Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Fortune Teller (538 words)

The carnival rolled into the fields at dusk, its spirited music carried into town by the wind. Every window had been open, desperate for the night chill and we listened to the swell of the whistle and drums as they arrived, far from sleep. There had been no wind before it came.

In the morning, the field was crowded with show tents. It was a tangle of brilliant stripes and pennants, painted wagons, clapping flags, a wild thing that had crept up out of the woods while we slept. I watched it out of the corner of my eye while I wandered through my morning chores.

Terea ran up the hill to meet it just as soon as she could. Ardin and Sida and Kol and Demi paraded in a tight knot, straight to the center. Rhinda and Nolke swung by my house and I waved them on ahead. I dragged my feet up the hill an hour later.

“You look tired,” a clown said, painted from head to waist in blue paint. His face was drawn in an absurd white smile. The glittering chain in his hands rattled as the lion he held turned its head.

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Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Sideshow (609 words)

“Are those tentacles?” Zain leaned toward the glass, but didn’t touch it. He held his hands in his pockets, and tilted his head.

The water in the tank was entirely the wrong color, blue-green as an entire ocean when there was only an arm’s length between the glass sides. The single lamp barely lit the windowless cabin and the water seemed to glow, turning the thing inside into shadow. It swayed, glided from one side of the tank to the other. The glass was rippled, thick, and flawed, distorting it from moment to moment.

Jaera circled the tank, keeping Zain’s same distance. “I think some of them are.”

Leaning one shoulder against the wall by the door, Terius shut his eyes. “I don’t want to think about that.”

“That one definitely has joints,” Jaera said. She almost touched the glass, pointing to a limb tangled with the rest.

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