Author: August Niehaus

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A slice of watermelon on a wooden table with the word "Summertime" seemingly carved into it
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Summertime

Grandmother promised thick slices of watermelon, if only the three girls could shuck the corn before dinner time. They worked as fast as their tiny hands allowed, gripping great soft handfuls of silk and squealing at the wet-boot sound of the leaves tearing away. When they ran back to Grandmother, raising the large bowl of...

Law of the Unknown
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Law of the Unknown

“Welcome,” said the reedy voice, a thin stream of nasal syllables flowing down Main Street, “to Judehiah Dooldy’s Travelling Spectacle of the Sinister and the Sublime!” Unbeknownst to the crier, an enterprising boy skulked beneath his feet, under the temporary wooden stage set up by the travelling show-folk. Rex Summerfield reached the far end of...

Droplet Drummers
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Droplet Drummers

Cool breeze through the kitchen window. Jezi smiled wistfully as she raised her mug to her lips—not to drink, just to breathe the steam. Today, every sensation she experienced at a heightened state. Late-summer’s radiated warmth, yes, and the coming of fall’s chill to tickle the senses; but also the wedding. “The wedding,” Papa said,...

All Hands on Deck
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All Hands on Deck

“I’ve gathered you all here today because…” Hanna chokes on her words mid-sentence and muffles the rest of it with her over-long sweatshirt sleeves. “…because I’m pretty sure Chloe is a demon.” There are four others gathered around Hanna’s platform of gym mats: Priya with her twin endless braids; Leo of the bottomless closet of...

The Instinct
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The Instinct

I peer into the rear-view mirror of the Model 3, carefully lifting and tucking rolls of golden hair off my neck. Both my hair and my neck look best that way, and tonight I need to look my best. The Uber driver, who the app introduced to me as “Randy,” slams on his brakes and...

Read-Write
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Read-Write

Hent never held his breath. A witch’s curse kept his family from being swimmers or blowing out birthday candles or taking advantage of the wish-enhancing powers of tunnels, for fear of their held breath catching as per the terms of the curse. But here and now—in the Upper Bough of the supply tree, on Clean...

Son of Rock
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Son of Rock

January 7, 2319: Old Rock Day “I don’t understand why you choose to torment me like this,” Fred’s mother said, and Fred hung up and threw the phone across the room. He ground his teeth together. He had placed the long-distance call to StarChip III to wish her happy Mother’s Day, thinking—wishing? Dreaming? Naïvely believing?—she...

Hilda’s Secret
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Hilda’s Secret

“Bye, Mama!” Hilda squealed as she pushed out the door. Ylsa clung to her like a furry shadow, ducking to Hilda’s left side to avoid the satchel swinging at the girl’s side. “Before dark, Hilda!” Even through the closed door, her mother’s voice boomed hoarsely, a result of the projection spell she’d cast on herself...

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