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Happily Ever After by Marjorie Owen

happily ever afterI am excited that Nothing Any Good can utilized as a platform, not only for assisting writers throughout the writing process and promoting their works, but also as a platform to explore new works from up-and-coming authors. Despite what some might think, I don’t believe writing should always be done in a vacuum. Having a community with whom to share essays, short stories, and musings is a valuable commodity for writers. I’m pleased to bring you our second short story by Jesse Dee’s beloved mother, Marjorie Owen.


Happily Ever After

by Marjorie Owen


“And so they were married and lived happily ever after.”

The little girl gave a sigh of blissful contentment, although she must have heard the story at least a dozen times before. Then, with the eternal optimism of children she begged, “Read me one more, granny. Just one.”

Laura Clayton closed the book firmly and stood up. “No more tonight, darling. Time you were asleep. Snuggle down now, and I’ll tuck you in.” This done, she kissed her granddaughter and went to the door, turning to look fondly at the child whose eyes were already closed. She’d soon be dead to the world, Laura thought.

She hurried along to the bathroom. Extraordinary, what a mess one small person’s bath time could make. She could imagine, all too well, the familiar icy look of tight-lipped disapproval on her daughter-in-law’s face if she saw the havoc there; she could hear the impatience, “Oh, leave it to me, mother!”

This always reduced her to a fumbling, inefficient idiot, of about the same age as her own granddaughter. Tidying away the little garments, putting the soggy towels in the linen basket, cleaning the bath, mopping down the walls, and trying to dry the worst bits of the carpet, her thoughts were scurrying around for the umpteenth time. Why, oh why, had she ever been so foolish as to agree to make her home with Roy and his wife? Working furiously away, she smiled wryly and muttered half aloud, “Money, my girl! That’s the beginning and end of that one. What else?”

When her husband died so suddenly, leaving his affairs in such a muddle, and it dawned on everybody there was absolutely nothing left, what alternative was there but to accept her son’s invitation to make her home with him? A woman in her forties with no skills, no training, and no experience. There seemed no other way out. That was two months ago and how bitterly she regretted it. It would have been better to have gone into one room, tried to get some sort of unskilled job, perhaps as a charwoman. They earned enough, God knew! Some cleaner I’d have made, she thought ruefully, regarding her inexpert attempts to get the bathroom cleaned up.

The trouble was she hadn’t known her son’s wife very well beforehand. The two families lived hundreds of miles apart and on their infrequent meetings; everyone was on his or her best behaviour. Laura had decided from the day of Roy’s wedding, she’d never become an interfering mother-in-law and the best way to achieve that was to keep a respectable distance between them. She despised those mothers of only sons who refused to cut the links.

For a few days after her arrival in their home, everything had been sweetness and light. They’d given her a very nice room, there were flowers to welcome her, and Roy seemed genuinely pleased to have his mother under his roof. Her daughter-in-law, Nancy, although not effusive in her greeting, had spoken kindly enough and said she hoped Laura would be comfortable. Then came the night of the dinner party, ostensibly held for her as an introduction to their friends and Roy’s business colleagues. Laura was quite looking forward to a little gaiety; dressed and made herself up very carefully so that she should be a credit to her son and his wife.

Copyright 2012: Michael James Owen



Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.



This delightful excerpt was shared with me by Jesse Dee, who found this story (and over fifty others) in a box after her mother had passed away. Jesse Dee chose a select few to share with the world.  You can find the short story on Smashwords and follow Jesse Dee  at her blog.

Here’s the tale of her mother and how Jesse Dee happened upon the stories.


WritingMarjorie Grace Patricia Bridget Owen was born on September 11th 1911 in England and endured the bombardment of World War II. She was born out-of-wedlock with an Irish Lord for a father and a Russian princess as her mother. Although her life before working is somewhat sketchy, her career, as a major London department store clothing buyer, was long and interesting. Members of the Royal family were amongst some of her more famous clients. Marjorie found time to write many short stories and four novels ranging from romance to mystery. She did not attempt to publish any of her writings. We can only surmise that she wrote for the joy and did not wish to seek out any recognition or fame.

Marjorie passed away on March 28th 2004, after a very full life, at the age of ninety-three.

Mum had told Mike that she had written a couple of stories and let him read them some years ago. She expressed no interest in having them published at that time. He was never aware of the amount that she had written until she passed away. Mike, being an only child and having no Aunts or Uncles, is the sole heir to Marjorie’s estate. He discovered the box full of Mum’s writings on clearing her flat in England and took them back to the USA.  

As an avid reader Dee (daughter-in-law) became fascinated with Mum’s stories and books. All her writings were hand written on legal size paper or note books and on both sides of the paper. Dee began reading some of the short stories (there are fifty plus).   After reading a few, she was hooked and decided to attempt, the monumental task of transcribing them to computer.   Mum’s writing was not the easiest to read, however, Dee had set herself the challenge and was going to follow through. At first, her husband, Mike assisted her with the ‘translation’ of Mum’s hand writing. At times they became frustrated with each other and Mum. After a couple of stories, Dee became the expert, reading Mum’s writing and even improving her own typing skills and speed. As yet, Dee has not completed the task, with a few more stories to go and two novels, after several years of work.

Your Thighs Are Huge

I’m excited that Nothing Any Good can be utilized as a platform, not only for assisting writers throughout the writing process and promoting their works, but also as a platform to explore new works from up-and-coming authors. Despite what some might think, I don’t believe writing should always be done in a vacuum. Having a community with whom to share essays, short stories, and musings is a valuable commodity for writers. I’m pleased to bring you a heartfelt essay by Sarah Warman.


indie author running

The author–Sarah Warman–running a 5k.


Your Thighs Are Huge

by Sarah Warman


I was basking in the sun on the Delaware beaches. I had just completed my first 5k and had even won my age group. In between dips into the ocean, I found myself discussing my accomplishment to a man and woman who had also ran the race. I told them how I was so excited to complete my first 5k because I had been a sprinter in high school and at one time could have only dreamed of running three consecutive miles.

That’s when he blurted it out, “Your thighs are huge.”

I didn’t get upset or mad. I just felt perplexed. I didn’t know how to respond. For his part I think it was a foot-in-mouth, not-meant-to-offend comment. But it still left me feeling confused. No one had ever told me that my thighs were huge. It wasn’t like they were out of proportion with the rest of my body or I had to search the mall for pants wider in the thigh. Was it a compliment? I wasn’t sure.


“I’m worried that young girls will see those images and think; “I need to have the ‘thigh gap.'” I’m here to tell them, “You don’t need it.”

For a while there’s been a trend circulating the Internet called the “thigh gap.” This bothers me. It doesn’t bother me on a personal level, but it bothers me because I think about the young teenage girls that are bombarded with images of the “thigh gap” and other so called “ideals.” I was fortunate to spend my high school years without social media and constant reminders of what I should expect myself to be. I’m worried that young girls will see those images and think; “I need to have the ‘thigh gap.'” I’m here to tell them, “You don’t need it.”

As a teenager I was fortunate to have positive experiences playing team sports including volleyball and basketball and also running track. My coaches never cared about my weight. How high could I jump? How fast could I run? It was our performance that mattered, not our appearance. I never had any concern over my weight or my clothing size. The only thing I cared about was if I was improving at my sport. But usually when I was good at my sport, I felt good about myself.

I can’t remember the last time I had a “thigh gap” or if I ever had one. If I was standing on that beach today hearing about my “huge” thighs I’d probably have a response. I’d say how my thighs are one of my favorite body parts. I’d say how even when I gain weight they still look strong and in shape. I’d talk about how they enable me to walk stairs of an observation tower to enjoy a wonderful view. I’d mention how they could walk for miles without getting tired or even squat over one hundred pounds. I would add how they have carried me over 26miles without collapsing and gave me more confidence than I ever knew I could have. I would say they make me feel grateful and proud, and that’s something no one will ever make me feel bad about.



This essay originally appeared August 15, 2014 on the Huffington Post.


Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.


Indie Author

Photograph taken by Andrew Warman

About the Author

Sarah Warman grew up in Southwestern Pennsylvania, raised by her parents who met in the steel mills of Pittsburgh. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Technology she moved to the eastern shore of Maryland so she could take walks on the beach whenever she pleased. After spending five years as a migrant, Sarah and her husband returned to their native Pittsburgh where they reside with their rescued cat. Her writing has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thought Catalog and her personal blog, Lunges, Long Runs and Lattes. She recently self published two ebooks including a book of essays entitled, Don’t Forget to Write and a short story entitled Seeking Vegas.


The Voices In My Head

short story


I am excited that Nothing Any Good can be utilized as a platform not only for assisting writers throughout the writing process and promoting their works, but also as a platform to explore new works from up-and-coming authors. Despite what some might think, I don’t believe writing should always be done in a vacuum. Having a community with whom to share essays, short stories, and musings is a valuable commodity for writers. I’m pleased to bring you Maria Nestorides and this haunting short story.


The Voices In My Head

by Maria Nestorides

I startle out of a dreamless sleep and it’s as if I’ve been under water and I’m coming up for air. That deafening silence my earplugs provide, throws me off kilter. Sometimes, when I pull them out of my ears after a night of tossing and turning, it’s like a release from being held captive in my head, in that void of isolation from the outside world. It’s just me and my voices. They argue their positions, quarrel with my logic, urge me to take action, insist they’re right.

I haven’t slept. Not properly, anyway. They’ve kept me up all night and I’m irritated, but I know they’ve been over-agitated because of what day it is today. A feeling swishes around inside me and among the familiar voices I hear one I haven’t heard in a year.

“Mommy,” it says.

And that feeling scales my throat, almost choking me. My arms are limp like the rag doll lying next to me in my bed.

“Today,” I whisper to her, picking her up. “I’ll take you to her today.” The rag doll smiles at me and gives me a little wink. She’s happy she’ll see Claire again. So am I, but I realise I must get up and get moving. I have a big day ahead.

I stand in front of the bathroom mirror so I can see my ruddy cheeks. My straw-coloured hair, like the fur of a shaggy dog, flops over my eyes. I smack my lips together. They feel dry. My finger glides over my lips and the sharp eucalyptus scent of my lip balm surrounds me. “Hello, how are you?” I say to myself and it’s as if I’ve opened a Pandora’s Box of voices that flood my head with profanities aimed at me. I’m tired. So tired. But I must find the strength, today of all days.

Great wafts of white breath stream from my nose and mouth. I walk with my coat collar pulled up as far as it will go, my steel-toe boots give me sure footing as the soles grip into the snow like a four-wheel drive. Not very feminine, I know, but then again, the only feminine thing I’ve ever done is give birth to Claire.

“What?” My voice rings out on the near-empty street and people huddled up in their coats scurry away from me, but I’m flustered at how many voices are echoing in my head today. And particularly Claire’s. But, then again, it’s only to be expected she would be speaking to me again today. “I know what to do,” I reply, “don’t keep nagging, you’re making my head hurt.” Laughter rings through my head, almost a cackle, and it conjures up evil feelings in me. I know this evil lurks in me.

Doctor Zinger’s office is warm, and the difference between the temperature outside and in here stifles me. My face must be ruddier than usual now and I pull my turtleneck sweater away from my throat to release the pent-up heat from my body.

“Hey, Dr Zinger,” I reply. “How’s it going? Good, good. Voices? No, no, none.” I shake my head, trying to appear truthful. “These meds really do work.”

Dr Zinger’s eyes: brown, understanding, pitying, mocking, say, I am better than you. Look at me sitting in my ergonomic leather swivel armchair, solving your problems because I can and you can’t. Behold me. His mouth moves. Words I know how to react to are shot out at me and I manoeuvre in the way I have become an expert at, the way I was trained to do back in grad school, swatting some words here, acceding defeat to others, but staying in balance, never winning, but never losing, either. That way I don’t attract too much attention. He would catch on if I did, if I lost or if I won. I would be labelled “uncooperative” or “delusional.” This way, the way I manoeuvre myself, I get away with it. I answer the routine questions, yes, I take my meds every day; yes I feel much better; yes I’m sure if I keep doing everything you tell me to do, Dr Zinger, I will be able to function in society without much difficulty.

“Yep, I take them religiously, exactly the way you told me to, Doc. I’m working today. Yeah, I’ll be driving cross-country. California. No, I don’t have any other issues I want to discuss with you. Except…” His face lights up as if this is the highlight of our session, as if he wants something to be wrong with me. “The company has installed GPS systems in all the trucks.”

And I realise it the moment the words are out of my mouth I’ve given him a prize catch. “No, the GPS system doesn’t bother me, actually.” I try to make a quick save. “I wanted to tell you they’ve installed them and if this had been a year ago, I would have been freaking out, wouldn’t I?” As he nods at me, I want to bludgeon him with the butt of one of the bespoke fishing rods he must have lined up in a custom-built closet at home.

“Yes, I know what day it is today. Claire… Claire… No, it’s okay, I don’t need a tissue. I’m fine. I think I caught cold. There are so many germs going around, even though I spend most of my time alone in the truck. Maybe it’s something I picked up at one of the truck stops. Yes, I’ll be fine. Thank you for everything, Dr Zinger. I’ll see you after I get back. What?” I nod my head. “Yes, I’ll call if I need anything. Thanks again.”

I pull myself up into my truck. I’ve decorated it a little, you know, so it feels somewhat homely when I’m on the road for days. Hanging from the rear-view mirror is one of those cardboard, pine-scented, tree cut-outs. I’ve got a cup holder on the dash right next to the picture of my little girl. It’s the one I gave to the police when they were looking for her, the one I made sure they gave back to me when they didn’t find her, and it’s stuck there with two-sided tape next to an image of Jesus Christ on the cross my mom gave me. My mom always told me Jesus died for me. For me! Imagine that. In the picture, Claire is wearing that blue calico dress her daddy brought back from his trip to Albany. He didn’t bring anything back for me. Only for Claire. I pretended I didn’t mind, but when he wasn’t looking, I put something in his meatloaf that made him very good friends with our toilet basin for a couple of days. I could’ve done worse. I was lenient that time.

I love driving. It’s the only time the voices are quiet. Or at least, quieter. This is a long, icy stretch of road but I’m not worried. I’m a seasoned driver. I’ve driven through some of the most sweltering heat and some of the worst snowstorms this country has ever seen, when we were up to our eyeballs in the fluffy stuff. But it was different back then when it was my truck, the road and me. Sometimes the radio kept me company with a bit of rock n roll. The pure stuff. Nothing like the ‘music’ they play today. Elvis tells me it’s evil and I believe him. Have you heard how much profanity there is in these new ‘songs’ as they like to call them? Half the time there isn’t even anybody singing, there’s somebody talking over the music. Elvis says God will punish them but that’s where he’s wrong, see? I’m tired of waiting for God to do His job. I’m the one who has to take charge of my issues – no one else. Dr Zinger made that clear to me.

The white lane dividers on the highway sweep past one by one and I tap out a rhythm with my fingers on the steering wheel. I can almost feel the GPS beep sending a shock through me with every ping they receive back at base. I’m on the right route. I won’t stray. Like last year. At least I know nobody’s managed to stick a GPS locator anywhere on my body. I know. I’ve checked everywhere. I haven’t been to the dentist in God knows how long, and I don’t have any cavities that have ever been filled. I know fillings are the best place to hide tracking devices. I haven’t been to the gynaecologist since Claire was born. If I get weirded out that someone’s planted one on me while I’m asleep, I hack the skin open there, and dig into the wound with my fingers, just to make sure. Sure, it’s painful, but better to be safe than sorry, I say. Yep I’m pretty sure my body is free of all bugs.

But this truck isn’t. No. That’s why I drove my car up here last weekend. I didn’t want their GPS picking up any stops I’d make with my truck because, let’s face it, they know where I am, where I’m going, where I stop for fuel, how fast I drive, how long I stay in the sleeper, they tell me what route to drive, how many RPMs I can use when I climb a hill, and it goes on and on and on. So I used the Chevy and drove up last weekend. I left it in the parking lot and hitchhiked back. They say hitchhiking is dangerous, but the guy that picked me up was as sweet as honey. I fucked him. You know, as a sort of payment for services rendered. I’m not one to neglect my responsibilities. Not that I didn’t enjoy it. I wasn’t going to refuse myself a little pleasure. The only trouble is that the voices get worse when I’m on an emotional high, so what with the voices in my head, and the guy moaning, I kept telling him to shut the fuck up. He was a moaner, I’ll tell you that much.

Last year when I drove up with Claire, she sang all the way there, bless her, and I even joined in towards the end. I was happy she was going to be free, at last. Free from all the despondency and disorders of this world. This was not the life I wanted for her. Hell, this wasn’t the life I wanted for me, either.

A spike of pain pierces through my head and it spreads down to the cradle within me that held Claire for nine months. The pain always spreads down, as a reminder that I should never forget. Especially not today. The anniversary of the day she abandoned all earthly cares and joined the angels. I’ve been dreading and anticipating today with a tingle in my belly instead of that dull ache that usually throbs through me.

Not far to go, now. I leave the truck at the truck stop so they won’t be able to track where I’m going and walk a few hundred feet to the parking lot.

There. My little Chevy. I hope it makes it in this snow. It’s never failed me so far. The Chevy feels like a Matchbox car after the truck. I drive for a while until I reach the place and get out.

Gentle flakes of snow fall around me. The sound of each one of my steps echoes through my head. Everything sounds so loud, as if it’s been amplified. I can hear a leaf drop, a drop of water drip down to the ground, the ruffling of my clothes. I put my hands over my ears but it doesn’t make a difference. A bead of sweat lines my upper lip despite the cold. Free! Free! Free! The words echo in my head. The voice sounds squeaky and high-pitched and I realise I’m the one yelling it. My throat stings as the words bubble up from my gut, through my throat, out, into the void expanse of white.

“Shut the fuck up!” scream the voices. I’m used to the hissed profanities in my ear that tell me of my uselessness, my spinelessness.

The place hasn’t changed much since I was here last year. It’s an opening in a clearing in the middle of a wooded area. The kind where you can see the sky if you lie down and look up, past the tall trees that seem to go up forever and caress the sky. I want to ask them to take me up with them. The voices are getting louder. I knew they would. They sense my excitement and they’re excited, too.

I find where Claire is buried.

I remember her expression as the knife pierced through her soft skin, into her belly. I’d read somewhere it’s a sure way to end someone’s life. Her eyes were full of surprise. I think she couldn’t believe she was going to be free at last. She was so grateful to me. She kept calling out ‘Mommy, mommy.’ “Hush Claire, don’t thrash so, you’ll be at peace soon,” I said. I wanted to tell her she didn’t need to thank me, that it was part of a mother’s duty to keep her child’s best interests in mind. She made the snow so beautiful, with that deep crimson flow from her body. Beautiful. There is such beauty in nature, but you just have to know where to look and you have to have the courage to release it. It’s not easy being brave. Ask me, I know.

I pull the same hunting knife from my belt now. It’s grown warm close to my body and I position it so it’s facing inwards towards my own belly. I’m surprised at how much strength I need to thrust the knife inside me. My body is a lot tougher than Claire’s. The voices sound delirious now. They are ecstatic, laughing and celebrating. I am too. I’m going to be with Claire today. I feel the warmth flowing from me and soon there is another beautiful creation in the snow. I scrape my fingers through the crimson surge, mixing my blood with the white snow. It’s a work of art. The cold grasps me by the throat, squeezes me until I can’t feel it any more. Until I’m floating next to the tree tops and I can see myself lying on the cold, snowy ground, my arms spread out as I lie face down in the pure white, and I hug the place where I laid my little Claire to eternal rest.

I repeat the last words I spoke to her. “Hush Claire, don’t thrash so, you’ll be at peace soon.”

And so will I.


Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

About the Author

Maria Nestorides lives in sunny Cyprus with her husband and two teenage children. Her short stories have been published online at The Story Shack Magazine  and also on InkittMaria also contributed a memoir to the book Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak: by Writers Famous and Obscure by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser. You can find Maria on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and LinkedIn.


Freak Show by Assaph Mehr

Short Story

Award-winning female musician and performer with an angelic voice, Conchita Wurst.

I am excited to be able to utilize Nothing Any Good as a platform, not only for assisting writers throughout the writing process and promoting their works, but also as a platform to explore new works and first takes. Despite what some might think, I don’t believe writing should always be done in a vacuum. Having a community with whom to share essays, short stories, and musings is a valuable commodity for writers. I’m pleased to bring you the very talented Assaph Mehr.


Freak Show

by Assaph Mehr

One of my fondest childhood memories is that of the circus. Our village was quite remote, out of the way of anything interesting. The biggest excitement was the annual roasting of pumpkin seeds in midsummer. Once a year, before the snows completely melted yet, the same circus troupe would come through, pitch their big tent in an empty field, and entertain us country folk with glimpses of faraway things and miscellaneous oddments.

It never occurred to me to wonder why they would bother with such a small village. Some people paid the entry fee with chickens, and most kids just snuck in one way or another. I knew not where they came from and where they were headed next — all I cared about was that they were here!

One crisp early April morning we’d wake up and see the carts drawing up in the big field. We’d all go, all the children, and watch them hammer the tent pegs into the still frozen ground, set the poles, hoist the ropes and canvas. By the end of the day a big, bright tent would stand up, its wide vertical stripes of red and yellow a happy contrast against the greyish-green of the forest behind it, the golden pennants at the top of the poles fluttering in the stiff breeze.

It was the same show every year, but knowing what to expect just made it better. There was the strongman — a short and stocky character, as wide as he was tall, bearded and muscled. He did amazing things to steel bars. There were the acrobats — a pair of slim and flighty girls, with wild streaming hair and an infectious laugh, their aerial stunts on the flying trapeze made them appear weightless. And the short clown with the big nose building impossible machinery culminating in a human cannonball was a guaranteed laugh.

Then there were the animals, of course. Creatures we only heard about in stories, only saw in illustrated books. They were brought forth, paraded for our amusement, made to sit, walk and do daring tricks for treats. In between everything were clowns and jugglers, telling jokes and slipping on banana peels.

But my favorite was the woman who sang at the end. Her voice was absolutely magical, pure, enchanting. She sang in many languages, but we didn’t need to understand the words to feel what she was singing about. Everyone hushed up for her show as soon as lights dimmed and the spotlight shone on her — the bearded elven lady.




I ran into her a few months ago. I was on the road for my work. Travelling between big cities, my car broke down and I was forced to stop in a small wayside village for the night. I spent my dinner there, worrying about missed appointments and road-side service, when I saw her sitting at the back.

There was no mistaking her. Five foot tall, slim, so fair her skin shown, and high cheekbones that stood out even through her beard the colour of moonlight. She hasn’t aged a day.

I got us two pints at the bar, and went to her table. “Will you share a drink with me?” I asked, and added with a smile “It’s a small compensation for all the times I snuck into the big tent without payment.”

She looked at me for a moment with a faraway look, and then focused and said, “Of course. Please sit. I remember you. Some years it seemed like you would swallow every note I sang with your big eyes and ears.”

We chatted for a while reminiscing of times gone by. I was a man now, wiser in the ways of the world, though I think to her our lives were as brief as the twinkling of a faery light.

The troupe had fell apart some years after I left for college. First it was the animals. The urban development encroached on the forest, and it became harder to coax the griffins through. The unicorns flatly refused to come once the hydro-electric dam was built.

“Without the animals,” the lady went on, “the entertainers drifted away as well. In ones and twos, they went to seek their own individual fortunes. First to go where those who always found it hardest to make the trek to the human villages — the trolls who built the tent and sets, then the orcish clowns and the ogress dance group. The gnome packed up his devices and is employed these days in some high-tech military start-up, building cannons.”

“But worst was the dwarf who did the strongman act,” she said. “It turned out he had an affair with one of the brownie acrobats. We were never sure which one of the twins it was,” she confided in me, “and to be honest I don’t think he knew either, or cared much. When they left, all three left together. Their husband Baaz — you remember the gremlin who did the accounts, don’t you? — he was devastated when they left. Drank himself silly on gnomish mead, till one day he faded away beyond the gauntlet. After that no one was left.”

I looked outside to the centuries-old village square, with the church across from us with its thick walls of uneven stones, the roads with pavements worn smooth by years of treading men and animals. I looked at the cars now parked on those pavements, on the metal phone booth painted bright red in to the side, on the tall poles with wires running everywhere, connecting to the church’s bell tower and supplying electricity to a chandelier that once had to be lowered daily so that new tallow candles could be set and lit and was now mounted with energy-saving light-bulbs.

“And what about you?” I asked.

“That same indiscretion my grandmother had with a gnome that gave me my beard, also gave me a certain affinity to mechanical contraptions. Not enough to like it, but enough to withstand the pace of the modern world. I fear I might have to go beyond the gauntlet soon, though I wish to stay here just a while longer, to be the last of the fae to cross. In the mean time I perform in pubs and bars in remote villages like this, where they still appreciate the old songs.”

Her break was over, she drained her glass, got up. She stepped on the stage, and I noticed there was no microphone or sound equipment. “This one goes to those children who refuse to grow up,” she said, and I could swear she was looking right at me.

She sang a song I haven’t heard in years. It made my heart flutter, and at once consumed with both joy and sorrow. I felt like a child again, sneaking in the cold April morning into the big tent, the world still a wondrous place to be discovered. It turned into a song of loss, but then went beyond it and ended up in notes too pure to be described.

When she was done I was a grown man again, despite what might be assumed from the single tear rolling gently down from my eye.


Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

Assaph Mehr is the author of Murder In Absentia, an “historically-themed urban high-fantasy hardboiled murder mystery, with just a dash of horror.” When he’s not busy mashing up genres, he writes short stories and flash fiction on, and interviews characters out of novels (yeah – the characters!) on

Do check them out. You’ll make his cat very happy, and that could be your good deed for the day.


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