First-place winner of the 12th Annual Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition. Read it here.
Work in progress:YA magical realism
THE WIDE STARLIGHT
THE WIDE STARLIGHT
When Eli was six years old, she was a happy Norwegian girl living on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. Then one winter night, her mother took her out onto a frozen fjord, whistled at the Northern Lights, and disappeared into the sky. Everybody says it couldn't possibly have happened that way, but Eli knows it did. She remembers the stories that used to creep out of her mother's books, the magic the two of them shared and hid from the world. The way it slowly consumed her mother and ripped her away.
Now Eli's sixteen, a sad, almost-American girl living on Cape Cod with her dad. One morning she finds a note tucked under a bush in her yard. Your mother is close, it says in Norwegian. Call her. Eli doesn't understand what it means until that night, when the Northern Lights appear in the sky. She whistles at the lights, and later, her mother appears. Eli's so thrilled to see her that she can almost ignore the fact that her mother smells like burnt matches and has ice for fingernails.
But she can't ignore the magic that's seeping back into her life -- the narwhals mysteriously appearing in Cape Cod Bay, the electronics shorting out in her house, the tiny meteorites landing in her yard. The three silent girls in long cloaks who follow her everywhere. When the narwhals strand themselves on a beach and one dies, Eli tells her mother she has to make it stop. As abruptly as she appeared, her mother disappears. Eli's devastated. Until she finds a note tucked in her coat pocket:
Find me where I left you.
MG magical realism
Twelve-year-old Maren works in a shop that sells hand-crafted dreams. Together with her great-grandmother, she collects ingredients and mixes them up into tiny sachets that go under a person's tongue just as they're about to fall asleep. The only rule is that you cannot give the dreams to someone without their consent. Break the rule, and you're banned from the store for life.
Maren's sister, Hallie, is in a coma, and Maren has been itching to give her dreams as a way to communicate with her. The rule seems so unfair, given her situation. Nobody will find out if she slips her just one.
But someone's watching Maren. And she wants nightmares for her own revenge.