From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

COSMIC POWERS

Fiction

Choke Point

Steve was just north of Chaffeys Lock driving back from Rachel’s house in Ottawa when he saw the snake on the road. If he’d been with Rachel he wouldn’t have stopped. Rachel wouldn’t have noticed it, but if he had pointed it out to her, she would have shut her eyes and ordered him to drive on…

The Tongue of Bees

The bees come: one, and another, and a swarm. He has no fruit left for them, but when he tries to tell them so, his tongue cleaves to his teeth. They speak to him, in the manner of bees, of the clover and the phlox, the apple-blossoms and the Queen Anne’s lace . . .

The Raccoon’s Daughter

They say the revolution was started by a wedding cake. I wasn’t there to witness it myself, I’m sorry to admit, but when I say I’ve seen all the most famous photos of this instrument of insurrection, the ones that made the rounds of every major newspaper worldwide, you know the ones I mean . . .

The Chrysanthemum Bride

Chen-Ju hates her sister. Her own face is flat and plain; they don’t look alike at all. Some days—all days, really—Chen-Ju would like to rake something sharp down Mei-Ju’s face. Not her nails—she has none, for they crack and split and tear to the quick from her arduous hours of manual labour. Something else, then: one of the engraved combs Mei-Ju uses in her hair, perhaps. The combs that belonged to the concubine grandmother. Yes, they would do the damage nicely.

The Little Lame Prince, Part I (Classic Reprint)

According to the custom of the country, there were chosen for him four-and-twenty god- fathers and godmothers, who each had to give him a name, and promise to do their utmost for him. When he came of age, he himself had to choose the name — and the godfather or god- mother — that he liked the best, for the rest of his days.

Reading by Numbers

In case your mother has neglected your education I should explain about vampire numbers. They are numbers with an even number of digits that can be equally divided into two so-called fangs. These fangs are factors of the number and contain all of the digits of the original number.

Into the Monsoon

The stairway crept upwards, like the disembodied siding of a pyramid. At the first landing, the addict covered her face with her hands and stayed horribly still. Or perhaps, it was the pedestrians walking past that made her seem still—whichever of these it was, Song could not walk by without looking away.

Medusa Complex

Lift the mirror; don’t be afraid. The naga children are beautiful, scales gleaming of emerald, aquamarine, ruby, topaz. We sway and flare our hoods. Our eyes rivet, the same startling molten gold as your own. Your eyes will see differently now.

My Best Friend’s Girl

There. You summoned me and I came. No one twisted your arm. No one made you take your friend’s equipment. No one made you sign the contract with your blood.

The Confessions of Prince Charming

Once upon a time: My mama always told me to stay away from princesses, and I guess I should have listened and gone into the wizarding business, but there was an opening for princes when I graduated from charm school, and I didn’t know at the time that princesses came with the job . . .