The Nameless Ones (Part 2)

Aubrey shoots up, her body ramrod straight as she sheds her discomfort. He gets up more slowly, training the scanner at the center of the tunnel. The shadows shift like storm clouds breaking and then re-forming. Above them, the sky releases a fresh batch of rain. They steadily inch forward, away from their makeshift lean-to, the rain obscuring their vision as they moved away from the shelter and out in the open. Troy walks in front, one hand holding the scanner steady, the other hand tucked at his hip, fingers tracing the familiar holster of his gun. Behind him, slightly to one side, Aubrey already has her palms open, fingers spread out, eyes blinking back the rain.

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