by Kris Miller

Jo’Naylor via Creative Commons

A bit of offal slid off the knife and landed on the hem of her coat, the blackish red of the organ meat just slightly darker than the bright crimson of the fabric. She swore loudly and looked around for something to wipe up the mess. But everything in the bedroom was covered in blood. Even the ceiling was dripping with arterial spray, falling like apocalyptic rain.

“This is all your fault!” she shouted at the bifurcated creature at her feet.

Dispatching the beast was neatly done with one clean cut of the blade below the jaw, the sharp edge sliding down to the spine so it didn’t have a moment to feel shock or pain before collapsing dead on the floor. But trying to carve out its gullet was more difficult. It was half an hour of slicing and sawing only to find the remains of her grandmother were already digested. Yet through it all, she had kept her coat clean.

Until now. She watched with despair as the blood soaked into the threads, spreading and blooming into a dark red stain.

“Do you have any idea how hard it is to get blood out of satin?” she asked angrily. The wolf did not respond.

Kris Miller lives in the rural Midwest with her fiancee, their cats, and a very excitable Shih Tzu. She spends her days as a legal aid attorney and her evenings as a short fiction writer.

by Laura Roberts

Dancing around the maypole, the elusive rantipole and his egregiously under-dressed trollop were eventually detained by police for public nudity and petty larceny. Shackled and shaking, Peter piped up with plaintive mews, reflecting hues of his twin brother’s trial for crying wolf, and persisting in his delusions of sanity—despite the fact that his hygiene (or lack thereof) suggested otherwise.

Devin at the fair 4
Crysco Photography via Creative Commons

The arresting officer demanded, “Well, young lady, have you anything to say for yourself?”
Peter’s petite accomplice merely sniffed, threw back her shoulders and ignored the porcine grin as the querulous copper manhandled her into the back of the cruiser.

“I’ll have your badge for breakfast!” Peter shouted, as a crowd gathered ’round the car.

“Along with the porridge you swiped from those poor, innocent bears, I’ll wager!” a nearby curmudgeon threw into the mix.

“Lies! Hearsay!” Peter pouted. “Peep, pipe up any time!”

The lovely lady simply smiled and adjusted her lipstick, wanting to make a good impression with her mug shot—sure to grace the morning papers.

The pickled peppers supposedly swiped were never located, thanks to Bo Peep’s strict Kegel regimen.

Laura RobertsLaura Roberts can leg-press an average-sized sumo wrestler, has nearly been drowned off the coast of Hawaii, and tells lies for a living. She is the founding editor of Black Heart Magazine, the San Diego Chapter Leader for the Nonfiction Authors Association, and publishes whatever strikes her fancy at Buttontapper Press. She currently lives in an Apocalypse-proof bunker in sunny SoCal with her artist husband and their literary kitties, and can be found on Twitter @originaloflaura.

Dragon and moon
Luis Alejandro Bernal via Creative Commons

Twice upon a time there lived a beautiful princess. As a baby she was stolen from her parents by a greedy dragon who hoarded treasures. The king and queen loved the princess so much, the dragon felt the young child must be the most precious treasure in all the land. So he locked her away in his cavern and she grew up playing in piles of gold, but lonely.

A brave knight set out to rescue the princess. He fought the dragon and though he was courageous, he could not withstand the might of the beast. He was near defeat and he called upon the pixie witch Kismeena to rescue him. Kismeena warned the knight that the price for her services would be steep. The knight did not heed the warning, so Kismeena granted him the strength to defeat the dragon.

The knight and the princess fell madly in love. But as they were married and began their life together, the princess didn’t age. The prince withered and their children grew old.

The princess stayed young. The princess stayed beautiful.

She outlived them all.

And once again she was lonely, without even the dragon to keep her company.

souho via Creative Commons

Anny’s teardrops hold a single sun each, reflecting the steel sky and the ice-crusted landscape. The cheek the salty drops traverse before falling in slow motion are cherub smooth and dark, soft the way nothing in the world save young skin can be. On the way down, one drop in particular wobbles in and out of perfect spherical roundness, taking on the details of a blue calico dress, a brown and pink parka, a pair of white tights dirty only at the knees, puffy boots.

The splash of liquid on frosted concrete curb is, to a particularly attuned ear, audible in a light blip. Touching on the thin wafer of snow, the warm tear burns through to the drab half-foot wall beneath as if it were molten. It can’t darken the already damp surface of the curb, so instead it shimmers there, a sparkle reminiscent of the evening star.

A crystal city erupts from the pit formed by the falling saltwater meteor, spires of ice and glass, slick roadways of frozen sorrow winding up and around each minute, elaborate library or factory or tenement. A glisten of cold starlight glares across the tiny landscape and from this golden glow emerges a silken horse with wings of silver fire, soaring upward. The boy on the bare back of the beast clings to a smoky mane, his tightly curled hair ruffling in the frigid air, a loose tunic snapping behind him. He flies the horse in a looping arc upward, spiraling to the highest peak of the city, glimmering hooves moving in long leaping strides as though sprinting on an invisible path. The horse strains as it rises, diamond flecks of foam sparkling against translucent hide.

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