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Owning the Dragon by Frances Pauli as illustrated by Dario Bijelac

Owning the Dragon

The fires are small and out of season. Three in one week give the firefighters pause, make them shift in their heavy canvas suits and scratch their heads. No dry lightning, no kids with fireworks, and no damage except for the fences and some singed field grass. And the missing cows. I can see the […]


The Machine of the Devil

Jacob is searching for the word he lost: for the sound of it, the feel of syllables and consonants and vowels in his mouth, for the noise and tremble it made in his throat and inner ear as he spoke it long ago. The sparrow is watching him. It’s perched on the barbed wire fence, […]


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Waiting for the Flood OR The Bathers

The two women are sitting in their beach chairs in the shallow water, low waves and foam lapping at their bare calves. They are both wearing striped, old-fashioned bathing suits, complete with goggles and swimming caps; the tall, thin one is wearing black and white stripes, the other one is striped red. They look to […]


Flower Festival

How the 576th Annual Pollen Festival Blossomed My Budding Career

Anyplant who was anyplant knew that Yuuna and I were the only true contenders for the Victory Vine of Supreme Best Dressed in the 576th Annual Pollen Festival. The two of us had been sweeping up championships anterior and posterior all across Toutatis. So when the judges announced a three-way tie for the final round, […]


Close up for red rose

Once I, Rose

Life/Death #7 The woman I’m given to is finished with her boyfriend, so she throws me and the other roses into the garbage disposal. * * * Because memory lasts between life and death, I make lists as my new body grows on the stem. When I Am Human Again, I Will: Eat a twelve-course […]


Marking the Witch

Marking the Witch

Alina’s family had a history with witches. Her father had nearly married one under the sway of a poisoned kiss before her mother broke the spell. Her aunt took her baby to one to heal his clubfoot, and he returned walking but with blue-jay wings on his back. Her grandmother had been cursed by a witch […]


Flowers on a chopping block

I Don’t Want to Hurt You Either

It’s 6 a.m. A bell rings, and the flower man lets me in. I can read his mind like a song. “And how can I help you?” he asks. He looks prim and a little tired. His thoughts wander. A hard candy his grandmother gave him as a child that he spit out because he […]


Lumberjack chopping down a dryad

A Lumberjack’s Guide to Dryad Spotting

It’s spring when you arrive, or what passes for it in the Northwoods. The ground is still frozen because otherwise, you’d have to wait months for it to dry to get all the equipment in. It’s cold and your knuckles split from having to swing the axe in the dry air, but it beats Milwaukee. […]


Womens Work by Amelia Aldred Fantasy Fiction

Women’s Work

At Mama’s funeral, the ghosts crowded around the casket, like see-through pallbearers. “Go away,” I said. “She gone. She can’t talk to you no more.” Miss Ruth, our neighbor, patted my arm. She thought I was talking to the mourners. “Oh honey,” she said, “I know you feel like that now. But you gonna need […]


A Menagerie of Grief

When my daughter’s chest fell and did not rise again, when her doctor looked at the monitors and shook her head, when it was over, really over, and still she lay there, my grief pushed its scaly head out of her chest. My grief was a dragon, with scales of steel and eyes of flame. […]


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