Always different when you know the guy

When I was in fifth grade, I played Death in a school play. I brought home my script and showed my mother.

She winced. “Have… have any of them ever heard Death speak?”

I frowned. “Do you think he’d be offended?”

“No. He doesn’t usually bother getting offended.” My mother bought her lower lip. “It just… doesn’t sound like him. At all.”

I had wanted to invite him, because I thought he would find my portrayal of him funny. “Boo.”

“Is this script set in stone?”

“It’s that bad?” I thought about Death. Even I knew it was that bad. “I can totally own he. He’ll find it hilarious.”

My mother wasn’t sure, but I figured I knew Death a little better. He’d find it funny. I didn’t think he had ever said “forsooth” before in his life.

So I’d say it often.

The Playthings of God (pt4)

“Are you still going to be a vet when you grow up?” Natie asked Patty.

Patty nodded. “Yep! Di said I could stick around when June delivers her puppies and help out! I’m on my way!”

Natie frowned. “Wow. You’re lucky.”

“Uh huh! And Miranda said she will let me sit with her when she works. I’m well on my way!”

Patty sounded so proud, she didn’t notice that Natie didn’t have anything to contribute to the conversation. Natie didn’t feel like mentioning that she had no idea. She didn’t feel like mentioning that her father always reminded her that she was running out of time to be free before she would have to start looking. Start choosing.

That Patty already knew what she wanted made Natie jealous. This seemed increasingly more important than waiting for the Cleaning.

But none of those things really interested her, as much as she tried. She hung around the store, but only wanted to buy some candy. She fed some of the cows, but if she had to do more than hold out her hand flat and let the long tongue come out to eat the little she could hold, she would get tired. She climbed a tree, but wasn’t sure what that might relate to when it came to her future job.

Emine (pt 18)

On Emine’s eleventh birthday, she flew.

“Hold on as tight as you need, you can’t pull out my feathers.”

Those were the first words Norro had ever said to Emine. She had picked Emine right off of the ground and placed her at the base of her neck, a ways before the place where her wings met her torso. Emine had no fear of pulling too hard on the feathers, she had cleaned off Milwurl’s and Milwurl’s had been strong. Norro’s were stronger. These feathers could not be compared with a bird.

“Do not worry about falling. Even if you let go, you won’t.”

Whether that meant she would still be able to cling onto Norro’s back or if Norro meant that she wouldn’t let Emine hit the ground, Emine didn’t know. But from where she sat, holding onto Norro, she didn’t think she would be going anywhere that neither of them wanted.

“Have fun!” she hear Sanni shout.

Then Norro took off. Emine’s heart beat in her throat. She held where she was, before pulling herself forward with Norro’s feathers until she could see properly off the side of her neck. There was the Heights, becoming smaller and smaller as they ascended.

Everything was so small. Like from a dragon to a human. Dragons made more sense.

Emine began to laugh, unable to help herself. And as she did so she heard Norro, in such a foreign and draconian fashion, do the same.

The Playthings of God (pt3)

Natie wasn’t sure she wanted to be outside when the Cleaning happened, even though that was where most everyone else wanted to be most of the time. While she really wanted to see what new flowers might show up after the Cleaning was over, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to see the Hand take.

The Hand had always given before, every time she had seen it. The great, big Hand descended from above with food or toys or would rearrange something. Patty’s house had been shifted from the left side of her property to the right side when they were five. Natie had thought that was great, because it meant she could see her from her bedroom window.

But this time the Hand might take something. And if it was taken out, there was no guarantee it would ever come back. That was why Mom made her wear a backpack with the things she didn’t want to lose.

Natie became tired of hearing about it though, when the months passed and the Cleaning had not happened yet. Her shoulders hurt from carrying around that book all the time. She really wanted to talk about something else.


Clang. Clang. Clang.

“Will you cut that out?” she snapped.

He rolled his eyes. “We wouldn’t be in a jail cell and cuffed to the wall if you hadn’t insisted on your stupid plan.”

“We’d also be very bored.”

He couldn’t argue with that, but he didn’t know that being arrested like this was better than that. Disregarding her irritation, he went back to picking his lock.

Clang. Clang. Clang.

She shut her eyes, throwing her head back. It hit against the wall, a lovely wood finish. Maybe if she hit it harder she would pass out and not need to listen to that.

Then his cuffs opened and he dropped down to the ground. “Now. Do you want me to get you out too, or is this too much fun for you?”

“You wanted to get in here,” she reminded him.

He smirked and reached up to release her.

The first of many

No moon means no tides, and Nashita couldn’t bring herself to trust a sea so still. She would have flown over it before without hesitation. Now she wouldn’t dare. Leaving her stranded. It would take someone with a lot less care for their own safety to pass over the sea now.

It was why she flitted around this Ria right now. “It would take less than a minute.”

“That’s still a minute over still water,” Nashita retorted.

“If you don’t want to do this, go away already.”

Nashita didn’t know why Ria thought she could fly. She was no fairy. Or any other type of creature that naturally flew. Ria had no wings or anything else to keep her off the ground.

Ria settled the goggles over her eyes.

Nashita scowled. “You wouldn’t be going that fast.”

“Wouldn’t I?”

Nashita might have spent the rest of her long life on that island, separated from the rest of her kind. Or she could take a chance on this child. This child with no sense of danger.
She took the chance.

The Playthings of God (pt2)

The Cleaning would happen at some point this year, but no one knew when. In the meantime, everyone would carry the most important things with them until it was over with.

“Wow, your bag is heavy.” Patty couldn’t even lift it. She showed Natie her collection of flowers as well, carefully put at the bottom of her bag underneath all of her stuffed dog toys and a single ball. “Mine is better.”

“Is not!”

“Is too!”

Patty’s brother yelled at them to take it outside.

Emine (pt 17)

“You have to dress warmly for flying,” Sanni told her.

Emine almost couldn’t hear her. She couldn’t believe this was happening. She wanted it, of course she had wanted it, but she didn’t believe that the dragons had agreed. She wasn’t Bonded. This wasn’t for a reason. It was just because she wanted to. And apparently it was okay.

Sanni helped her decide which coat to wear. “There is more you’ll be putting on, so it can’t be too thick.”

Emine nodded, following Sanni out from their rooms to the Alcoves. They met up with Tove, Ghelli’s Bonded.

“I had this made when my girl was about your age,” they told Emine, handing over the jacket. “It should fit you. She grew up way too fast and didn’t get to wear it much. It’s for longer flights, after all.”

After putting on the jacket, she got to put on Tove’s daughter’s gloves. Those fit perfectly, unlike the jacket which fit well enough. Emine could tell she was trembling. Tove put one of their hands on her head.

“You’ll be fine. If it’s too much, say so. No matter the gravity of the situation. Say so and come down if you need.”

Finally, between Tove and Sanni, Emine could speak. “Who’s taking me up?”

“It took them quite a while to decide,” Sanni admitted. “Apparently there was some fighting over you.”

Emine stared up at her. Sanni smiled down. “We’re going to Norro’s nest. Come.”

Norro? Emine couldn’t believe it. But with Tove smiling after the two, Emine followed Sanni there.