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"It looks a little like Cydonia, don't you think?
"Totally. It reminds me of our trip to Ismenia. You remember?"
She glanced at the ring on her finger. "How could I forget?"
"I can't believe I'm standing on Ganymede, looking up at Jupiter in the sky, but you're not here with me."
She scrolled back through the picture messages of distant scenery. "Yes I am," she typed, hitting send. It would be another hour before a reply arrived. Worth the wait.
The goblins had been pawing at the window for about half an hour.
She thought it was the light that attracted them, but closing the blinds didn’t help – they found gaps, and peered in, hissing. She tried giving one a mean look, but it didn’t even flinch.
“What do you lot want this time?”
“More cake?” they hissed, in more or less unison. “Like cake,” one added.
She knew feeding them would be trouble.
"It's either a biscuit each, or jam sandwiches."
“Here! Tie. Is good tie!”
Tiny hands held a small scrap of fabric, stained with something. Barbecue sauce? It wasn’t actually a tie. I politely accepted it anyway.
“Yess. You get job.”
“That’s the plan,” I nodded, putting on my suit jacket.
“Go now. No late! Much luck!”
“Thanks friends,” I said, leaving for my interview.
I had no idea why the goblins were in my house, but they always tried so hard to be helpful. In their own way, they always were.
'I am not a robot.' A simple looking little button on an otherwise plain web page. She shrugged and clicked it.
Alert! She frowned as an error message message popped up on screen. Some glitch? She clicked the button again.
She sighed deeply.
"Everything ok?" her wife asked, noticing her irritation.
"Nothing major. Just some glitch with this web form."
"Darling," a serious look, "there's something I need to talk to you about..."
She knew the advice for confronting tigers. Never look away first. But this was no tiger.
The dragon's eyes, amber with gold flecks, felt like they pierced her soul. In that moment, they knew each other.
She remembered a leaping from a mountaintop nest and spreading her wings for the first time. The dragon remembered training with a spear as a young girl and learning to hunt.
And they both remembered gazing at the stars and wishing for companionship.
One day, long ago, I was cursed. Such a painfully simple thing – that anything I tried to grasp would always be out of reach, with things I wasn’t looking for being the only things I’d ever find.
I can never break the curse. The moment I try to, it becomes impossible, destined to fail like everything else I care about enough to try for.
One day, frustrated, I simply gave up. Then, suddenly, I found all the things I never even knew I was missing.
An plant creature? Oh well, you get the idea, even if there are typos
A fire sprite who likes to hide in lampshades so she can prank people who think they're switching the lights off. Also, she can't touch anyone or she'll burn them. She likes to eat moths.
An elephant. Just literally an elephant. Except he likes to play baseball. He's the best pitcher on the team. They bought a reinforced bench so he can sit with the other players.
An alien who doesn't have any obviously recognisable face. Humans keep talking to her back by accident and she finds this hilarious
A fae who's just a tiny mushroom and likes to sit on the shoulder of her big human friend and give commentary on how weird she finds human culture.
You're friends with an alien. They're a 10 metre tall floating gas bag. You live in a 4th floor apartment and you move the TV close to the window so you can watch movies together.
An plant creature which is literally a tree, walking on big roots. He likes to hold your hand with a branch but keeps knocking things over when he tries to walk with you.
A dragon who likes reading books, but they're actually dragon sized. Their eyesight is good enough to read human sized print, but they need to very delicately hold the book in their talons. Sneezing is potentially catastrophic.
An alien who's totally not human but still likes to hug their human friends with their bulbous octopus-like arms.
A Sea Monster who is actually a huge scaly beast but makes friends with some humans and sits in the water by their ship, playing cards with its tentacles.
I know why people love making everything from aliens to mythical creatures human shaped. Because, you know, it lets them do typically human things without difficulty. Also, we've had decades of TV and movies where these things are played by either human actors, or made extremely anthropomorphic by animators.
But consider: How much would it improve stories if every writer decided to just... not do that?
“I can’t give up,” she thought to herself. “They’re all counting on me.”
With enormous effort, she raised her head and tried to stand with shaking legs. They all depended on her, as she did on them. That’s how everything kept working as it always had. Every contribution, no matter how small, an essential one.
“I can do this.” She steeled her resolve. “I will.”
Beating her tired wings, she lifted slowly into the air and began her flight back to the hive.
(I think this came from a Tumblr writing prompt? But I like it.)
"In this game, there are no consequences. So why do you still insist on playing the 'good' side?"
She replied with a raised eyebrow.
"You could simply reach out and take whatever you wanted, and none would be able to stop you. Few could even try. So why don't you?"
A pause. "If this really is a game with no consequences," she said eventually, "what point is there in playing anything other than the 'good' side?"
You receive a mysterious and mislabelled package in the mail. There is no return address. The package is covered with writing you cannot read. Inside, you find a bag of seeds, unlike any seeds you've ever seen before.
“Not now, I’m busy,” I said, not looking up.
“But,” the goblin looked disappointed, “but games!”
“I know, I like games too. But I have to finish my homework first.”
“Homework then games?” he looked up at me with beady little eyes, “what is homework?”
“Thermodynamics,” I grumbled. “It’s confusing.”
“I good at this! Clever goblin!” He pointed at my notebook, “this equation wrong. Internal energy. Heat energy MINUS work done BY system...”
At first, it seemed nothing much. A loose bolt here. A disconnected wire there. Missing cookies. People joked about gremlins, till I saw one.
It ignored me, chewing on a fuse before tossing it aside.
"Hey! Stop that!"
It hissed and fled, as an alarm sounded.
The reactor fault wasn't critical, and we avoided a meltdown. Luckily. Deep space evacuations never go well.
Since then, we keep a jar of cookies by the reactor core. It's worked so far.
(I don't usually redraft these, but I'm making an exception this time. Very occasionally, I just see a better wording and can't help myself.)
Just one in every billion people is born one of us. Some call it a gift. Others, a curse. Immortality has its ups and downs. Our eldest have watched humanity journey from the plains of Africa, off Earth, to the stars.
I don't know what caused the accident, but I do know I'm the only one left alive on this spaceship. It’s heading towards Sirius, and I have 120 years to figure out how to stop when I get there.
As I said, immortality has its ups and downs.
The faeries had been generous.
My table was constantly piled high with the best food, my clothing always fit perfectly, my shoes never pinched or rubbed my feet.
Anyone who knows anything about fairies knows you never accept gifts from them or eat their food, lest you be trapped and beholden to them.
But I decided since I was trapped in my apartment anyway, what the heck.
So far all they'd asked for in return was my Netflix password.
This account is my author’s notebook 📖🖋 Unless otherwise attributed, this is all my own writing. Please ask my permission before sharing or duplicating it elsewhere.
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