When Worlds Collide by Jen (an April Fool’s Extra)

*Go here and here to read the origins of this story*


“Gemma, lift!” Grace’s voice cuts me from somewhere near sleep. I thank the stars for that, because the sea is heavy on my flight feathers, misting my face with cold and salt. She swoops down to catch me in her wake and drag me up, away from the surf.

“You scared me to death,” she says. I laugh, though it’s not funny. “Only half a mile to go, looks like.”

“Where are we going?” My voice falls to the sea like lead. Grace looks over her shoulder at me and drags the air with her wings, slowing to let me catch up. She doesn’t answer, just taps me with her primaries as she flies. The sun is an idea on the horizon, spitting pastel pink on the trees we fly for. Her feathers are ash and blue in the waning dark, and I want to curl up next to her and smolder forever.

We touch down on sand that leads to woods, hiding our wings from the unknown. A river narrows into the woods, bubbling like questions. We find a hollow near the river, and I’m asleep before she can kiss me goodnight.

Pounding wakes me, rhythmic and fast.

Hooves. I reach out, catching nothing but leaves. Panic swells hot in my chest.


“I hear it,” she says above me, tree branches obscuring her. “Come up here.”

I reach her branch and let the leaves envelop me. The pounding shakes our trees, but slows.

“Centaurs,” I say. Her eyes are widen. “We’re in Omnia.” We traded the abuse of one land for another, for all the talk of Omnia is of the death in their mines and their king’s dirty dealings with other lands.

These men wear his crest. They’re formidable Percherons, all hulking muscle and dappled gray. A pair of them pull a cart while two more guard the flanks.

“Stop here,” one says. “I want to check her.”

“She was stupid to run,” another laughs. A steel centaur pulls a tarp off the cart, and my skin prickles. What I thought was cargo is one of their own, bound and gagged. Her midnight coat fades into a torso that’s more bruises than skin.”He won’t have her for a daughter. I hear the wolves want her as a pet and are willing to pay.”

“Maybe we could play with her first.” They laugh again, and I can’t see straight.

Grace’s nails dig into my arm as her wings spring from her back, rustling leaves. Her eyes scream injustice. I know that look on her face, I saw it through the bars of my own prison on Maderas. I let my wings fall from my back, and I’m proud of her. There’s good in the killer and firebringer our land made us out to be.

A twig snaps. A centaur girl below us is golden and fierce in the morning light. She trembles, eyes focused on the cart. Her body screams in a silent way and I know her, too. She is us.

I jump from my perch and land soft next to her.  Grace shadows me, hands telling and soft on my hips. The Halflinger girl doesn’t flinch, but takes us in with knowing glances.

“Is she yours?” I whisper.

She nods, fire in her eyes.

Sparks fly from my fingertips. “Let’s go get her.”

A/N: Happy April Fools! I hope you enjoyed our mash-ups. We were inspired by last month’s Craft Discussion: World Building.





“Please Don’t Go” by Barcelona Inspires Anne


Dallas McInnerney is the boy of every girl at Rampart High’s dreams. Only he doesn’t know it yet. He’s one of those guys that slumps down when he sits and tries to make himself as small as possible when he walks the crowded halls. He’s so afraid of bumping into someone and having to mutter an apology for being broad-shouldered and tall. It’s not that he isn’t nice and sincere, he is. It’s that he’s not used to attention of any kind. He played varsity football this year, as a junior, which is probably why he’s on my radar. I find myself leaving school by the exit nearest the weight room and totally out of my way.

Bonus: we have PE together. This quarter we’re learning archery, which is much better for my ego than last quarter’s swimming fiasco. Mr. Johnson pairs up everyone in the class, mostly boy-boy and girl-girl. There are a few mixed-sex pairs. I forget to breathe for a second when he calls out, “McInnerney and West.” West, that’s me, Holly West. Awkward freshman stuck in glasses because my astigmatism doesn’t allow for contacts.

Mr. Johnson shows us how to choose the best bow for our height. Dallas is only slightly taller than me and our hands bump when we reach for the same bow. I feel the heat of a blush on the back of my neck, the electricity of something else between us. He’s blushing too around his Dean Winchester haircut. I try to laugh it off, but it comes out as this slobbery sucking noise that makes me snap my mouth closed and look down at my sneakers. For the first time since I wrote it, I see the “D. I.” I drew in a heart on the tongue. I look up quickly, nervous and relieved that Dallas has already walked over to our target with a different bow in hand. continue reading…

“Please Don’t Go” by Barcelona Inspires Rebecca

The Descent

‘You could stay,’ said John.

‘What?’ Mammy would hate me speaking so abruptly: what. It doesn’t become a young Irish lady, she’d say. Drop your accent, she’d say. Do you want folk in New York to think you’re common?

‘I mean you’re sixteen now, like.’ He opened his mouth again, but closed it abruptly. He was never good at talking about deep things.

‘They saved for ages for those tickets,’ I said firmly.

He looked at me so sadly then that I could barely stand it. I wanted to hit him. It wasn’t like the good old days, though: he wouldn’t hit me back. He thought he was a man now and with that came the sad man’s silence. I’d seen it with pa. continue reading…

“Please Don’t Go” by Barcelona Inspires Jen


She told me she needed to see me.  I didn’t give it a second thought.

She snuck away from the palace and I left my family sleeping in our tiny cottage, my baby brother all hooves and knees next to my mother on her sleeping pallet on the dirt floor.  The house still seemed too empty without my father.  This week marked six months since his death, and grief weighed on every one of us.

I tiptoed out onto the cobblestoned streets, knowing full well that my hooves were too loud on the stones.  I didn’t exhale until I hit the dirt path, and then I ran.

We were to meet at what we called the Crossroads, one path leading to our prisons inside the village walls, and the other leading to the freedom of the river.  I slowed to a walk half a mile from our meeting place, knowing I was early.  But as I neared the fork in the road I saw the she had beat me to it again.  Downwind from me, she didn’t sense my presence. continue reading…