The law applies to all

He bowed his head as he lit the candles. There was a particular order to it, one he had been instructed on since birth. Even when tired, he could not make a mistake. Even when tired, it was impossible for him to do so, it was the only way.

“Why?” asked his sister, who couldn’t hold anything in her head, hadn’t been able to for ten years.

“We must do our job consistently, for we have chained Time here,” he told her.


“Because if released, Time would slay the Gods.” He continued before she could ask. “Time slays everything, eventually. You and me as well. Mother and Father.”

“Time is imprisoned for crime then?”

That was the simple explanation. He smiled as she lit the last candle. “Yes. Yes, that’s it.”

Until the day it stops and then what

A child’s birthday is a joyous celebration of beating the odds. An adult’s birthday is a stark look at how much to society they contribute, how much they consume.

He realized this when he was sixteen. His sister had just turned five. The happiness which suffused his family was in stark contrast to how they treated him five days before, when it was his birthday. Time to do what his family always wanted him to do. Take on the mantle, get married to the girl they had chosen, all of those things.

He hated it. More than he hated his sister. It wasn’t fair, she would soon enough be thrown into this cycle as well. She ought to enjoy birthdays while they still meant happiness.

“There you are!” The woman, his fiancée, grabbed his arm. He tried not to physically recoil.

His duty. His duty. He forced the most genuine smile on his face. It fooled everyone but himself.

Do you know she’s found more?

Her life’s work was to help to help others, when in reality she was the only one who needed help.

Her sister scowled, finding yet another bottle. Picking the small thing up, she rattled it. There were some pills still in it. Well, that would be a few less pills that she wouldn’t be downing.

She was sleeping across the room, not disturbed by her sister plodding through her things. Maybe because it wasn’t the first time. Maybe because she was used to her sister cleaning up after her.

Even when her sister’s phone went off, she didn’t do much more than pull her pillow over her head. Her sister picked it up. “Yes?”

“Where are you?”

“Nice to hear from you too. Do you know she’s found more Xanax?”

“…damn it.”

“Will you figure out from where already?”

“Okay, okay! I’m on it. You get her clean.”

“Of course.”

They hung up at the same time. The bottle creaked in her closed fist.

Ten for One

“What is the deal with French fries?”

She knew her brother was trying to get her attention away from her phone. Yet another topic to make her look across the table at his order. “Uh huh.”

“It’s… a salt potato. What a miracle.”

Her high score was coming up. She just needed to concentrate.

“You like them.”

She felt the fry poke into her cheek, then fold over immediately. Not a crispy fry, but one still soft. Her favorite. She opened her mouth.

“Thought so.” He prodded the corner of her mouth, but didn’t place it in. She tried to move her head a little, without turning her eyes.

Then she got ten fries. She coughed. “Really?”

Her brother shrugged, but her high score remained untouched.


From the moment they could understand anything, they were told they could be whatever they wanted to be.

“M, I think our parents lied to us.”

Their sibling was quite a bit older, but they didn’t act like it. Maybe Dad and Maddy had been waiting to give a sense of sense to J.

“Don’t be silly!” M worked the kinds out of their white curls. “What about?”

“If I’m allowed to do anything, why am I grounded?”

M turned their ever present smile onto them. “Just because you can be anything doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences.”

J groaned and buried their head in their arms.

Slightly on the outside

“Look! He’s here!”

Deston looked as his sister bid him. Roland was his friend and he would be pleased to see him. He was a little less pleased with how pleased Temperance was to see him. Not that it was his business how she felt. He simply hoped that Temperance would not sadden herself with Roland’s continued lack of interest.

This had been going on for a year. At the least.

“Hey Roland, what’s up?” Temperance asked him.

Roland sat on the other side of the table, the waitress getting his regular without giving him the chance to ask. “Shields is banned from roof work.”

Temperance snickered. Deston waited for an explanation that never came.

“My parents’ house is done, despite his best efforts.”

“That’s great!” Temperance exclaimed. “We should celebrate! Deston, we have to buy a good house warming gift!”

Deston nodded. He didn’t know what would make a good house warming gift, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t try. Roland’s mother liked flowers, so perhaps a vase? She would appreciate that.

Temperance leaned forward over the table, pressing her arm into Deston’s arm. “Did they say when their doors will be opened? Need any more help moving things?”

Roland smiled. “I know mom would say that she had everything in hand, but she would definitely appreciate it if anyone showed up to help move things in. Shields is not banned from helping with that though, so it’s not going to take very long.”

“Are we sure he’s not a workaholic?”

“You want to say that in front of your brother?”

The other two laughed. Deston wasn’t sure that was a word that described him, but perhaps relaxing was difficult sometimes. Without realizing it, he’d smiled.

Time to buy a vase.

Hopefully she fails

He only thought he was safe.

She knew he hadn’t forgotten her. He couldn’t. They were aware of each other’s life at every available interval. It had gnawed at her for so long, knowing it and being unable to do anything about it. Searching far and wide. But now no longer. Now she had finally caught up to him. Now she would finally win.

He wasn’t alone, her brother. While she was strong, she didn’t want to take a false step. It would be a mistake to assume that one of his friends didn’t have a trick up their sleeve. The fact he had friends was laughable. If any of them got in her way, she knew what to do about them. They were unimportant. Simply obstacles… if they got in her way. Did he think they would protect him? It’s not as if he could have forgotten that she was coming for him. As, for some reason, he hadn’t come for her.

Only one of them would survive this. They had both known all along it would be her.

She would eat him and be the only one left, as it was always meant to be.

She licked her lips and summoned him.