Small Magics – Kelly Sandoval

Black flowers carpeted the floor that morning, cloaking the bedroom in funeral colors. Their petals, large as my hand and soft as suede, belonged to no plant I could name. The salt and midnight smell of them soured the cottage air. I would have liked to make tea before dealing with the evidence of Inae’s magics but, fearing some subtle poison contained in those leaves, I started the day with sweeping. The petals were thickest…

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In Dew and Frost and Flame – Vanessa Fogg

They were eight when he first wrote her name in dew. They’d met at recess, each wandering alone on the edges of the playground until they bumped into one another. His pockets were filled with acorns and stones; his hands held fallen twigs. He had no interest in joining the other boys with their ball games and imaginary light saber battles. Her pockets were filled with pine cones and pebbles; her hands clutched autumn leaves.…

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Mr. McAvennie’s Freedom – Dan Micklethwaite

Are you here for business or pleasure?” Do they even ask that anymore? Standing outside this door, in this dark hallway, fifteen miles from the airport, he can’t remember if they ever have, of him. Perhaps they simply see him coming, always in his fine grey suit and pale blue shirt, his briefcase swinging in one hand, his smartphone in the other; the latter switched expertly out for his passport, battered and creased with regular…

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Solomon and the Dragon’s Tongue – Molly Etta

Before he went by Solomon, the stranger’s name was Shlomo. He seemed at first unremarkable, apart from being new, and in palpable need of a wife. Yutke’s mother began to snoop as soon as she noticed that he did not wear the tallis which marks a married man. “How do you know that?” asked Yutke. “I saw, at shul.” “And what were you doing, that you could see whether he was wearing a tallis or…

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Gathering Dust – Meryl Stenhouse

There’s a bench I like to sit on, with my legs tucked up, pretending I’m just another student on break from university. People always have a smile for me—a young woman in the sun—until they see the sores and the thin wrists and then their eyes slide up and away, up and away as if they have just remembered something important. I grin at them and pick at the scratches on my arms, mindlessly or…

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La Belle Dame – Sabrina N. Balmick

The scribe met the knight on the old stone road. The castle was a couple of hours away. Three, at the speed his donkey was trotting. He’d meant to deliver his news of no news and stumble off to a bath and, if he were lucky, into a warm bed with a warm wench. Instead he found himself conversing with a knight who hunkered in a smear of blue-violet twilight. Cloaked in shadows, he looked…

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