The Land of Heart’s Desire • Holly Black
If you want to meet real-life members of the Sidhe—real faeries—go to the café Moon in a Cup, in Manhattan. Faeries congregate there in large numbers. You can tell them by the slight point of their ears—a feature they’re too arrogant to conceal by glamour—and by their inhuman grace. You will also find that the café caters to their odd palate by offering nettle and foxglove teas, ragwort pastries. Please note too that foxglove is poisonous to mortals and shouldn’t be tasted by you.
—posted in messageboard www.realfairies.com/forums by stoneneil
Lords of fairie sometimes walk among us. Even in places stinking of cold iron, up broken concrete steps, in tiny apartments where girls sleep three to a bedroom. Faeries, after all, delight in corruption, in borders, in crossing over and then crossing back again.
Snake Charmer • Amanda Downum
The dragon is dying.
The city feels it in bones of stone and iron, in scabby concrete skin. The otherkind feel it in their blood. Even Simon feels it, mortal as he is. The city waits. The dragon will die, of age or violence, and another will take its place. Someone will eat the dragon’s heart and take its power. A lot of people are interested in the dragon’s demise.
Some are less patient than others.
Simon crouches in a narrow alley that smells of blood and piss and damp brick. Dark clouds scrape their bellies across the rooftops overhead, heavy with unshed rain and ash from fires that raged the night before. He tastes char with every breath.
The Slaughtered Lamb • Elizabeth Bear
The smell of the greasepaint was getting to Edie.
“Oh my god, sweetheart, and then she says to me, ‘Honey, I think you’d look fabulous with dreads,’ and I swear I stared at her for ten whole seconds before I managed to ask, ‘Do you think I’m a fucking Jamaican, bitch?’ I mean, can you believe the gall of . . . ”
Nor the mouths on some others, Edie thought tiredly, pressing a thumb into the arch of her foot and trying to massage away the cramp you got from a two-hour burlesque in four-inch stilettos. They were worth the pain, though: hot little boots with the last two inches of the dagger heel clad in ferrules of
shining metal. When you took them down the runway, they glittered like walking on stars.
The Woman Who Walked with Dogs • Mary Rosenblum
“You be in this house by dark.”
Mama’s words were always the same, a parting benediction as she left for her job at the nursing home. “I don’t work for no daughter of mine to be out on the street at night. I’ll call you.”
The street at night . . . “Yes, Mama,” Mari June would say. “I got homework to do.” Sometimes she wondered if Mama really knew.
“Good girl, you do that.” And then Mama would close the door firmly, with a bang of decision, as if by that single definite slam she could seal the door airtight against the dark seductive dangers of nighttime on the streets of their crummy city neighborhood.
Nah, Mari June thought. Mama didn’t know. Mostly, she was afraid of boys.
Words • Angela Slatter
She was a writer, once, before the words got out of hand.
She would read aloud what she’d written that day, dropping sounds into the night, into the sometimes balmy, sometimes frosty air. After a while, she noticed that the words seemed to warm her no matter what the season. Her voice became stronger, so soon she could read for longer. The sentences took on a life of their own, prancing and weaving themselves into the shapes of the things they described. She was always busy concentrating on those words that stayed obediently on the page, but one night, something caught her eye. A flowing diphthong movement, the graceful pivot of an elision as they wrapped themselves around each other and turned into a small, pale pink dragon, which then disappeared with a slight pop.
She knew, then, that she’d become something other than a writer. The word wordsmith had hidden itself away in protest against misuse about three hundred years ago and refused to come out. The word witch appeared but she ignored it, thinking it best.
Dog Boys • Charles de Lint
I hate this place. Hate the heat and the dust. Hate this stupid chi-chi gated community. And I so hate my new high school. You really have to wonder what my parents were thinking. They move us to Desert View with its walls and patrols, and a security checkpoint to get in, but they send me to Rose Creek High, a public school. Hello? Filled with the people a gated community keeps out.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t judge. Most of the kids are Mexicans or Indians with a few blacks, Asians and, white kids like me, but I’m cool with that. We had a wide racial mix at my old high school and I got along fine with just about everybody. But here, the Mexicans run in serious gangs and the Indians look at me like I’m supposed to constantly apologize for what my ancestors did to theirs, except my ancestors only got to North America in the fifties.