Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Gone Overboard (363 words)

At that point, sense, logic, and sanity abandoned ship. Captain Ricksen hadn’t imagined they would make such a splash when they went over the rail.

He had thought they would make a good splash. Something solid, and a little long, echoing a flailing sort of motion, because nothing enters the water in a clean dive when it’s shoved over the rail. But not the solid, hollow sound of one of the longboats settling into choppy water.

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Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Stupid Isthmus of Erganadon (631 words)

“You are the reason we have been banned from four countries.” Sadie made her accusation with all the seriousness that could be mustered while munching on gummy bears, and still managed to make Dana pause in the middle of picking up the dice. Dana wasn’t sure how one was supposed to get past being given a death glare by a twenty-five year old woman in Cheery Banana pajama pants while she decapitated a cherry red Ursus Major with her teeth.

Sadie chewed and glared. Dana took a deep breath.

“Yes,” Dana said slowly. “And?”

Sadie’s eyebrows rose, making it clear that there was no and. Her statement had been absolutely complete, perfectly succinct in its meaning and it’s demand for repentance.

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Flash Fiction: Good-Humored Dislocation (437 words)

Marus tried to remember the exact moment they had realized they were lost, and could not. It had been a slow thing, he knew, a staging of one tree after another that had turned out not to be that tree. They pointed at one tree, then a second, then a third and fourth, which did not deliver them back to the road after the correct number of strides between precise turns toward the sun. Somewhere in between Marus had suspected. By the end he had been sure, but it felt as if he had been sure for a long time.

But he tried to recall, because for a little while – for hours really – being lost had not been a bad thing. It had been a joke, and then an adventure, and then just one of those things that happened and was easy to shrug off. Now, it was horrible, and it would have been nice to know the time limit on good-humored dislocation.

Wandering between the trees, tired of picking directions, he shoved his hands into his pockets.

“Have we gone this way before?” Kieda asked behind him. The question narrowly avoided being an accusation, and Marus decided to ignore it.

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Flash Fiction: Adulthood (337 words)

The apartment was silent as Dana opened the front door. It was no great surprise. She had worked extra hours, coming back too late to catch Sadie just as barged in with her I-have-escaped-the-office-for-the-day-rush, and too early for the music and running around when her roommate decided to squeeze a few more moments out of the day.

Dana took off her shoes, and meandered down the hall to Sadie’s door. It was cracked open, allowing a yellow shaft of light to cross the carpet. Inside, there was the steady tap of computer keys without any real purpose. Pushing the door open, Dana leaned against the frame and looked in.

Sadie was curled into her padded chair, laptop on her knees, comfortably quiet.

“Hey,” Dana said. “Have you gotten dinner? I was thinking about ordering in.”

It took a moment for Sadie to drag her attention up from the screen. She blinked once at Dana before she finally managed it. Then her mouth started to curve into a low smile. “Dinner?” she asked.

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Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Always More Books (563 words)

Voss watched Steph work for a moment before rapping on the door frame. He figured it was time for a little interruption. The other boy had been bent over his books every time Voss walked down the hall in the last four hours. Voss might have even believed that he had fallen asleep on them, head on fist, other hand wrapped instinctively around his pencil like a child’s comfort, except that Steph had the constitution of a mountain. He was the only one Voss knew who had never fallen asleep in Master Kiddel’s first-thing-after-lunch history-of-stone-and-sand-and-other-earth-old-mindless-subjects lectures. Still as he was, long as he’d been sitting there, there wasn’t a book on earth that could send him to sleep.

Steph didn’t move when Voss knocked.

Voss glanced at the wooden door frame, then at his knuckles still poised beside them. He was sure he had knocked, but the longer that it rested in memory, the less he remembered the sound, and he began to doubt it.

Steph turned a page. The paper crinkled, loud, or maybe just loud in the silence that stretched as Voss tried to remember if he’d already announced himself.

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Flash Fiction: Happy (1484 words)

The kid reminded Zain of Terius. It was an odd thing to think, looking at him from behind as they snuck down the stairs, watching Silas’ curly dirty blonde hair bounce with each quiet jump down the steps, and feeling at exactly the same time as if he were looking at himself through a time-twisted mirror. But Zain thought it just the same.

Silas continued to sneak down the steps, sure of his way around the house. He darted to one side or the other to avoid creaking steps, the same way that Zain might in the mansion he himself had been raised in for the last decade. Where Zain might have looked back and grinned at the chance to show off, Silas stayed facing forward, serious about his sneaking.

He was quiet, too, Zain realized. Not hushed to hide himself as they reached the end of the stairs, but actually quiet, as if he might not have run through the house all that differently had they not been trying to make it to the front of the house without their mother or father catching sight of them.

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Flash Fiction: Better Insult the Duke (1123 words)

In the warm light of the open taproom, Jenny leaned forward over the table, arms crossed, shoulders hunched forward to protect the smile twisting her lips. Across from her, Jasen leaned as far back as he could, shoulder blades pressed into his chair back, but his long legs were kicked lazily under the table.

“You can’t,” he said flatly.

Jenny’s smile twisted higher. “Sure, I can,” she said.

“You can’t,” he repeated, quick, as if he were playing the last seconds over, giving her the chance to take back her ridiculous argument.

Between them, Bess rested her elbows gently on the edge of the table, and held a full cider mug under her chin. She glanced at Jenny as Jasen spoke, then quick to Jasen to catch his reaction to her response, back and forth, back and forth. She didn’t laugh, because it would have ruined the flow of it, but she wanted to. At the glint in Jenny’s eye. At the smile that was creeping onto Jasen’s face despite the helpless and disbelieving look that was growing in his eyes.

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Flash Fiction: Chair Climbing Expedition (556 words)

As far as bruises went, it was a beauty, the kind that any ten-year-old would have run to show their friends and catch another chance to tell their epic story of Falling Out of the Jackson’s Tree. It was more blue than black, with fresh red edges, not dense enough to have been any deep hit, but bright enough to catch attention. It ran in a straight line, just above the back of Sadie’s knee, almost hidden in the hem of her skirt as she moved up the stairs ahead of Dana, like a seamstress mark for alterations.

“What happened?” Dana asked.

Sadie looked back, curious, then bent back to look at her leg, smiling. “Chair climbing expedition.”

“Ah.” Dana nodded. “Everything okay?”

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Legal Theft Fiction: Symptoms (643 words)

He was sick, but it was a good sick, the kind after which he felt better, the kind with which he was all too familiar. There was no permanence to it, just a certain slush and shallow to his thoughts, a disinclination to move, and the distinct impression that, in a moment, he would stomp his feet hard enough to crack the lead from his bones.

Toar stood at the window, and bounced on his toes experimentally. Then he dropped back onto his heels. Something cracked, but he only felt heavier. Groaning, he braced himself against the window frame, and his groan twisted into a laugh.

“Get back into bed,” Jaera said.

Toar turned toward the door. She pushed it open with her elbow, entering without looking at him. In one hand she had a coffee pot, and in the other, his favorite tall, white mug.

Toar raised his eyebrows at her.

She slid farther into the room and set the pot on the square table beside his bed. Putting the mug beside it, she turned it so the handle pointed purposefully toward the pillow. Then she turned, found him watching her, and raised her eyebrows too, a quick mimic of his disbelieving expression.

“Get back into bed,” she said.

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Flash Fiction: Broke Down (402 words)

“It’s a shame about your face,” Leah said.

Standing at the side of the road with her arms crossed, Shae glanced at her, then glanced back down the winding pavement. “Thanks,” she said.

“I mean, you just had it waxed,” Leah said.

Shae bit her lip, ran her tongue along the edge of it, and nodded again. “Yeah…”

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