Rip woke in a frenzy. What a nightmare he’d had. Befuddled by layers of dust on the furniture, his feet numb with sleep, he left the house. How long had it been?
A trail behind his house led to an overgrown pasture. Where were the cows he kept? And if they were gone, why hadn’t the deer replaced them? He tuned his ears to the sounds of birds and heard nothing. He found the river, now a creek. Sixty years ago, there’d been a spring that gushed from a rock. Now it was silent. Hope’s season had come and gone.
Pussy was a musical cat. Sometimes the tabby played a lute and others a bagpipe. She yowled at pubs throughout the British Isles that bear the name Cat and Fiddle. Accompanists flocked to back her up.
Nine long lives she lived and nine again but cats grow old, as do we all. She retired to a barn in Cheshire, then to an old wishing well with one last request: a concert. Johnny Green gathered a band for Pussy’s last show. His father beat him. Said, “A better mouser never was nor will be.”
Pussy had nought but praise. T’was time.
Time Waits for No One has been published by Scribes*Micro*Fiction in their 21st issue.
A drabble of a selkie mother and her human daughter’s good bye.
The shop bell tinkled behind the cat as he left the shoemaker pondering what had just happened. The shoemaker’s wife announced supper and when there was no response, she smoothed her hands along her husband’s shoulder. “You seen a ghost, pet?”
He came out of his thoughts. “A talking cat. He left these boots in payment for ones that fit. Think I’ve gone ‘round the bend, Eliza?”
“I did see him. From the window upstairs. Odd, that cat, like a man on two legs.”
“He were real. Measured ‘im meself.”
“Will you make the boots?”
“Said I would, didn’t I?”
Re: North Tower
There is a broken spinning wheel in the Queen’s sitting room in the top spire of the tower. Provenance unknown. It materialized without warning in a dim cupboard during routine monthly cleaning. Some surprise! Spider webs, dust, and other detritus hid a malfunctioning spindle. Please fix this at your earliest convenience.
I have placed your request in the queue. Be advised that all available personnel are busy with preparations for the Princess’s sixteenth birthday ball. I shall wait to schedule repair until afterwards. Thanks for your patience.
Reviewed in Lancre, August 29,2022
I received a pair of clear glass slippers as a gift from my Godmother. I worried they would shatter by the end of the first dance, but have been pleased at the sturdy construction that lasted through balls, numerous fittings around the kingdom, and an awesome honeymoon. Great for happily-ever-afters.
I would add two cautions. First, everything shows. Get a pedicure, especially if you clean the house in bare feet. Second, pregnancy can be a problem. Glass slippers have no give, so I can’t wear them now. I’ll save them for my daughter.
I’ve been goddessing since the Iron Age. Born in water, manifested on land as horse/seductress, I lured Roman soldiers to their deaths. There’s a coin to prove it.
But Rome won. They couldn’t bury me; too many loyal followers. A demotion to domestic goddess, that’s all they managed. A warrior at heart, I spent centuries in the kitchen baking and plotting, biding my time.
We struck. Me, Ceres, and Demeter took back fertility and reproduction. It’s what they fear about women. The secrets we know about life and death. The patriarchy can try, but they can’t take away our power.
“You’ve got it wrong.” The farmer’s face turned the color of a ripe Gravenstein. “It was magic, not pesticides, poisoned that girl.”
“Now Mr. Darkfruit, our informants have presented credible evidence from underground surveys. There’s run off into their mines.”
“You know, the Queen is my best customer. She wouldn’t like it if you shut me down.”
“I have a warrant to inspect.” The investigator lifted his case full of testing equipment and walked through the open gate into the orchard.
“Nothing will come of this,” said the farmer.
“But it’s my job to enforce the regulations until instructed otherwise.”
While suitors climbed the glass mountain where the golden apples grew, the princess searched Google for profiles. Golden Boy, who climbed in heavy gold armor, was revealed as a serial philanderer and bigamist on the site, “Knights to Avoid”. She sent her eagle out. His talons were like a can opener.
Next came the warlord. That’s how she thought of him because he was interested in annexing her kingdom. The eagle tore him into pieces and left each limb in a different conquered territory. The torso it ate.
The farmer’s son was a different story. A happily ever after story.
King Thrushbeard disguised himself as a poor minstrel and married a mean princess. He hoped she’d learn kindness.
Mildred, the castle’s matriarch mouse disapproved. “This girl’s been spoiled, spoiled, spoiled.”
“Not so. She fed my grandbabies from her plate,” said the attic mouse.
It took time, but living a simple life with a person who loved her inspired humility. She recognized how much we need others and wanted to help, not hurt. She found joy in small acts of caring.
When the minstrel revealed that he was the King and she his Queen, the princess was worthy of the honor.