Kess

United States of America

Just a girl with a passion for books, movies, writing, and all things Marvel or Harry Potter!

Message from Writer

"Every adventure requires a first step."

-The Cheshire Cat

Published Work

Come Back Soon

Come Back Soon! 
    Ellis glared at the sign through the thin coating of dust smeared across the windshield. The paint was chipped and peeling, the letters faded to the same color as the dirt road that seemed to stretch on forever. Ellis felt chills crawl up his arms and back as the crackling static of thousands of corn stalks enveloped the car like a swarm of locusts, burrowing into his skin and raising the hair on the back of his neck. Shoving the key in the ignition for a fifth time, he felt the car’s wheezing shudder rattle around in his skull before dropping off into silence. Piece of junk. 
    Shoving the key back into his pocket, Ellis threw open the door so hard it bounced back toward him on its hinges. He barely avoided catching his arm in the metal and slipped around the side of the car to the trunk. A gust of wind rolled across...

Come Back Soon

Come Back Soon! 
    Ellis glared at the sign through the thin coating of dust smeared across the windshield. The paint was chipped and peeling, the letters faded to the same color as the dirt road that seemed to stretch on forever. Ellis felt chills crawl up his arms and back as the crackling static of thousands of corn stalks enveloped the car like a swarm of locusts, burrowing into his skin and raising the hair on the back of his neck. Shoving the key in the ignition for a fifth time, he felt the car’s wheezing shudder rattle around in his skull before dropping off into silence. Piece of junk. 
Shoving the key back into his pocket, Ellis threw open the door so hard it bounced back toward him on its hinges. He barely avoided catching his arm in the metal and slipped around the side of the car to the trunk. A gust of wind rolled across...

Unlawful Assembly

    Rain clawed at the window panes, turning the world outside the inn to static. Ellis closed his eyes and waited for the dull roar to quell his headache. For a few moments, the empty bar seemed peaceful.
    “Why do you insist on meeting your clients at my bar after hours?” The clatter of a shot glass on the counter drove a spike of pain through his skull. Ellis opened his eyes and traced the rim of his glass with a thumb.
    “Who said I was meeting a client?” he muttered. “Can I not visit a friend at work?” Kiara snorted, kneeling to rummage under the counter.
    “You always have a client. And who comes to an inn, doesn’t book a room, and only orders water at the bar?” Ellis groaned, rolling his knuckles across his temple.
    “You’re the only one I trust for this sort of thing…” Two pills landed next to his elbow along with a full glass of...

Fantasy Writing Competition 2019

What Lies Inside The Bleeding Rocks

    “You’re lying.” Iris glared at the cliffs looming over her, eyes tracing the dull crimson veins spread across the rock face like glass fractures. Her neck twinged from the strain of searching, some of the veins climbing so far up they seemed to warp out over the beach. Nowhere in the web of yawning cavern mouths did she find traces of the telltale burnt orange feathers.
    “I am not. I heard Callum talking about it last night.” Dante’s adamant defense bounced against the rocks, rolling along the coast in a vibrating echo before shattering against the lavender foam of a breaking wave. Sending one last pebble skittering across the ivory sand with the toe of his boot, the boy strolled toward an opening at the cliff’s base. “This was the place he was talking about.”
    “And you believed him?”
    “My brother doesn’t bluff.”
    “So you think he's hiding one...a roc?” Iris didn’t see the point of quelling her hopeful...

Fantasy Writing Competition 2019

What Lies Inside The Bleeding Rocks

    “You’re lying.” Iris glared at the cliffs looming over her, eyes tracing the dull crimson veins spread across the rock face like glass fractures. Her neck twinged from the strain of searching, some of the veins climbing so far up they seemed to warp out over the beach. Nowhere in the web of yawning cavern mouths did she find traces of the telltale burnt orange feathers.
    “I am not. I heard Callum talking about it last night.” Dante’s adamant defense bounced against the rocks, rolling along the coast in a vibrating echo before shattering against the lavender foam of a breaking wave. Sending one last pebble skittering across the ivory sand with the toe of his boot, the boy strolled toward an opening at the cliff’s base. “This was the place he was talking about.”
    “And you believed him?”
    “My brother doesn’t bluff.”
    “So you think he has one...a roc?” Iris didn’t see the point of quelling her hopeful...

Fantasy Writing Competition 2019

What Lies Inside The Bleeding Rocks

    “You’re lying.” Iris glared at the cliffs looming over her, eyes tracing the dull crimson veins spread across the rock face like glass fractures. Her neck twinged from the strain of searching, some of the veins climbing so far up they seemed to warp out over the beach. Nowhere in the web of yawning cavern mouths did she find traces of the telltale burnt orange feathers.
    “I am not. I heard Callum talking about it last night.” Dante’s adamant defense bounced against the rocks, rolling along the coast in a vibrating echo before shattering against the lavender foam of a breaking wave. Sending one last pebble skittering across the ivory sand with the toe of his boot, the boy strolled toward an opening at the cliff’s base. “This was the place he was talking about.”
    “And you believed him?”
    “Callum doesn’t bluff.”
    “So you think he has one...a roc?” Iris didn’t see the point of quelling her hopeful tone...

Muddy Hands

    Frank lit a cigarette, reaching over to crank down the passenger seat window. The night air swept into the car, plastering tufts of hair to his forehead and ruffling a stack of napkins tucked into the center console. Sebastian drummed his fingers on the steering wheel, white bleeding into the skin around his knuckles.
    “Roll the window up, Frank,” he muttered. The blond blew a cloud of smoke out the window and grinned.
    “What’s the matter, Bas? Scared the wind’ll mess up your perfect hair?" Leaning over, he swiped a hand through the driver’s curls. Sebastian swatted at the intruding fingers, gnawing at the inside of his cheek to stop the smile pulling at his lips.
    “Just roll the window up. I don’t like this area.”
    “Bas...we’re in the middle of nowhere. There’s literally nothing on this road until we hit the intersection. Is the boogeyman going to jump out of the bushes or something?” Sebastian...

Better Than Bonnie and Clyde

    Gideon cranked the seat back, lighting the cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. He took a long drag, gaze fixated on the pickup’s rusted silver hood ornament, a gift if he remembered correctly. A dark carmine stain on the armrest winked at him in the sunlight filtering through the windshield and he shifted his free hand to cover it. He could’ve sworn he cleaned everything last night.
    “Hey, Gideon.” He let his head roll to the side, mentally tuning out the Pink Floyd song drifting out of the speakers. He raised an eyebrow, an unspoken ‘yeah’ to the boy in the passenger seat. Kain just propped his battered sneakers on the dashboard and reached for the cigarette between Gideon’s lips. Gideon swatted at the hand and threw the empty carton at Kain’s chest. The blond rolled his eyes and let the box drop into his lap. “We’re like Bonnie and Clyde, aren’t we?”
    Gideon snorted, lurching forward and...

Negotiations

    “I thought we agreed that you wouldn’t hide down here anymore.”  The man behind the decrepit counter shifted uncomfortably, bottle-green eyes narrowing against the gloom.
    “We also had a lengthy conversation about the bounty placed on my head,” he muttered.
    “And I told you not to worry about it. My friends  will take care of everything.”
    “I don’t like your friends.”
    “You don’t like me either, yet here we are.” Elik scrubbed at a smear of grime on his sleeve, an unreadable glint bleeding into his gaze. “What do you have this time?”
    “Drachmas.” Jex produced a velvet bag from somewhere under the counter, tugging the drawstring loose with delicate precision. An avalanche of silver coins clattered against the half-rotted wood, and Elik whistled through his teeth.
    “Where the hell do you get these?”
    “Dealers don’t reveal their sources. Do you want them or not?” Elik grinned, taking a moment to search the...

Negotiations

    “I thought we agreed that you wouldn’t hide down here anymore.”  The man behind the decrepit counter shifted uncomfortably, eyes narrowing against the gloom.
    “We also had a lengthy conversation about the bounty placed on my head,” he muttered.
    “And I told you not to worry about it. My friends  will take care of everything.”
    “I don’t like your friends.”
    “You don’t like me either, yet here we are.” Elik scrubbed at a smear of grime on his sleeve, an intelligent glint bleeding into his gaze. “What do you have this time?”
    “Drachmas.” Jex produced a velvet bag from somewhere under the counter, tugging the drawstring loose with delicate precision. An avalanche of silver coins clattered against the half-rotted wood, and Elik whistled through his teeth.
    “Where the hell do you get these?”
    “Dealers don’t reveal their sources. Do you want them or not?” Elik grinned, taking a moment to search the inside...

Three Roads Diverged...

    "Max!” Ellie burst through the mess hall door, stumbling down the decrepit stairs at break-neck speed. The worn-out soles of her shoes slid across the wood, threatening to drag her off the edge. “MAX, HELP ME!” The night swamped her, shoving itself down her throat as she took off down the dirt path, rocks and roots slamming against the toes of her already battered sneakers. Max’s name clawed at the back of her throat again, and she slammed the palm of her hand over her mouth. Screaming again would only attract its attention. She was so focused on keeping her heart from flying out of her chest that she nearly crashed into the oak tree marking the crossroads.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

    Her free hand slammed against the bark so hard Ellie felt the skin tear. The other hand...

Please Read :)

    Hi all! My school is doing a flash fiction contest, and I'm thinking about entering one of my pieces. It's called Stone Wings. Could you guys do me a favor and give me some feedback? Thank you!

Stone Wings

    Before they posted the warning signs, the cliffs were lined with boats, ours among them. But that was a long time ago, back when my youngest brother and I used to sit on the railing and let the sprays of sea water paint our cheeks. The brine burned, scratching at our sunburns and freckles with needle-like fingers as if it wanted to drag us into the mottled water. We would squint against the sun’s angry glare and watch the rocks for time’s telltale brushstrokes until the impending dusk blotched out any landmarks.
    Alexander, our oldest brother, would sometimes steer the bow so close to the cliffs I could see the holes drilled there by whatever minuscule creatures used to inhabit them. On one occasion, Elliot leaned out beside me, fingers sending flakes of the railing’s paint tumbling into the wind while the other hand reached desperately for faint outline of stone wings. I held my breath as the pads of...

Three Roads Diverged...

    "MAX!” Ellie burst through the mess hall door, stumbling down the crumbling stairs at break-neck speed. The worn out soles of her shoes slid across the wood, threatening to drag her off the edge. “MAX, HELP ME!” The night swamped her, shoving itself down her throat as she took off down the dirt path. Rocks and roots slammed against the toes of her already battered sneakers. Max’s name clawed at the back of her throat again, and she slammed the palm of her hand over her mouth. Screaming again would only attract its attention. She was so focused on keeping her heart from flying out of her chest that she nearly crashed into the oak tree marking the crossroads.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

    Her free hand slammed against the bark so hard Ellie felt the skin tear. The other hand stayed...

Three Roads Diverged...

    “MAX!” Ellie burst through the mess hall door, stumbling down the crumbling stairs at break-neck speed. The worn out soles of her shoes slid across the wood, threatening to drag her off the edge. “MAX, HELP ME!” The night swamped her, shoving itself down her throat as she took off down the dirt path. Rocks and roots slammed against the toes of her already battered sneakers. Max’s name clawed at the back of her throat again, and she slammed the palm of her hand over her mouth. Screaming again would only attract its attention. She was so focused on keeping her heart from flying out of her chest that she nearly crashed into the oak tree marking the crossroads.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

    Her free hand slammed against the bark so hard Ellie felt the skin tear. The other hand stayed clamped over...

Three Roads Diverged...

    “MAX!” Ellie burst through the mess hall door, stumbling down the crumbling stairs at break-neck speed. The worn out soles of her shoes slid across the wood, threatening to drag her off the edge. “MAX, HELP ME!” The night swamped her, shoving itself down her throat as she took off down the dirt path. Rocks and roots slammed against the toes of her already battered sneakers. Max’s name clawed at the back of her throat again, and she slammed the palm of her hand over her mouth. Screaming again would only attract its attention. She was so focused on keeping her heart from flying out of her chest that she nearly crashed into the oak tree marking the crossroads.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

    Her free hand slammed against the bark so hard Ellie felt the skin tear. The other hand stayed clamped over...

Tiny Love Story

Partner in Crime

    He glanced at the head of ginger hair pressed against his shoulder. Should he move? Should he just sit in the truck and wait? Glancing at the rain painting colorful swatches across the windshield. The second option seemed alright. Holding his breath, he slid an arm over her shoulders. It settle across the back of her jacket, hand propped on the seat. The slow cadence of her breath never wavered, and he sighed. His head fell back, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. Maybe having a "partner in crime", as she called it, wouldn't be so bad.

Watchman

    The owl watched the shadow race along the catwalk with fascinated silence. It's talons scraped across the crumbling bark of the oak's topmost branch, sending flakes of wood tumbling into the tall grass below. Sunset eyes followed the figure as it vaulted onto the railing, wrapping its slender fingers around the metal in an explosion of chipped paint. They tilted their head to look at the two guards below. One fiddled with his rifle while the other muffled the red glow of a cigarette beneath his steel toed boot. The owl blinked and ruffled its feathers, wishing the moon wasn't so unbearably bright.
    The shadow on the railing two floors above the guards flipped the visor of their helmet up, allowing the moonlight to trace the delicate angles of their face and cast a white glow across narrowed eyes. They blinked long and slow, taking the time to carefully scan the surrounding treeline. The owl dug its talons...

The Quiet Ones

    Number 227 was stealing medicine. Not a lot, just a little bit, every day, hidden in a vent on the third floor. The kind that could dissolve without a trace in someone’s morning coffee if they weren’t careful. Of course, nobody could prove it was 227. The nurses searched every room, digging through blankets and drawers, examining the undersides of mattresses. It was a fruitless search, ending in the discovery of an ominously fizzing mug of coffee sitting on the break room counter. 227 was already back in her room by the time they reached the third floor, staring blankly at the tray of capsules and the paper cup of water on the table beside her bed. Eventually, the nurses stopped bringing the tray of pills to Room 227. It was best not to provoke her.
    167 had a peculiar fascination with photographs. Not the typical scrapbook photos, mind you. The neat squares of Polaroid film that papered...

Atlantis

    Afton leaned over the railing, glaring at the horizon as though it was the source of his problems. He rubbed his thumb over the brass edge of the compass, pressing until the callouses turned white and the drone of the motor wormed its way under his skin.
    “Problems, Captain?” Leola fell against the railing beside him, nose scrunched against the briny wind scratching at her sunburnt cheeks. The few freckles that dotted her cheekbones when he’d met her had multiplied, now spattered across her cheeks like a spray of sea water.
    “We should have reached land last night,” Afton murmured. Leola tugged at a wisp of strawberry blonde hair, staring at the frothing water below them.
    “Are you sure?”
    “Yes! I’ve double checked every map and journal we have. The shore’s coordinates are several hours behind us...supposedly.” Leola gnawed at her bottom lip, eyes still fixed on the water below them.
    “Well...we are going off the ravings of some old...

Atlantis

    Afton leaned over the railing, glaring at the horizon as though it was the source of his problems. He rubbed his thumb over the brass edge of the compass, pressing until the calloused skin turned white and the drone of the motor wormed its way under his skin.
    “Problems, Captain?” Leola fell against the railing beside him, nose scrunched against the briny wind scratching at her sunburnt cheeks. The few freckles that had dotted her cheekbones when he’d met her had multiplied and were now spattered across her cheeks like a spray of sea water.
    “We should have reached land last night,” Afton murmured. Leola tugged at a wisp of strawberry blonde hair, staring at the frothing water below them.
    “Are you sure?”
    “Yes! I’ve double checked every map and journal we have. The shore’s coordinates are several hours behind us.” Leola gnawed at her bottom lip, eyes still fixed on the water below them.
    “Well...we are going off the...

Wings

    Against the wind, the wings felt heavy against my shoulder blades, foreign whorls of wire feathers and mechanics that I couldn’t begin to understand; Rhys did though. I knew that from the nights spent hunched over her kitchen table with a flashlight clutched in my fist, praying through gritted teeth that her hands wouldn’t shake when the bombs came too close. I suppose it was those endless nights of sparks and cogs that pulled me up onto the roof, not Rhys’s poor attempts at reassuring me that trial runs didn’t necessarily merit disasters. As the official flashlight-holder, I had a right to see if my work paid off. I just didn’t expect to be wearing a pair myself.
    “Loosen up, Blythe. You’ll be begging to go again after the first time ‘round.”Rhys’s confidence prodded at the tightness in my chest, and I clutched the flare to my stomach as if it would save me from the yawning gap mere...

Wings

    Against the wind, the wings felt heavy against my shoulder blades, foreign whorls of wire feathers and mechanics that I couldn’t begin to understand; Rhys did though. I knew that from the nights spent hunched over her kitchen table with a flashlight clutched in my fist, praying through gritted teeth that her hands wouldn’t shake when the bombs came too close. I suppose it was those endless nights of sparks and cogs that pulled me up onto the roof, not Rhys’s poor attempts at reassuring me that trial runs didn’t necessarily merit disasters. As the official flashlight-holder, I had a right to see if my work paid off. I just didn’t expect to be wearing a pair myself.
    “Loosen up, Blythe. You’ll be begging to go again after the first time ‘round.”Rhys’s confidence prodded at the tightness in my chest, and I clutched the flare to my stomach as if it would save me from the yawning gap mere...

Wings

    Against the wind, the wings felt heavy against my shoulder blades, foreign whorls of wire feathers and mechanics that I couldn’t begin to understand. Rhys did though. I knew that from the nights spent hunched over her kitchen table with a flashlight clutched in my fist, praying through gritted teeth that her hands wouldn’t shake when the bombs came too close. I suppose it was those endless nights of sparks and cogs that pulled me up onto the roof, not Rhys’s poor attempts at reassuring me that trial runs didn’t necessarily merit disasters. As the official flashlight-holder, I had a right to see if my work paid off. I just didn’t expect to be wearing a pair myself.
    “Loosen up, Blythe. You’ll be begging to go again after the first time ‘round.”Rhys’s confidence prodded at the tightness in my chest, and I clutched the flare to my stomach as if it would save me from the yawning gap mere...

The Wrong Kind of Royal

    The entire inn went silent as the grave when the chair scraped a harsh path across the floorboards. All eyes followed the young man as he fell back into the seat, propping his boots up on the edge of the table. An impish grin painted his face as the girl across from him slowly lifted her gaze from the blade she’d been polishing for the past hour or so. One man at the bar muttered a prayer in a foreign tongue, staring at the last dregs of whiskey in front of him with haunted eyes.
    “Can I help you?” The girl’s voice sounded like a hollowed out version of the wind chimes that hung at the castle gates, too sharp and quiet to be welcoming but just musical enough to be alluring. The boy’s grin grew impossibly wider and he leaned forward; he had her attention now, a feat in itself.
    “I don’t know, princess. Can...

The Wrong Kind of Royal

    The entire inn went silent as the grave when the chair scraped a harsh path across the floorboards. All eyes followed the young man as he fell back into the seat, propping his boots up on the edge of the table. An impish grin painted his face as the girl across from him slowly lifted her gaze from the blade she’d been polishing for the past hour or so. One man at the bar muttered a prayer in a foreign tongue, staring at the last dregs of whiskey in front of him with haunted eyes.
    “Can I help you?” The girl’s voice sounded like a hollowed out version of the wind chimes that hung at the castle gates, too sharp and quiet to be welcoming but just musical enough to be alluring. The boy’s grin grew impossibly wider and he leaned forward; he had her attention now, a feat in itself.
    “I don’t know, princess. Can...

The Wrong Kind of Royal

    The entire inn went silent as the grave when the chair scraped a harsh path across the floorboards. All eyes followed the young man as he fell back into the seat, propping his boots up on the edge of the table. An impish grin painted his face as the girl across from him slowly lifted her gaze from the blade she’d been polishing for the past hour or so. One man at the bar muttered a prayer in a foreign tongue, staring the the last dregs of whiskey in front of him with haunted eyes.
    “Can I help you?” The girl’s voice sounded like a hollowed out version of the wind chimes that hung at the castle gates, too sharp and quiet to be welcoming but just musical enough to be alluring. The boy’s grin grew impossibly wider and he leaned forward; he had her attention now, a feat in itself.
    “I don’t know, princess. Can...

The Quiet Ones

    Number 227 had been stealing medicine. Not a lot, just a little bit, every day, hidden away in a vent on the third floor. The kind that could dissolve in someone’s morning coffee if they weren’t careful. Of course, nobody could prove it was 227. The nurses had searched every room, digging through blankets, drawers, and examining the undersides of mattresses. It had been a fruitless search, ending in the discovery of an ominously fizzing mug of coffee sitting on the break room counter. 227 was already back in her room by the time they reached the third floor, staring blankly at the tray of capsules and the paper cup of water on the table beside her bed. Eventually, the nurses stopped bringing the tray of pills to Room 227. It was best not to provoke her.
    167 had a peculiar fascination with photographs. Not the typical scrapbook photos, mind you. The neat squares of Polaroid film that...

The Quiet Ones

    Number 227 had been stealing medicine. Not a lot, just a little bit, every day, hidden away in a vent on the third floor. The kind that could dissolve in someone’s morning coffee if they weren’t careful. Of course, nobody could prove it was 227. The nurses had searched every room, digging through blankets, drawers, and examining the undersides of mattresses. It had been a fruitless search, ending in the discovery of an ominously fizzing mug of coffee sitting on the break room counter. 227 was already back in her room by the time they reached the third floor, staring blankly at the tray of capsules and the paper cup of water on the table beside her bed. Eventually, the nurses stopped bringing the tray of pills to Room 227. It was best not to provoke her.
    167 had a peculiar fascination with photographs. Not the typical scrapbook photos, mind you. The neat squares of polaroid film that...

Watchman

    The owl watched the shadow race along the catwalk with fascinated silence. It's talons scraped across the crumbling bark of the oak's topmost branch, sending flakes of wood tumbling into the tall grass below. Sunset-colored eyes followed the figure as it vaulted onto the railing, wrapping its slender fingers around the metal in a miniature explosion of chipped paint. They tilted their head to look at the two guards below. One fiddled with his rifle while the other crushed the red glow of a cigarette beneath his boot. The owl blinked and ruffled its feathers, wishing the moon wasn't so unbearablely bright.
    The shadow on the railing two floors above the guards flipped the visor of their helmet up, allowing the moonlight to trace the delicate angles of their face and cast a silver glow into their narrowed eyes. They blinked long and slow, taking the time to carefully scan the surrounding treeline. The owl dug...

Please Read :)

    Hi guys! This is just a request for someone to give me feedback on any of the pieces I've published. I haven't gotten much, and some constructive criticism or affirmation would be great. Happy writing!

-Kessler

Watchman

    The owl watched the shadow race along the catwalk with fascinated silence. It's talons scraped across the crumbling bark of the oak's topmost branch, sending flakes of wood tumbling into the tall grass below. Sunset-colored eyes followed the figure as it vaulted onto the railing, wrapping its slender fingers around the metal in a miniature explosion of chipped paint. They tilted their head to look at the two guards below. One fiddled with his rifle while the other crushed the red glow of a cigarette beneath his boot. The owl blinked and ruffled its feathers, wishing the moon wasn't so unbearablely bright.
    The shadow on the railing two floors above the guards flipped the visor of their helmet up, allowing the moonlight to trace the delicate angles of their face and cast a silver glow into their narrowed eyes. They blinked long and slow, taking the time to carefully scan the surrounding treeline. The owl dug...

Bones

    If one seeks a story, they must look for the bones. If you find bones in the forest, sit and stay for a while. Listen. The ones in the forest are especially skilled at spinning tales. They tell tales of long ago, before the trees grew to tall enough to brush the sky with delicate fingers. If you listen long enough, they may whisper accounts of how the streams wound their way through the forest, carving out canals and shaping the land around them in ways that only the water can. On rare occasions, when the stars are aligned just right between the leaves, the forest bones might tell you a spell or two.
    Not the type of spell that so many are used to. These spells are not the gibberish fabricated by people who cannot stand the world they live in, and in turn, they create others. No, these spells are too simple yet too complex to be assigned...

The Circus of Stars

    By the time I reached the willow grove, the train's telltale puffs of stardust were already drifting above the treeline. The trees' drooping tendrils caressed by bare arms and face as I sprinted into the clearing. Sliding to a halt in the knee-high grass, I swept locks of corn-silk hair out of my face. My eyes began to pick out familiar shadows in the silver moonlight, slipping between the trees around the edge of the tent. The tent was a masterpiece in itself: a towering expanse of jet black felt, embedded with what seemed like tiny stars. On many occasions, I had reached out to touch the tiny lights only for them to wink out before my fingertips could reach them. Several years ago, the other children had elected me to question the Ringmaster about the tiny stars that seemed to litter his circus.
    
    The Ringmaster stood with his hands behind his back, conversing with the...

A Gift for Zoe

    One could say that George Barker was a man of many hats. He was a husband, a father, an intrepid businessman, and much more. However, it was clear to all who knew him that George was not an animal lover. So when his daughter approached him two weeks before Christmas, announcing that she needed a pony, he was at a loss for words. George took a deep breath, rubbed both hands over his face in a motion that had become all to familiar since becoming a father, and tried to meet the pleading eyes of his pride and joy. George couldn't help but recall the many times he'd claimed he would do anything for his baby girl, but this was where he drew the line. There would be no pony under the tree if George Douglas Barker III had anything to do with it.
    Folding his newspaper, he desperately scanned the room for his wife; Caroline...

The Reaper and Her Lover

    “Well, well, well. I certainly didn’t expect to see you here, love,” he said, absentmindedly twisting the ring on his finger. Things were going quite well...until she showed up. Yet there was something about her that brought a smile to his face, and he couldn’t help but admire how her olive skin glowed under the fluorescent lights.
    “This one is mine.” Her voice sounded like broken windchimes; it was hollow and cold, but faded wisps of memories told him that it had once been a thing of beauty.
    “Which one?” he inquired, eyes never leaving the scene in front of them. She glanced at him for the first time since entering the room. With burning grey eyes, she observed his crisp white suit and the matching calla lily in his hand. The bud had begun to open, spreading its delicate plumage across his palm. A long time ago, she might have felt something close to pity.
  ...