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.

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.”

Independence Day- Stone Soup

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“Where ya goin’?” Not that Fred needed the wall anymore. The war was over.

“You want some soup?” Neville, prone to compromise, hoisted a weathered quartz.

Fred sneered. “What’s it now? Stone soup?”

Neville nodded, making his way across the field.

When Fred joined the other villagers, he saw three strangers. Soldiers. Fred spat at their feet.

“What’s independence with nothing to eat?”

“There will be.” Despite tattered clothes, the speaker had a commanding air.

Fred sat on the ground. Neville joined him. “There’s more than stones. Sausage, potato, and carrots. A right good Independence Day. We can start again.”

See the Stone Soup entry at Wikipedia if you’re not familiar with this folk tale.

Witch Question Was That?

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The shelter director took in the kitchen situation. “Will lunch be ready on time?”

The problem was Elspath. She stood beside a metal bowel swimming with chicken livers. With a spatula, Elspath turned onions in butter for a pâtè. Next to the skillet, a saucepan boiled.

The woman at the front of the line, her wrinkled face rivaling Elspath’s for age not wisdom, always had the same question. “When will my daughter visit?” She offered up a liver.

Slimey, it roiled in broth. Elspath said, “Remember, she called.”

The woman’s face brightened. “Yes.”

Elspath said. “She’ll be here for lunch.”

Werewolves of the Prairie

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They were headed for the south pasture. Turning hairy faces to each other, they rode horses alongside the herd.

Eyes searching, one pointed a claw. “He’s over there, my boy. I can smell him. See that movement. At the edge of the trees.”

“He’s left?” A concerned look.

“Didn’t come back from the last prowl.”

 “Like so many of ‘em.”

They both looked down. They remembered staying home from school when the moon turned full. They tasted fear at the thought of werewolf hunters.

“Wolf packs, they’re more accepting.”

“Probably. But who’s going to take over when we’re gone?”

“Dunno.”