Friday, August 6, 2010

Fiction Friday

Some great short fiction found online (not necessarily new, though it was new to me!). The first story cracked me up and made me snicker on the subway; the second story was a poignant twist that stuck with me; and the third is by one of my newest favorite authors, featuring her trademark ability to make me fall in love in under 100 words.

From A Twist of Noir, 'Things To Do In Deptford When You're Dead' by Paul D. Brazill.

The trouble with me is that I never realise how deep in the shit I am until I’m choking on the stuff.

Take last summer, for example. It started, as usual, in a pub and ended up, as always, in a graveyard. But that wasn’t the problem.

You see, I’m a professional killer. A hit man. Twenty years in the business, man and boy. Booze and bullets and bodies are all par for the course in my game. But it was a bird that landed me in it. And not just any bird, mind you. It was the boss’s bird.

From Cabinet Des Fées, 'In Defense of a Queen' by Donna Quattrone.

Fire makes its own kind of music.

My toes start to tingle as the strains of a nearby waltz mix with the crackle of the flames. Warmth. Music. Joy. I’ve known them all. Indeed, I’ve known many pleasures, though I’ve never felt the quickening of conception. I’ve seen sweet loving under soft, thick quilts drain the tension from the face of the most important man in the kingdom and I’ve witnessed the burden that returns there each dawn. I’ve seen these things because I am queen to that king. When I married my husband, I also adopted his daughter, Snow, and I vowed to love her as if she were my own. What I will be remembered for is the gifts that I gave this child. A woman’s simple things, they were: a carved bone comb and some ribbons. The gifts were meant to be reminders, tokens of the feminine that I’d feared she forgotten. The apple… well, that was something else entirely; an indulgence of an old woman’s nostalgia and nostalgia, as they say, is lost on the young. But that, my friend, comes at the end of the story, not the beginning.

From Merry Sisters of Fate, 'Under Wraps' by Maggie Stiefvater.

HER: I am in love with the man who makes carousel horses.

He has a workshop on the way out of town, the side that leads toward farmland and then fields and then pretty much nothing for two hundred miles. The carousel workshop used to be an old pig barn, my daddy told me once, but somewhere along the way someone gutted it. Knocked down all the interior partitions and scraped out all the straw and dirt and crap down to bare earth and then laid big, wide pieces of hardwood in the place of the pig muck. Daddy said it was damn near insane to gut an old red barn like that when you could just build something new. Said it was a lot of work, whoever did it.

I think the man who makes the carousel horses did it. I’ve seen him, standing thoughtfully in line at the Super Fresh, quiet like he’s always quiet, and I think that he looks like the sort of man who has the patience to turn a pig barn into something pretty. There are a lot of rumors about him and that workshop, here in town. That there is more to him and his horses than meets the eye.

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