Copyright © by Jason H. Abbott, All Rights Reserved.
Featured Image: Grandfather, by Mikhail Palamarchuk
“This is bad, they’re trapped!” “When things are scary, look for the helpers.” “There’s nobody but us!” “Well then,” he says with a tug. “I guess we’re the helpers.” “What made you so crazy heroic?” “My neighbor is the Rogers, and a powerful neighbor he is.” Satsuki, nervous, sang a childhood song. “Arukou, Arukou…” David recognized the tune, but not the words. “Watashi wa genki…” The astronauts grasped hands reaching the destination of their critical spacewalk. “Let’s go walk, just you and me,” he finished. Long awaited, a peck from the belle of the ball did nothing. The boar-man sighed abandoned. The boar-maid cleaning up sheds a tear. Pressing snouts, they kiss. Neither changes. “I’m sorry,” she says. “Our curse can’t be lifted.” “Then let’s just be in love.” “Hello, Lady Wolf.” “Hello, old King.” His hand stroked her fur. “My people are valiant in spirit, but the foe is vast. We stand alone.” “Not alone. I stand with you.” He readied his sword. “My friend—” “And my kingdom stands with me!” The hills howl. The trashman handed him a flamethrower. The young man took it. “Isn’t this extreme? It’s a source of aggravation and inconvenience, but—” “Last time I fought a vermin spirit, it sent 10,000 cockroaches up my buddy’s asshole.” “Okay! How do I work this thing?” “There was a bully who taunted fursuiters at conventions. At one, he unmasked Loki. The god tore off the bully’s human suit and found a purple opossum girl inside.” “So the moral is, haters sometimes hate their own hidden selves?” “That, and don’t be a jerk!” “Please, don’t jump.” He pauses on the edge. “Why?” “Every two years, I return to the previous one,” she says. “Dunno why, but I get a replay of every year knowing a possible future.” “You’re crazy if you think the future needs me.” “No. I need you.”