Thursday, May 22, 2008


He saw the patterns within the incense, and let it flow up. He would make wishes before the smoke, and even though they were mostly small tasks, they would be done. Like finding a lost pen; the smoke would weave its way to it and he would follow.

One day, after a hard day's work where he was scolded by his clients, he just wanted to rest at home. But his neighbours upstairs were arguing again. He was so angry he lit a joss stick and wished that they were dead. The smoke traveled up the ceiling, and soon after, everything went quiet. Hours later, an ambulance came, and he found out that his neighbours were dead. They had been asphyxiated. Their faces were bright red when they died, and the others in the apartment said they had died arguing, as they had lived.

The man was aghast, and surprised. That was the power of the smoke. Soon he wished it upon his stingy boss, or a difficult client. One day, he wanted to turn it upon his wife, but before he could reach the altar, he found the smoke weaving towards him. He saw his wife bent before it, praying, and with a sad smile. The man rushed over but it was too late, as the smoke made its way into him.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The dog by the garden

In every culture, there's a story of a girl who wants to cross into a beautiful garden. But between her and the garden is a vicious dog tied to a rusting chain that's just about to break. The girl takes a step closer on the broken, overgrown weed path towards the garden, but the dog sees her and jumps hard towards her. The chain is straining like a wire pulled taut, though you can't hear it over the barking of the dog. The girl takes a step back. In some cultures, the girl returns with meat for the dog; in others the girl forgets the path altogether. In one, the girl returns with a gun and shoots the dog three times. In those stories where the girl makes it to the garden, she smells the flowers and lies upon the warm, fertile soil. The blood of the dog nourishes the garden, and the flowers will once again attract little girls into braving the horrors of the barking, angry, red-eyed dogs.


It knew they were coming. She flitted above the trees and saw the smoke from their torches. There were few places left to hide. Talinn, the woodsman she had enraptured, was sleeping. He was utterly devoted to her, and each evening she would sing a song to once again charm him. She would let him tell him stories, and he spoke lovingly of his son and family. He despised his wife and promised her he would return to the village and get rid of her, kicking her back to her relatives. She smiled inwardly. Sometimes she wondered what it would be like to shed the feathers and wings and take up the clothes these humans wore. What would she do then? Till the land, make bread, and wile away the days held by love?

But she looked upon her wrinkled and withering body and dispelled such thoughts away. Her breasts were sagging and her feathers dull. She was gasping after an hour's flight. A hunt would drain her utterly, and even her voice was getting croaky. It was Talinn's forestry skills that were keeping them fed.

She flew down from the trees. She saw Talinn's worshipful eyes and felt remorse. She could ask him to close his eyes and she would tear into his chest and devour his liver, but she felt an affection for the human. She could hear the others getting closer. They would soon approach the hideout.

"Go back to them," she told Talinn.
"No. I will protect you."
"That is not what I want."

An arrow shot out from the trees. She had failed to notice one amongst their number who had gone ahead of the others.

"Talinn! What are you doing with her?" The intruder shouted.
"Gahan. Go back!" Talinn raised his bow.
"You are enraptured. Do you not see what she is?"
The harpy spread her wings. Gahan threw his spear. It pierced into her side.

The enchantment was broken. Talinn now saw her for what she was. She had only wanted to fly away. Her blood smelled like decayed meat. The pain she felt in her body made her curl up.

"Go... kill me now..." she whispered. The effort of speaking was like having a dagger turned in the body. Her eyes watched Talinn's face. Gahan took out his dagger and handed it to the woodsman.
"Your family has missed you Talinn. Slay her. Be released from her charms."
The woodsman raised the dagger and the harpy could only watch the blade glitter in the evening sky. Her blood continued to drain into the soil.

Later, as Talinn walked back, he could not turn to look at the corpse, only smell its burning. From his eyes flowed tears that seemed to come from deep places within him. When his rescuers were not watching him, he disappeared into the forest again, never to be found.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The magician's rabbits

When the magician retired, he gave his two rabbits to Claire. The two of them looked exactly alike. Claire tried to bug him about how he did his trick, but the Magician didn't want to tell her.

"Telling you would destroy the mystery," he said. He left town and she didn't hear from him again, supposedly retiring in Belize.

Claire kept the rabbits in her room. She let them out during the day where they hopped around eagerly. She fed them well and bought them a larger cage.

The first night after she kept them, she found both of them outside the cage. She checked the cage and saw that it was still locked. She wondered how they got out. She put them in again and left for school, making sure there was enough food and water.

When she came back home they were outside again. She asked her mom if she had let them out, but she said she hadn't had time to clean the room and Claire shouldn't be keeping rabbits. Who knows what diseases they would have?

Claire let the rabbits run around for a bit before putting them back into the cage. She wondered about the tricks the magician had done. How they had been in a box and then disappeared. Was it just a trick? Did they know more? She stared into their black button eyes and asked them. But they just wrinkled their noses in reply.

She pretended to sleep that night but was keeping an eye out on the cage. But at three am her eyes closed just for a moment and the rabbits were outside again. She jumped out of bed. There was something strange happening here. Could they actually be teleporting and going through strange universes like the Magician claimed?

She imagined them leaping in free space, creating portals that they hopped through. Maybe if they wanted to, they could hop to Alexandria's library, or lost cities, or even worlds beyond Earth.

Eventually Claire let them be, and the rabbits would just sneak out of the cage. She never even bothered locking the door. Surprisingly, this seemed to dissuade them from escaping, and they did not escape the next night, or the next. They were essentially normal rabbits now, though they would occasionally find their way to the top of her table whenever she had leftover lettuce or raisins.