Chapter Eighteen

“THIS IS FINE!” I scream again, my brain trying to decide if it’s time to panic or time to have a meltdown. The part of me that doesn’t like the idea of being cooked alive in a Tim Hortons has me wanting to sprint from the building, but the part of me that fears sirens and fire-breathing spider queens is fighting equally hard to curl up under a blazing table. Continue reading

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Chapter Seventeen

When I’d previously thought of the kind of being with enough power to save the entire world from hostile invasion, I hadn’t considered slight young women about five-feet-tall, wearing ostentatious headscarfs and big sunglasses, who carry their knitting with them in a carpet bag. What’s more, even if I’d had such an imagination, I wouldn’t have foreseen that I’d encounter such a woman rampaging through a local coffee house, yelling that she’d had a bad day and if everyone didn’t just leave her the hell alone, she’d turn them into trifle. Continue reading

Chapter Sixteen

I stare out the window of Ben’s truck as the Tim Horton’s pulls into view. I never thought I’d miss the days where the biggest thing I had to worry about were half-human caribou robbing produce from me, but here we are. I peek into the rearview mirror and watch as the centaurs-not-centaurs gallop after us down the empty road, hooves thundering against the pavement as they charge full speed towards where the supposed secret weapon is enjoying a coffee. Continue reading

Chapter Fourteen

I take my cell phone off the back of the toilet and click the power button, expecting it to light up and show me the time, but remembering sadly—and not for the first time—that the phone died hours ago (or was it days?). I press and hold the button again, hoping that its dead battery might miraculously come to life, but when it inevitably doesn’t, I put the phone back on the tank in a huff and try to get comfortable on the ceramic tiles, leaning back against the hard edge of the bathtub. I close my eyes and extend my legs as I try to relax. Continue reading

Chapter Thirteen

It was half past three in the afternoon, and the bi-monthly meeting of the town’s support group for monsters with social anxiety was winding down. Once again, as with each of the previous four occasions, Esme had been the only attendee. There had been a brief moment of excitement an hour in when a disembodied voice had suddenly blared out of thin air behind her, causing her to think that she’d been joined by an invisible man. She’d been disappointed to find that it was just a podcast blaring out of a mobile phone that someone had left on a table when they visited the little boy’s room. Continue reading

Chapter Twelve

“Oh! Mon amour!”

I rush to Pierre’s side as he hits the ground, head thumping hard against the concrete floor of the garage. I momentarily panic at the thought of it breaking open like a soft melon. But it doesn’t—people, it would seem, are sturdier than I remember them—and I cradle his head in my lap. Or, more specifically, the lap of my front hooves. I stroke his hair off his forehead, which is warm and much too moist, and lean my face close to his to make sure he’s breathing. When I feel a small exhalation from his nose, I give a sigh of relief and look over at his friend. Continue reading

Chapter Ten

It takes a minute for me to register the pain between my legs, but once my body processes it, it’s like a small fire erupting through my groin and up my back. I cup my hands over myself as I crumple to the ground, making strange mewling sounds that leave everyone—myself included—uncomfortable. As I fall in a heap the rat thing—when did Ben adopt a rat thing?—smacks me hard over the head with the dull end of his spear. I try to cover my bits and my skull with my hands at the same time as the thing lifts his stick to smack me again. Continue reading

Chapter Nine

I reckon I make a pretty package, trussed up in spider webbing like a turkey for the table. Only my heavy boots are poking out the one end, and my long beet-red face out the other. Two-dozen quantlings and more are carrying me above their heads into the undergrowth, and I wouldn’t like that situation any day of the week, but these guys are the world’s worst mail couriers. By the time they’ve bounced me off a passing tree or dropped my corners into swampy puddles for the tenth time, I can honestly say I wouldn’t even hire them to do baggage handling at the airport. Continue reading