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The Apple from Fringe Garden

The Apple from Fringe Garden By A. T. Greenblatt   There was no helping it. The apple in my pocket bulged like a badly kept secret as I entered the hotel lobby. The receptionist at the desk arched an eyebrow as I passed. “The tennis courts are one floor up right?” I asked. She nodded, but didn’t lower the eyebrow. “Thanks.” I made my way to the elevators, pretending I was innocent and was just on my way to meet a friend for a match. I think my performance was plausible. The curvature of the apple could be mistaken...

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THE HUNTRESS’ GIFT

THE HUNTRESS’ GIFT   By Will Frankenhoff   Night had fallen over Mistport. The twin moons of Pale and Prosper hung low in the cloudless sky, their light casting shadows along the narrow streets of the city’s Dockside. Home to the taverns, brothels, and gambling parlors which lined the bustling waterfront, the Dockside also housed other, less reputable businesses. Drug dens flourished within its dark alleys. Underground slave markets operated night and day. Stolen goods from a dozen kingdoms were fenced in the Dockside’s shops and cellars. Renegade magicians offered curses to slay the living; defrocked priests hawked potions...

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The Dancing Mice of Professor Theodore Krieger

The Dancing Mice of Professor Theodore Krieger By Lawrence Buentello   When I was a boy, my father drove me in his 1940 Chevrolet pickup truck to the tents pitched in the great field just outside of our town to see the dancing mice of Professor Theodore Krieger. At first I dismissed his proclamations of the majesty of the display, since he was always prone to exaggerating the mystical qualities of ordinary events. After all, I’d seen plenty of mice in my eight years of life, and these had done little more than scurry along the baseboards of the kitchen. Granted, the mice feasting in the silos of the granaries fled with something akin to an orchestrated dance, though that was probably only an evasion tactic meant to confuse opportunistic farm cats. So I didn’t believe my father when he recounted the marvelous vision he beheld years before I was born, of the last performance by the Professor in our county. Listening to my father, you would have to believe that a hundred white mice dressed in miniature finery performed an elaborate ballet in the center of an alabaster stage, while other mice, clad in tiny tights, conducted acrobatics across a network of carefully strung high wires and nets. Still more, he insisted, comprised a choir of vocal rodents capable of squeaking a fair version of Ode to Joy....

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Printed

Printed By Bethany Zohner   Wake up. Go to school. Homework. Video games. Help Mom with dinner. Dinner. Video games or reading until bed. Bed. Repeat. Kurt Richards could have gone through his daily routine with his eyes half-closed—and he usually did. To him, it seemed as if he and everyone else was a slave to schedules. Even his sixth grade teachers at Greenfield Middle seemed to go through their curriculum as if on autopilot. The only person who seemed bubbly at all was Kurt’s 14-year-old brother, Sammy, who was still too excited about being in high school to care that life was just one long never ending, seemingly never changing routine. Kurt wished his life was more like his books or video games, but it seemed as if those characters at least had opportunities. Nothing ever happened to him. Tedium wore him down; he felt as if he was always half-asleep, and though he never said it out loud, Kurt wanted desperately for something to happen—anything—to snap him out of it. *** Kurt typed the last few sentences on his book report for Treasure Island and rested his head against the screen of his desktop. He sighed and clicked print. The sooner he had this paper in hand, the sooner he could get back to Starcraft. The printer blinked, but his report stayed on the computer screen. Kurt...

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The Possibility Jar

The Possibility Jar Jessica Augustsson The big quart jar of glass marbles had stood collecting dust atop Grandma’s kitchen cupboards for as long as I could remember, and was as much a part of that room as the ancient enamel sink. It had been in our family for generations. I’d glimpsed it in old family photos; sometimes in the photographs, it looked like it was filled with striped candies, and sometimes with sparkling jewels. But growing up, whenever I looked at the real jar, it was glass marbles—the clear kind with brightly colored bands swirling through the center. Once, when I was very small, I’d asked if I could play with the marbles. “What marbles?” she asked, sounding genuinely uncertain what I was referring to. I pointed up to the top of the cupboard. “Those.” Without glancing, she smiled, still looking a bit confused, and shook her head. “Those, uh, aren’t ordinary marbles. They’re not for playing with.” “What are they?” “One day I’ll tell you, Hannah. When you’re older.” She shooed me out of the kitchen to go play, which I happily did, quickly distracted by young fluffy chicks and a new batch of kittens out in the barn. I remember having wondered about the jar on occasion, but for some reason, I never asked about it and it wasn’t until many years later that I had reason...

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