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Copyright 2016 Marsalis

Published by Marsalis at Shakespir








Table of Contents

1. The Pop Queen’s Flower

2. The Rapper and the Phoenix

3. The Streetlight Sphinx

4. Metro Park

5. Demi and Dido

6. Lila

7. The Magic Phone

8. Loveless




The Pop Queen’s Flower

Once there was a beautiful pop queen. All over the world, she was known for her gentle yet powerful singing voice, which lifted up spirits to the highest heavens and brought them to the darkest depths. She had a way of turning the sweetest song into sadness and turning the saddest song into sweetness. To her fans, she was greater than any other creature that had come before her, their loyalty stronger than mighty battleships and bizarre windstorms. And to the queen herself, there was nothing like the bond she shared with her cult. Her admiration for them was long and everlasting, as were the tours she went on so their presence was shared.

The only other thing Philomena, the pop queen, possibly loved more than her fans was her fiancé, Darrien, who was a charming film producer. She and Darrien had been together for years and their wedding was months away, constantly reminding Philomena that soon their two souls would be tied together forever.

However, one night, while Philomena slept, Darrien got up from his bed and left without a warning. He’d simply packed his things, kissed her cheek, and left the white mansion they’d bought in hopes of settling there for the rest of their lives. Though, in the morning, when Philomena awoke to find everything in disarray, she knew that she would be alone.

“He’s gone,” she told her assistant. “He’s gone and he’s never coming back.”

“Now don’t say that, Philomena,” the assistant said. “You’ve heard no word from him, no text, no call. Perhaps, he had some business to attend to and he didn’t want to disturb you.”

“Bullshit,” Philomena said. “He never leaves without saying goodbye. He never does.”

For days, Philomena waited to hear a word from him, hoping that he would prove her wrong and reveal that he was simply busy and hadn’t the time to contact her and that he was deeply sorry and would never do it again. But for days, there remained nothing from or about Darrien, as if he had simply disappeared into thin air.

“Without him, I’m nothing,” she said to her make-up artist. “Without him, I’m dirtier than mud, sicker than flu, and lower than shit. Why would he do this to me? Why would he?”

“You’re nothing of those things,” the make-up artist said, dabbing shadow over the queen’s bright, wide eyes. “You’ve got too much to live for and if he couldn’t handle it, then you have to just allow him to do his thing while you do yours.”

“People always say these things as if they’re simple,” Philomena told him. “But when you’re in the moment, when it’s happening to you, it’s nothing but difficult. I’m trying, I am, to understand what he could possibly have needed to do. But I can’t come up with anything.”

“Don’t allow this to drag you down, hun,” the make-up artist said. “You’re a goddess, okay? You have a great career, a lovely family and lovely friends, terrific fans. And your tour.” The make-up artist reached for the lipstick. “Your tour is starting in less than a week! Think of those people who wanna see you. Think of how much they love you.”

But, for once, Philomena couldn’t allow herself the pleasure of being adored by her cult. Of course, she still cared for them, but that love was incomparable to what she felt for Darrien and how she believed he felt for her. Suddenly, the idea of going on tour seemed pointless and ridiculous and she began to miss dance rehearsals.

“Where are you?” her choreographer asked over the phone.

“I’m not coming,” Philomena told him.

“Philomena, darling,” he said. “I’m at the studio. Everyone is here but you. We need you.”

“I don’t care,” Philomena said. She knew she was being a handful but all of the gentleness inside of her was slowly being drained away. “Tell everyone to go on without me.”

“But you’re the star,” the choreographer told her.

“I don’t feel like one,” the queen said. “I’m going to sleep. Leave me alone.”

With Philomena refusing to show up at rehearsals, her management began to worry that this would affect whether or not she would continue on with her touring. And soon, their worst assumptions were confirmed when Philomena publicly announced that she was canceling her upcoming tour dates until further notice.

It was then when the queen stopped allowing visitors. It started with her make-up artist and her assistant. Then it drifted over to her dancers. Then her producers, then her manager, then her label boss. Until, finally, she even stopped allowing her own parents and sister to come visit her. The only thing that remained in that big white mansion with the queen was a sleek black cat she’d found in the garden one day and the only reason she allowed it to stay was because it could not speak to her.

For weeks, as the rains came, Philomena remained in the mansion, not saying a word, just wandering around the empty halls and rooms, imagining how full of life they would have if Darrien had stayed. She imagined altogether their entire future, of happy breakfasts and elegant dinners, of pretty children and adorable vacations, of gauzy mornings and hazy nights, allowing her mind to welcome disappointment in the hopes that her fantasies would cancel them out with truth. For weeks, Philomena became a slave to her own cruelty and licked her wounds each night, hoping it would make up for it.

Then the rains stopped. To Philomena, it didn’t matter what occurred outside, she was too wrapped in her own interiors. But one early evening, she happened to stop at a window in the hall and gazed out at the lush garden that nearly took up the entire backyard. It was a beautiful garden, carrying any flower you could imagine and more, and had been as such since she and Darrien bought the mansion. Philomena didn’t know the previous owners but it was the garden that was part of the reason she wanted to move in.

Yet for all her time there, the queen realized then that she’d never truly taken her time to wander through it and promptly decided she would explore.

The air felt nice and cool outside and Philomena sighed with relief as the breeze of the wind brushed against her cheeks. When she looked up, she smiled at the dazzling flowers surrounding her and began down the path, passing tiger lilies and zinnias, geraniums and cherry blossoms, each becoming lovelier in sight than the last. And although being in the midst of such glorious plants, Philomena could still feel the pain in her heart and desperately touched it with her hand as if to heal it.

“It’s no use,” the queen told herself. “I’ll never be happy. I’ll never love again.”

“Now, let’s not declare things we have no proof of,” said a flighty voice from behind.

The queen quickly turned around to see a small, thin old woman with a bouffant of blue hair and dressed in a shiny sequined jacket that seemed to be from an era long ago. The queen was startled yet there was something in this woman’s appearance that did not radiate threat.

“Who are you?” Philomena asked. “How did you get in here?”

“I suppose I was lost and was looking for my way,” the old woman said, not making much sense. “But then I heard your voice and knew that I was where I was to be.”

The queen was getting angrier with confusion. “If this is some sick joke, I know people who will put you out and throw away the key.”

“Now, please,” the old woman said. “There is no need to get rash. You have been in enough pain, I can tell. You must relax and trust me. I only bring you good tidings.”

The queen calmed down and felt almost foolish. Could she possibly be scared or frightened of this woman? “Well,” she said, then, “what is it that you want to tell me?”

“Is it my mistake or do you really believe that you will never love again?” the old woman asked.

“There is no mistake,” Philomena said almost proudly. “I won’t love again. It’s a fact. My fiancé is gone and never to return. Nothing else matters anymore.”

“But that’s not true,” the old woman told her. “Love is everywhere. You must go out and find it.”

“Where could I possibly find this love then?” the queen wondered.

“In the forest,” said the old woman.

“The forest?”

“Yes.” Her blue hair nodded quickly. “In the forest, you will find a pack of wild monsters. Sing to them, it will be the only way they will respect you and allow you to pass them without an attack. Deeper, you will go until you see a great oak tree and behind that oak tree lies a patch of the most glorious, magical purple-and-black flowers you will ever lay your eyes on. Take one of the flowers and then come back here. When you come back, the flower will bring you love.”

Philomena gazed in suspicion but she could not find the words to discredit such directions. It seemed too precise and too clear to be anything but real.

“When should I leave?” the queen asked.

“Tomorrow morning,” said the old woman. “It will take you all day to achieve this journey and one does not want to be in the forest at night.”

“Why not?”

The old woman shook her head. “It is too dismal to speak of,” she said. “So you mustn’t drag your feet. Move quickly and always keep your mind clear.”

Suddenly Philomena was scared and did not know if this was a good idea. But the thought of regaining her love—of getting that back—seemed to be more important than fear and she decided that she would indeed embark on this journey to find the magical flower.

“Here, take this,” the old woman said, handing Philomena a tall jar.

“What is this for?” the queen asked.

“You’ll know when it comes up,” said the old woman. “Now, I must go. Remember not to drag your feet. Speed, my dear, speed away.”

The queen looked down at the jar in her hand. “But what does this—?” she began but when she looked up, she saw that the old woman had disappeared. Quickly, the queen glanced around, hoping to see where she’d gone, but there was no luck. Without another thought, Philomena raced back into the mansion with the tall jar and got into her bed, knowing she would have to meet the sun in a few hours.

In the morning, the queen dressed in her most durable fashions and snuck away from her mansion. She managed to make it to nearby the forest without a paparazzo on her tail yet as soon as she looked around her, any sense of victory began to wilt away.

In every direction, there were large, ominous trees that seemed to sway on their own, making hollowed moaning noises with each movement of their branches. Philomena could not tell if they were alive or if it were her imagination, but she knew that trees did not make those sounds by nature. As she walked past them, their branches seemed to claw at her, as if reaching to grab and snatch her up, but she managed to wiggle past them, gripping the tall jar in her hand as if a talisman. Ahead, the queen could make out a brighter clearing, but just as she approached it, a heavy branch smacked her leg and she fell to the ground.

“Get out while you can!” hissed the branch’s host. “You’ll never survive!”

The branch smacked her leg again and then her back. With all of her strength, the queen tried to catch her balance enough to pass through but each time, the branch would come toward her with more malice and vengeance. Naturally, this was becoming tiring, and even though the queen was scared, she could not accept this from a tree.

Finally, she managed to slide out of the branch’s way and when it came down this time, Philomena launched on top of it, stomping on it with her feet as hard as possible. The tree groaned in pain and suffering, but Philomena would not budge. Finally, the branch snapped off, like an old chicken bone, and the tree’s groaning turned into quiet whimpers.

“And you’ll never survive in my yard,” Philomena joked and then continued toward the clearing.

However, there was something about this clearing, which was bright and sunny, that did not feel right. And once, Philomena glanced ahead with squinting eyes, she was aware of what was particularly out of sorts. There, gathered in a pack, as if preparing a campfire, were a group of at least seven or eight large, multi-spotted wild monsters with sharp, cruel fangs and glaring, manic eyes. At first, they did not notice the queen’s presence, but with a swift sniff of their dripping snouts, they smelled her scent and turned their furry heads in her direction.

“These must be the monsters who I’m supposed to sing to,” Philomena told herself and with a poised neck, she tried to prepare herself. But her bones kept shaking at the sight of such evil-looking creatures.

“May we help you?” asked one of the monsters. They had red stripes against their blue fur and their teeth were yellow and grinning.

“I need to pass through,” the queen said.

“Pass through?” the monster asked and then turned to his friends. “Did you hear that, guys? She wants to pass through.”

“We’re not in the business of allowing mortals what they want,” said another monster. Its fur was a greenish orange and their eyes seemed to sag with laziness.

“Unless that is,” said the first monster, “you perform for us.”

“What would you like me to do?” the queen asked, trying to calm her shaky bones.

“Why anything you want, of course,” said the second monster. “But if you don’t please us, if you sound horrible and off-tune, then I’m afraid we will have to roast you.”

“Yeah, what they said,” went a third monster, whose fur was less shiny and dignified as the others, and when he said that, all of the monsters turned their head to him in aggravation and annoyance. The monster cowered and the queen almost felt bad for it.

But then the idea of being their breakfast became clearer the more she gazed at their snarling teeth and without another second of hesitation, Philomena quickly closed her eyes and began to belt out one of her most powerful songs:


Tell me what you mean when you say yes

I can’t play this game, not one more guess

I just wanna know where we are

I just wanna know if I’m your star


As she went on, the queen opened her eyes to find the group of wild monsters shaking their hips, moving their arms, and tapping their feet, making their own makeshift beat as if they were in a band. With relief, the queen sang with more and more energy, pretending she was at one of her concerts, where that song was particularly popular and usually reduced the audience to hysterics. Knowing that she could entertain monsters just as she could entertain her fans only made the queen feel even more alive.

When the song was over, the wild monsters clapped with thunderous glee and asked, like impatient children, for her to please sing another. But the first monster put his hands out and told them that they had an agreement and that Philomena had earned her pass through their part of the woods.

“Perhaps I can sing on the way back,” the queen offered with hope.

“Oh, please do, please!” shouted the smiling monsters.

The queen waved away at her new vicious-looking acquaintances and headed deeper into the forest. It was not too long when she came across the great oak tree that the old woman had spoken of. The tree looked alive like the ominous ones, though it did not seem as mean or moaning in its design. As she approached it, it opened its eyes which were made from hollowed out holes and then gazed upon her.

“What brings you to my home?” the oak tree asked.

“I have come for one of the magical flowers,” Philomena said.

“Of course,” went the oak tree. “You, as many others before you, want one of the magical flowers behind me. Yet, you, as many others before you, must endure my request if you shall want one.”

“What request?” the queen wondered.

“Twenty feet away from here, there lies a rapid river,” the oak tree instructed. “Across the river, there is a patch of the most luscious soil you will ever see. Bottle the soil up and bring it here and pour it around me. When you have done that, you will be granted one magical flower.”

Philomena gripped onto the tall jar then, realizing its purpose, and then raised an eyebrow. “What is so great about that soil, may I ask?”

“Why, it’s the sweetest, most savory soil there is,” said the oak tree, its voice rising with cheer. “I have only had it a few times in my life and it has been a tremendous amount of time since my roots have had a taste. It is one of the true extravagances a stuck tree like myself can have, if you know what I mean.”

“But what about the others that tried to get the flowers? Didn’t they bring you back some?” the queen asked.

“Not exactly,” the oak tree said. “But you’ll see.”

Suddenly the queen shivered with confusion but she gave the oak tree a swift nod of agreement and then counted her paces until she was twenty feet into the distance. Before her was a wide, long river that would have looked gorgeous had it not been so wild and reckless, clashing against the earth that sat on the sides with force and horror. Philomena gulped and wondered how she could possibly cross such a thing, the frightening sight of old skeleton heads offering no encouragement.

She soon noticed that there was a line of rocks that started at the edge of the ground on her side and stopped at the ground on the other. If she could somehow get onto those rocks and hold tightly, she would be able to get the soil and bring it to the oak tree.

Quickly, the queen placed the tall jar into her shirt, which she tucked deep into her pants, and then placed her foot onto the first rock. But it was obvious that standing on the rock would do nothing but knock her straight into the river and send her sailing downstream. She would have to grip onto them with her arms and cling onto the edges with her hands. It was hard, however, because the rocks were extremely sharp and as Philomena clung her hands onto the edges, they began to cut up and bleed.

The pain was awful but Philomena continued to the next rock and the next rock, stopping for moments at a time to allow the river to smash its waves against her body before moving forward. When she reached the last rock, she was sure that her cut hands would hurt her too much and that she would fall in. But as she lifted her foot onto the other side, the queen sighed and saw that she was safe.

The mystic soil was not hard to find. It had small little crystals in it that glittered and glimmered so brightly, Philomena had to shield her eyes. As she scooped it up and placed it into the tall jar, she smiled to herself for coming so far. But when she turned back around at the river, she tensed up again and tucked the tall jar into her shirt yet again as much as she could, not wanting to take any chances.

“You’re almost there,” she told herself as she gripped for the rocks again. Her hands bled more and more, but she pushed through the pain, thinking about the flower and thinking about the garden. By the time she had made it back to the other side, both of her palms seemed to be covered in bloodied flesh.

She approached the oak tree with no second to spare and presented the tall jar of the soil as if a gift, before opening it up and pouring it all along the tree’s trunk.

“Ahh, I can already taste it,” said the oak tree with a pleased grin. “Just as I always remembered it to be.”

When the queen was done, she stood before the tree. “I have done what you asked,” she said. “Now, may I please have one of the flowers?”

“You may,” the oak tree said. “And thank you, my dear. You have given me the greatest satisfaction I have had in a hundred years.”

“You’re welcome,” Philomena told him with a careful nod and then swiftly walked behind the tree.

Immediately she saw the large patch of purple-and-black flowers and stared for a moment in surprise of their beauty and grace. She had never seen such plants before and yet they seemed almost to make even the prettiest human faces seem pale in comparison. The queen spread her lips in awe and then as if entranced, reached and took one of the flowers with a single snatch. As she held it in her hands, she inspected it with precision and then when she looked down, she noticed that her hands had been healed.

“It really is magic,” she whispered to herself and suddenly, the idea of going home and seeing what else was possible filled her mind so heavily that she barely said goodbye to the oak tree as she turned around and sprinted toward the way she came.

“Thank you again!” called the oak tree and the queen waved as she drifted farther and farther away until the great tree appeared to be nothing but a shrub.

When she got near the wild monsters, they clapped at her return and asked if she would still sing for them and the queen did, but only for a short while. She could see that the sun was coming down and that she still had to make it past the vicious trees.

“Do come back!” called the monsters and the queen waved as she drifted farther and farther away until the wild monsters resembled nothing but small animals.

When she got near the vicious trees, Philomena waved the magical flower over her head and the trees left her alone, tucking their branches in and kneeling their heads with respect. The queen smiled at this and kept her smile until she was back at the big white mansion, away from the world outside.

To the garden she went and in the garden, there was the old woman with the sequined jacket and blue hair. The queen was tired but as she looked at the sky, she saw the stars making themselves known and knew that she was lucky.

“I see you fared quite well,” the old woman said to Philomena. “Isn’t that the most beautiful purple-and-black flower your eyes have ever laid on?”

“The most,” the queen said with impatience. “But what should I do with it?”

“What does anyone do with a flower?” the old woman said. “Why, you put it in a vase of water.”

“That’s it?” Philomena asked.

“Well, you must give it time, my dear,” said the woman. “Put it in a vase of water and then at the stroke of midnight, you will go to the flower and look inside of it. Inside, you will find your love.”

The queen felt somehow cheated but she did exactly what the old woman told her to just in case her speculation was merely only that. She found a marble vase and filled it up with water and placed the magical flower inside of it and sat there, staring at it, her fists resting underneath her smooth chin.

“Now don’t be foolish and expect staring at it will pass time,” the old woman said. “Go inside, child, and have a rest. You have had a long day and when you awake, the flower will be ready.”

Although Philomena did not want to leave it out of her sight, she could not ignore her yawns and the emptiness in her head and agreed to go have a rest. In her room, she settled comfortably onto her fluffy mattress and before too long, she was snoring in that loud way in which you are truly sleeping nicely.

Hours and hours passed and then the queen’s eyes opened. She gazed outside at the full moon and then remembered the flower and nearly tripped on her covers as she kicked them off and raced down the stairs and toward the lush garden.

For some reason, she expected the old woman to still be there but she was nowhere to be found. Philomena peeked around unsuccessfully before finally glancing over at the purple-and-black flower sitting in the vase. She took short, easy steps toward it and then with a careful sigh, looked down into the flower.

The only thing she saw, however, was herself. At first, the queen thought it was merely a glint of her reflection from the vase’s water, but as she stared into the bud of the flower, it was clear that she was the only thing that appeared.

“But what does this mean?” she asked. “Why do I only see myself?”

“Because, my dear,” said the old woman. She had suddenly appeared from the back of the garden. “You are who you are to gain love from. It is yourself.”

“Myself?” the queen wondered. “Why me? What about Darrien? What about someone else?”

“It was you who convinced yourself that you needed someone else’s love to make yours whole,” the old woman told her. “You were the one who thought you needed the love of another to make you feel complete, but the truth is that you are the only person who can make yourself happy, you are the only person who can fill yourself with love.”

“But what about the other people in my life? What about my friends and my family?”

“They give you love too, yes,” said the woman. “But nobody can ever satisfy you and your emotions the way you can. You must love yourself before you can truly love anyone else. And you did not know that. You never knew that because you have been given love since as long as you could remember. But you never learned to love yourself. You never learned that the love of oneself is the most powerful love that exists.”

Philomena looked into the flower once again and saw herself for what seemed to be the first time. The old woman was right. It had been years and years and the queen had only lived a life of facades, fed on the romance of films and greeting cards, and never once taking the time to find the truth in caring and loving. But now, it was clear. Now, she saw that it was herself who could give her love. It was herself who could make her happy. There was no need for anyone else when the romance of oneself took hold.

“Thank you so much,” said the queen to the old woman. “I really don’t know how I can repay you.”

The old woman put her hand up. “Oh, I don’t wish for such things,” she said. “Sometimes we must go on hazardous journeys in order to find who we really are. My only aim was to see that you went on yours.”

“I’m eternally grateful,” the queen told her and gave her a hug. “You have set me free.”

“No, my dear,” the old woman said, “it is you who have set yourself free.”

And with that, the old woman waved at Philomena and disappeared once more.

The following day, the queen called her family, her friends, her label boss, her manager, her dancers, her assistant, and her make-up artist and apologized for her behavior and actions.

“I want to go on tour again,” she announced and arrangements were put in motion.

Everyone was glad to see the queen happy again but nobody knew why and Philomena kept her secret quiet, knowing that she would not be believed by anyone anyway.

Those who were most glad at her return were her fans and they reveled in each new performance she gave to the crowds, as they gyrated and swayed and sung along to each and every word, clapping when she was done with each song as if it were the last.

“I’ve missed you!” the queen shouted to her cult. “And I’m never going away again!”

“We love you our queen!” they shouted back and she continued on the shows.

The magical flower remained in the marble vase and each time, the queen felt as if she were losing her grace, she would look into it and be comforted by her love. Sometimes, however, she thought of the sleek black cat that she found in the garden, for it had disappeared the exact same day the old woman did. Perhaps, the queen thought as she wrote new songs on her tour bus, they were the same thing. She did not think of Darrien.




The Rapper and the Phoenix

A wealthy rapper sat in his favorite chair admiring his many golden rings as his butler walked into the room with a bottle of champagne on a silver platter. He asked, “I’m quite lucky, aren’t I?”

“Yes, sir,” the butler said. “Luckier than any king or any messiah.”

“And aren’t I too famous?” the rapper wondered.

“Why more famous than any president,” the butler said. “More famous than any dictator or tyrant.”

“And aren’t I also accomplished?” the rapper wanted to know.

The butler nodded. “Blessed with more glory than any champion,” he said. “More glory than any athlete or any movie star.”

“And aren’t I rich?” the rapper asked.

“Why richer than any sultan,” the butler said. “Richer than any industrialist or any heir.”

The rapper then scratched his chin as he poured himself a glass of champagne. He looked into the harrowing flames dancing in the fireplace before him. “Then why is it,” he began, “that I feel empty. That I feel something is not finished.”

“Perhaps you are craving that of which you don’t have,” the butler suggested.

“And yet I have everything,” the rapper said. “What could be that one thing that I’m missing?”

“Why, love, sir,” the butler quickly responded. “You have not had love in your life in eons.”

“Unless you mean the kind that lasts for a few hours,” the rapper told him. His name was Zaire and he had childish cheeks and careful facial hair. “There have been too many groupies hanging around me lately. Too many ties that can easily be broken. Our fun is had and then they go and I’m stuck feeling even worse than before. It was once fun, wasn’t it?”

The butler nodded. “You at a time enjoyed yourself quite nicely, sir,” he said.

“But I don’t feel enjoyment anymore,” Zaire said. “I have nothing but resentment and emptiness. And sitting around here all night won’t help me.”

“Where would you like to go, sir?” the butler asked.

“I have no idea,” the rapper admitted. “A friend of mine is having a party tonight but I’m not sure it’s the type of place to find what I’m looking for.”

“Well, you’ll never know unless you see for yourself,” said the butler. He was wise and always the voice of reason to his boss. “Go up and take a shower and I’ll press your clothes. We’ll get the Porsche up and running and everything.”

Zaire thanked his butler and got up, wondering if there was some truth to what he said. He suspected only the worst at the party because he had known his friend and the crowd they associated with. However, he also wanted to try to view things with opened eyes and reach for a bit of optimism. As he bathed and then dressed, he started to feel better about the night and made his way downstairs with a sense of clarity.

“Don’t wait up,” he said with a grin to the butler and then he got into his car and headed towards the party with radical speed.

Though the party was exactly what he’d feared and yet almost worse all the same. Everyone seemed zoned out and clued only into what was happening in their lives and it seemed as if each person wanted something from the other, concealing it through agreeing nods and false laughter. His friend’s parties always had seemed more like business meetings and Zaire was almost always the main target because of his immense fame and prestige. He could barely pick anyone up because even lovers had a price tag.

For about an hour, he entertained himself by listening to the awful deals being made over coke and the silly monologues of rich girls who would never get over their distant fathers, but soon enough, it became something too bothersome to deal with and Zaire found himself heading for the door without even so much as a goodbye to anyone.

“You’re not leaving, are you?” a drunk admirer asked as their friend held their head up.

“Of course not,” Zaire told them and then hopped into his car.

He wasn’t drunk but he did feel a little buzzed and he knew if any policemen saw him, it would be a tabloid disaster. He remained poised and composed as he drifted around the hills above the bright decadent city and focused on getting home. Yet his bladder would not allow him to completely rest and before he knew it, Zaire pulled over and began walking towards the woodlands so he could piss in privacy.

“This is nice,” he said as he relieved himself and felt more charming then under the pristine stars. His eyes soon drifted from the stars to the woods and then to what appeared to be a bright glow coming from within. At first, he thought he was simply imagining things, but once he looked again, he saw that the glow was real.

After zipping himself up, Zaire headed toward the glow, walking deeper and deeper into the hilled woodlands until he came to the source of the brightness. Lying there was a girl—or what looked like a girl, aside from the fact that she had a beak instead of a mouth and instead of arms, she had feathered wings. But the rest of her body appeared human and as she lied there, all hunched up in a dreamland, she appeared nothing more than a young woman taking a nap. Zaire did not know he was looking at a phoenix.

But he wanted to speak to her. Waking her up would be wrong, he imagined, but he thought of no other way. He couldn’t possibly leave without knowing what she was doing there. Her glowing magnetism seemed to keep his feet stuck into the dried mud.


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Imagine enchantment lurking at your door. Imagine magic hiding behind your back. Imagine fantasy whispering in your ear. Imagine a world not unlike our own in which pop stars search for mystical flowers to find life's meaning, rappers fall in love with phoenixes and must defeat evil beasts to save their people, cruel socialites are transformed into cursed creatures, and spoiled children receive phones that grant their every destructive wish. A world in which twin sisters must outsmart devilish monsters from the internet and decadent rock stars cheat death but lose their abilities to feel. A world in which fairy tales are not merely a thing of the past. A spellbinding collection of 8 original stories, Elegia combines a whimsical bedtime majesty with a modern pop sensibility, reinterpreting the 21st century as a place in which dreams still come true, miracles still occur, and love still conquers all.

  • Author: Marsalis
  • Published: 2016-05-18 15:35:09
  • Words: 31850
Elegia Elegia