Princess Ousmani had fallen asleep in her chains, from boredom. She woke to the weight of a dragon’s head resting uncomfortably on her stomach. One rough, scaly paw kneaded her left shoulder, pricking at her skin.
One day it was, “Why haven’t you any hair, Mother?” She stroked her own golden locks, which now swept her ankles, as she waited for an answer.
My name is Emma Bear, and I am eleven years old. I live on Black Ankle Road beside the Licking River. I live in a palace. My father is a king. I have a fairy godfather.
It was snowing when the wolves first came, loping down Flatbush Ave., lithe and fast, panting clouds, their paws landing with a soft, heavy sound like bombs falling somewhere far away.
Graveyards creak with too many bones, and the weight of headstones, and when the wind blows the air is dusty with the dead. Ah life, its hoary inevitability. What’s the point?
But the girl was kicking off her other shoe and at the Casio before Deel had worked out but what. And what she pounded out with her feet was Meatloaf’s “Bat Out of Hell.”
You know all about bending and breaking their terms of service; it would take some serious hacking, magical or mundane, to pull this off. But you suspect magic.
Graham came out of the desert leaving most of his men dead behind him. He debriefed, he bathed, he dressed in a borrowed uniform, and without food, without rest, though he needed both, he went to see the girl.
Decades later the music was what really tipped Glen off. He heard a song on the radio, a brand new release, and remembered the day he’d first heard it, twenty years earlier.
I clear my throat. “Mister Statue Man,” I say, because I haven’t grown up on the Border without learning to be polite around magic. “Do you think you might have sex with me?”