A mind-blowing collection of short fiction.
This anthology of Davyne DeSye’s short stories includes twelve speculative fiction stories, ranging from science fiction to fantasy, and from humorous to horrific. This collection – which includes one new tale published here for the first time – contains:
-A Ray Bradbury-esque story about a boy whose wishes come true;
-A dark testimony of alien invasion and the redemptive power of a single selfless act;
-The true story of Little Red Riding Hood;
-An inside look into robot-assisted psychotherapy of a killer; and
-A guided tour of a shop for recycled dreams.
These twisted tales and others may be discovered in this anthology, which includes: “The Slide,” “Moron,” “There I Was…,” “Death, By Any Other Name,” “Mine Eyes,” “Mirror, Mirror,” “Carapace,” “…I Win,” “It’s Not What You Think,” “Shattered,” “The Cloak,” and “The Thief Speaks.”
Word Count: 27900
Languages Available: English
Once upon a time, there was a boy named Michael, who lived in the house of his wishes and dreams. It was a glorious house, a “rockin’” house, as Michael would have said. Michael lived in the very top room, because he wished it, and Michael’s wishes came true.
Michael’s four sisters lived on the next floor down – a floor shaped like a giant “H,” with a bedroom at each end of the H’s legs. The bar of the H, the part in the middle, was a huge playroom, with room for their dolls and stuffed animals, with art supplies, train sets and remote control cars, with card games and board games and every kind of building block. Michael loved to build and invent.READ MORE
From Michael’s room, and right down through the middle of the playroom to the main floor of Michael’s wish-house, ran a curving twisting slide, intertwined cleverly with a winding climbing staircase. From the main floor, there were 167 steps to Michael’s room, which Michael’s parents had to climb each morning to wake Michael for school, each day to look at Michael’s new inventions, each night to kiss Michael goodnight. And though Michael’s parents often mentioned the hardship of all those stairs, they never took the fun way down, whooping and hollering down the slide, like Michael and his sisters did. Each time, they walked up all 167 stairs and then back down them all again.
The main floor of Michael’s wish-house had the things his parents needed to take care of him – his parents’ bedroom, a kitchen, and a living room with a huge TV and thousands of movies. There were, of course, all the movies Michael liked: King Kong, Jaws, and Scooby Doo movies, Superman, ex-games videos, Godzilla, and others. But also movies for his sisters – movies about princesses and fairies and animals that talked. As much as he loved his sisters, Michael also sometimes liked to play alone, and appreciated when they all settled down to one of their movies.
There was a dining room, of course, and also a wonderful three-story library, with every book a child (or parent) could want. Books about robots, sports, monsters, tattoos, cars, cartoons, all Michael’s favorites, and others for the rest of his family. (He was a very caring child.) One of Michael’s favorite parts of the library was the ladder that slid quietly and sleekly around the circular room so that any book could be reached with both ease and excitement.
The back yard of Michael’s wish-house was immense, scattered with huge oaks and maples. Michael wished himself a tree house village – a cluster of tree houses connected by swinging bridge paths and ladders, and with every manner of shutter, trap door, pulley system and rope swing. Beneath the village in the trees were Michael’s bike jumps, winding sometimes gracefully, sometimes sharply amidst the giant gnarled trunks.
Michael lived a happy life. Sometimes he got angry with his parents or with one sister or another, and that sister’s hallway to their bedroom would elongate so that the H was no longer symmetrical, and they had to walk farther than the others to reach the central playroom. He quickly learned the limits of his wishing: he couldn’t wish someone harm, he couldn’t make one of his sisters disappear (although he tried one afternoon), and he couldn’t make his parents do his bidding. He couldn’t change the weather, which annoyed him on rainy days when he wanted to ride his bike, but he had toys enough inside the house to appease him on those days.
Michael also knew that he was the only one with the power of wishing. He knew his sisters didn’t have it because they had often tried to wish-change the colors of their bedrooms, or wish a new toy. He assumed his parents didn’t have the power because they never wish-changed anything that Michael could notice, and he didn’t want to ask for fear they would forbid him from wishing.
Michael, as all children do, grew older with each passing year. As he did, his wish-house changed with his interests. He noticed, for example, that one day there were no longer 167 stairs to his bedroom at the very top of the house. While he could once run happily up them all, the climb had gotten tiresome, and one day he came home from school to only 50 stairs. Of course, he was happy with this development, as he had wished a lesser climb. His room changed too, from super heroes, to dragons, to sports heroes, and then to add a terrific lab on one end, with a long workbench and lots of tiny drawers full of tools, components, circuits, transistors, wires, infrared sensors, joints, and various interesting looking parts and doo-dads with which he could build and invent.
As Michael approached his fifteenth birthday, the house grew an immense garage. The two-car garage became a nine-car garage. There was still a bay for each of his parents’ cars, and bay for each of his sisters’ cars (although three sisters were still too young to drive), and an empty bay for his own car. There was an extra bay which would serve as his auto and body shop, and a last bay for a beat up Lamborghini which he immediately began restoring.
Michael grew and matured – but matured more than he grew. (He was very frustrated that wishing would make him no taller.) Eventually, the tree house village in the back yard was little more than rotted wood, almost unnoticeable in the way it had weathered and the trees had grown around it. The stairs to his room grew fewer and fewer. His sisters grew up and went to college and got jobs and got married and lived in their own houses, so the floor with their bedrooms eventually faded out of the wish house. Michael’s parents moved to a small upscale retirement village and their room wish-changed into Michael’s room. It seemed convenient to have his room on the main floor.
Michael became an extremely successful engineer because of all the things he built and invented. He met and married a woman who cared for who he was and supported him, and Michael learned that caring for her was even more gratifying than wishing for himself. By this time, Michael’s wish-house – which was her house too – looked like any other house in the neighborhood. It was bigger and was still full of the many things he still enjoyed: his large screen TV, his Lamborghini, and an immense work lab in the basement. Michael often sat on the patio under the huge oaks and maples in the back yard, and smiled up at the ruins of his old tree village, knowing that he still had wishes, but having learned that his happiness came from inside him, from his love and friendship with his wife, and from the day-to-day triumphs of small and large accomplishments.
Michael and his wife grew a family. Their two beautiful children also brought him happiness. Frustrations and sacrifice, yes, but more than those small inconveniences, happiness. One night at the dinner table, Michael smiled quietly as his eldest daughter described her dream house – the house she would build that would be perfect. A house where her bedroom would be at the very top, with a giant slide down to the kitchen to ease and electrify her passage to the breakfast table on school mornings. Michael smiled and recognized her youthfulness and all the changes in himself. “When I was a boy…” he almost said. But did not. He knew his daughter would never believe he had been a boy. Certainly he, even then, could not picture his own parents as children.
In the morning, Michael woke and slipped quietly from his bedroom for coffee. He shuffled to the kitchen – the kitchen which now encircled a spiral staircase that intertwined beautifully with a winding slide. The stairs and slide, he knew, led all the way to the new third floor, where he knew he would find his daughter, in her bedroom at the very top.
Michael smiled as he groaned, thinking of climbing those stairs, however many of them there were, each morning to wake his daughter, each day to see how she had arranged her dolls, each night to kiss her goodnight. He groaned and knew that of all people, he could wish the stairs away.
He also knew that he would not. He knew that those sparkling summer-sun-through-the-leaves dreams didn’t last forever. And while his knees would protest with every step, he also knew that the love he felt for his children far outweighed the inconvenience, and the pain in his knees.
That first morning though, whooping and full of memories, he rode the slide all the way down from the very top.COLLAPSE
Charles Freedom Long, Author of Dancing With the Dead on Amazon Editorial Review wrote:
"This is true art and, in a world full of pretenders and wannabes, about as common as a baby unicorn."
"A twelve story speculative fiction cocktail with an intoxicating twist of imagination."