Monthly Archives: January 2016

No. 581

“Teeth,” said Aubry Simmonds. “It had lots and lots of teeth.”

She clutched her pillow closer, and shuffled toward the middle of her bed.

“That’s all you’ve noticed so far? You told me it’s been haunting you for a month!” replied Dana Burnham, Aubry’s best friend. Dana leaned back into the chair in the corner of the room. “You have got to be more specific!”

“They’re what stand out,” Aubry insisted. “But the rest is freaky, and huge, and gross.”

Penhaul, the demon, watched from behind the closet doors. He used one clawed-hand to cover his mouth. Then he slowly wrapped his wings around himself and curled up into a ball. It wasn’t his fault he was freaky and huge and gross, and he’d always felt self-conscious about the amount of teeth he had.

“Why do you think it picked you?” Penhaul heard Dana say from the other side of the doors.

“I have no idea,” said Aubry. “I’m getting really tired of it. I really wish it would just got back to Hell, or wherever, and leave me alone.”

Penhaul sniffled, and struggled to hold back tears.

“What was that?” asked Aubry. “It’s back. Sounds like it’s in the closet! You’ll see about the teeth.”

Penhaul heard the girls get up and run toward his hideout. He closed his eyes, and vanished in a puff of oily smoke.

“Ew. What is that smell?” said Dana.

“That’s him. It was totally here,” said Aubry.

“This stink is going to be hard to get out of your clothes,” Dana observed. She knelt down and picked up a piece of paper.

“What’s that?” asked Aubry.

“Looks like a note,” Dana replied. She flattened the paper out and began to read it. Then she burst out laughing and handed it to Aubry. “It’s a love letter from your boyfriend,” she managed to get out.

Aubry read the letter.

“Deer Awbree. My name is Penhaul. I am sory that I scare yu. I am sory abowt my teeth. I like yu a lot. Do yu want to wach a movee with me? Frum Penhaul.”

Aubry looked at Dana. “This makes me the bad guy, doesn’t it?”

Dana started laughing again.

No. 580

“If only you’d kissed me, we wouldn’t be here right now!” he shouted across no-man’s land.

“You are a frog!” the Princess called back. “It was disgusting then, and it’s disgusting now!”

“So many have died,” said the Frog. “And for what? You know I’m a prince!”

“You chose revenge. You started the war,” said the Princess. “Don’t play innocent now. Look at your army, and tell me if it was worth it.”

The Frog looked back and surveyed his men. The battles had taken a toll. They would follow their commander, human or not, but it was clear that they would not last much longer.

“One last request?” he asked the Princess.

The Princess, from behind her castle walls, watched the amphibian at the head of his troops. In a way, she respected him. It had taken courage to lead a nation into battle, despite the witch’s spell. Still, she was a Princess, and she couldn’t be expected to put her royal lips on any old slimy creature that asked. She sighed, imagining what could have been.

“I’m sorry it had to be this way,” she replied to her tiny suitor.

The Frog blinked slowly, knowing what was next.

The Princess turned to return to her chambers. On the way, she whispered a single word to the general standing beside her.

“Fire.”

 

No. 579

He made her laugh, and she turned into a song. He believed in the magic, and thought that if he could find a combination of notes just so, they would bring her back.

During the day he wrote piece after piece, trying to tease out a hint of the music he half-remembered. Nights were spent playing. First, in empty, smokey bars and, later, packed concert halls.

The years passed. They called him one of the most influential musicians of all time.

When he finally found her, she was in the synthesizer riff of a little tune called ‘Why You’ll Never Know’, a minor pop hit by a manufactured British girl-band that briefly made the Top Ten. She made him laugh, and he turned into a song