When Worlds Collide by Julie (An April Fool’s Extra)

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

Chances

Humming a tune to myself, la-dee-dah-dee-dah, as I close up shop. I exit out the back, cutting through the alley. My friends are waiting at the concert. There’s a message on my phone from the girl with the hazel eyes: I’m waiting for you.

Something tosses in the alley, glass tinkling, between the trash bins, and I drop the phone.

Hello?

A groan, deep like an animal. Then a girl rolls out, skin marked with bruises, blonde hair tangled and charred. Naked except for the trash stuck to her.

Who are you? she rumbles, yellow-eyed, and my skin seizes with prickles.

I won’t hurt you. I fling up my hands. I’m Quinn.

She snorts, blinks with reptilian ease.

Where am I?

——, I say. Heart of the city. Need me to call a cab?

Her voice stops me picking up the phone.

I think I did something terrible. She palms her forehead.

Her eyes sweep my suit, my shiny shoes, slicked-back hair. She frowns. There’s a question she doesn’t ask. I could ask her the same thing.

Fumbling, I unhook my jacket, slide it down my arms, offer it to her.

Here. You’ll get in trouble walking around like that.

She realizes her nakedness and laughs throatily. Smoke puffs into the air. She snatches the jacket.

My phone pings from the brick at my feet. She eyes it sideways, stare unnerving. I make a decision.

You did something bad? I say.

Her lips smoosh together, and she gazes at the dumpsters, the fire escapes, back to me. Rolls her shoulders.

Do you regret it?

She doesn’t answer.

I can make it go away, if you want, I say. Hazel Eyes might not wait for me.

The girl smoothes the jacket sleeves, just long enough to brush her thighs. She laughs, a more human sound this time.

I’ll take my chances on regret, she says. Why don’t you call that cab?

First I dig in my pocket and pass her the bills in my wallet.

Get some clothes, I say.

She smiles, her eyes mellowing to blue. Thanks, she says.

Once the cab leaves, my phone pings again.

Something up?

I start to type a response, pause. The alley sprawls empty behind me.

Can’t remember. See you soon.

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

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“You Will Hear Thunder” by Anna Akhmatova Inspires Audrey

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Things We Say

May 27th, 2076

Top Hat Island

Kyppa. You better be home in 10 minutes!!!

Mom

o . O . o

May 28th, 2076

Top Hat Island

Kyppa,

It’s half an hour past curfew. Where are you?

Mom

o . O . o

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“You Will Hear Thunder” by Anna Akhmatova Inspires Julie

YouWillHearThunder_AnnaAkhmatova

Dragonheart

This is the bottom, I think, getting up the nerve to leave my car. The old woman, Madame Ming, is standing at the end of the block in the afternoon sunlight, right where the email told me to find her. I drove two circles before I parked, to check that no one else was waiting for me. Portland isn’t New York City, but it’s Old Town, so I have to be careful.

Finally I step out of my car, one hand sweaty on my keys and the other buried in my pocket with the roll of cash. Madame Ming turns at my approach. She is a head shorter than me with cropped gray hair. Her blue tang suit is faded, her arms folded into the deep sleeves.

I stop a yard from her, and she eyes me. I’m wearing my Lewis & Clark College hoodie. So much for being anonymous.

“You have the money?” she asks in accented English.

I look around and nod, not ready to pull out the wad. She moves her hands and displays a bottle, bulbous at the base with a tapering neck, stoppered. Exactly what I imagined a potion bottle would look like. The glass is clear and the mixture inside is a deep, honey-amber like mead.

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“You Will Hear Thunder” by Anna Akhmatova Inspires Anne

YouWillHearThunder_AnnaAkhmatovaBeing Human

The snow crunches beneath my feet, the crisp air burns my lungs with every inhale. I flip the collar of my mom’s leather jacket up against the wind and continue picking my way across the sparkling snow. Every sound makes me flinch, waiting for the danger it hides. This isn’t my season. A million beats of my heart hammer blood past my ears, but no arrows fly toward me. No Waniyetu materialize from the dark winter’s night to kidnap or kill me.

At the first sign of snow this afternoon at the Denver Botanical Gardens, I knew I’d be sneaking away from my village well after midnight. Tracing the path my family’s rental car had taken one fateful night more than forty years ago. The night I lost them all. The night I gained immortality for the pattern of freckles along my wrist.

The traffic along Colorado Boulevard is heavier than it was back then, even at nearly three in the morning. It’s far too cold tonight for foot traffic, but I stay invisible to human eyes all the same. Bright colored lights adorn the cookie-cutter houses. They shine through the layer of newly fallen snow like beacons of hope.

The year I was twelve, when mom’s leather coat trailed on the ground when I tried it on, we flew to Colorado for a skiing holiday. It had been the most exciting week of my life with bright red cheeks and huge cups of hot cocoa. The swirl of heat off the marshmallow-dotted liquid rose into the mountain air. My little sister, Lucy, and I had snowball fights and learned to ice skate. We skied on tiny pieces of wood strapped to our feet. And we were more alive in the thin air than we’d ever been before.

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“You Will Hear Thunder” by Anna Akhmatova Inspires Jen

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Windbreak

I know what it takes to make a storm. I know the exact chemistry of a hurricane, a misty day, a blizzard so cold my fingers are at risk just because I lost another pair of gloves. I know all of these things. But I know the most about wind. Wind is the force behind all that other stuff. It’s the transportation. It’s invisible but it matters more than anything else, and I’m not just saying that because it belongs to me.

It does, though. I’m a Zephyr. A wind Elemental. It’s all mine, my mom gave it to me, and my grandma to her. It’s the way of things. We each have our own piece of what makes Earth function the right way, from animals to the tides. Mine’s the best, though. It’s all frenzy and the freedom of currents. I can feel it from the chambers of my crimson heart to the tips of my pale fingers. It reaches for me like a fast moving net, always looking for clouds to chase and pull.

Storms need clouds. Clouds need wind.

I’ve been waiting on storms. I can pull clouds like nobody’s business but they don’t mean anything when they’re just cotton balls floating around in space. I need a Tempest. Someone to pull rain. No Tempest, no storms. I’ve been waiting.

“Ever?” Cameron’s voice has that you’re-on-assignment tone he reserves when he knows something we don’t. He’s two years younger than my nineteen years but he’s a do-gooder and the boss likes him best. He’s a flora, a flower boy. I try not to hold that against him, he’s a good guy even if his Element is lame.

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