Mirror Magic

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It was only a matter of time before she broke me. That’s an occupational hazard of delivering bad news to an evil queen when you feel bound not to sugarcoat it.

I did warn her. After two unsuccessful assassination attempts, I ventured an opinion that Snow White had her own magic. Not appreciated. Evil zapped me, electric charge flowing from her fingers until the glass fought back. Magic glass does that. It exploded leaving her a bloody mess and me a disembodied spirit. Now that I’m free, I’ll find a way to dislodge the poison apple from Snow White’s throat.

Beyond the Looking Glass

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Cleaning the many mirrors in the castle was a full time job. The blind lass, hired by the queen, felt her way up and down the craggy stones of the winding staircases. Doors opened into lighter shades of gray filled with solid shadows. She found her way through every room but one. That door was always locked. The mirror inside was magical.

Dreaming, she turned a key and entered the forbidden room. Blindsight rendered the planes of the walls a darker gray. The mirror, the room’s only tangible shape, beckoned. A grayscale world of touch emerged from behind the glass.

All Romantics Meet the Same Fate

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Your mother is annoyed. She barks at the receptionist, “It’s all her fault I’m late.” Four minutes. But it was Mom who lost the address.

“If you want me, I’ll be in the car.”

Windows down in the mad heat, waiting forever for an apology that never comes. Long enough to calm down.

She gets in, ragging, “You’re too sensitive.” Like that’s a criminal offense.

Her anger never stops. It circulates, accrues interest. She banks outrage. The only solution is to withdraw.

You will say, “I’m gone.” She will cry. You will come back. You just don’t know when.

As Told by the Cheshire Cat

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Red Queen to Red Queen, “I’m finished.”

Mom calls me in tears. “She makes me move, then leaves in the middle of packing.”

Mom doesn’t know what to do. She never expected my sister to abandon her.

I say that RQ is unpredictable. That she wants convenient proximity, not emotional closeness, that it’s always been this way.

Mom’s flash bang hysterics burst into a gotcha grin. I see it through the wires. She’s pulled me into family hell.

Cheshire Catlike, I disappear to draw maps of Crazy Crisis Wonderland, hoping to find a way out. But, there is no exit.

She’s Moving Though She’s Ninety Years Old.

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The walls are thin. After my mom and I argue, I meet her neighbor in the rec room and it seems she’s heard everything. What I said about wishing my mother wouldn’t move because her memory is bad. Because it takes time to make friends. Because she’s not old furniture for my sister to rearrange when it suits her.

Mom depends on my sister. I live in another state.

The neighbor said, “My daughter bought across town. She wanted me to find a place close by, but I stayed put. People are nice here. I depend more on myself, now.”

From the Immortal Poets, Guaire the Generous

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It was a fine table Guaire set for the poets who stayed in his castle. But Seanchan, the most renowned, was displeased. “What victuals these? Better suited to cats than to learned men.” And by cats he meant the nobles filling their faces down the table. “So fat these cats, the mice run wild in the kitchen.”

When Irusan, King of the Cats, heard this insult, he came to kill Seanchan. Loading the bard on his back, he ran like the wind until they encountered St. Kieran who ran a hot poker through Irusan, saving Seanchan to reconcile with Guaire.

Retold from Ancient Legends of Ireland by Lady Wilde.

Looking for the Light

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“Why do you fear the dark?”

“It’s too quiet. It blocks my sight.” Dagny’s bright yellow hair contrasted with Lilith’s dark curls.

“Close your eyes,” she said.

He did. Reluctantly.

“What do you see?” Lilith moved a hand across his shuttered gaze.

“A flash, dark, flash.”

She dropped her hand to her lap. “Then gather the light that is left behind your lids and see my form in your mind’s eye.”

To begin, Lilith was a shadow. Her hair was the first to differentiate itself. Then her lips and her eyes, and once her face appeared, Dagny had no fear.

Inspired by Jane Yolen’s The Moon Child.

Let Down Your Hair

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A desperate hag stood on the step.

As Hezbella opened the door, children spilled outside in a game of chase. “Can I help you?” Hezbella, a generous person, really meant this.

“Take her back. Please.”

“Do I know you?” Tugging at Hezbella’s skirts, a small child made a hiding place.

“I have your first born.”

Hezbella tried hard to remember, but so much had happened. “That was ages ago. Something about arugula?”

“I can’t keep up with her.”

“Teenagers can be tough. But you have so many advantages, being a witch and all.”

“Wicked young crushes wicked old every time.”

It Could Happen Anywhere

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In the closet where pillows were stored for the pandemic, stuffing lay scattered. Fabric soiled. So many had become mouse nests.

When first furloughed, the smart-looking cushions had done humorous impressions of the Nobel prize winners whose rears they recalled. Now that their padding had thinned, their numbers were also thinning. The best rotated among the dining room chairs. Not every guest could have a back support.

“Listen here,” the plumpest whispered. “A mouse ran under the Queen’s chair .”

The others cried in unison, “Where will it end?”

The door opened. Pussy Cat walked in. “I hear you’ve got problems.”