Cat tooth magic and dog.., p.6
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       Cat-Tooth Magic and Dog-Eared Miracles, p.6

           Brian S. Wheeler
 
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  Let others know how you enjoyed this story. Leave a review at any of the outlets where you purchased or downloaded this story, or email your thoughts to [email protected] Flatland Fiction thanks you for investing the time to explore this story and welcomes your feedback. Unless specifically instructed not to do so, Flatland Fiction reserves the right to post your comments on the Flatland Fiction website and other electronic publishing outlets. Visit www.flatlandfiction.com for the latest stories and news.

  About the Writer

  Brian S. Wheeler calls Hillsboro, Illinois home, a town of roughly 6,000 in the middle of the flatland. He grew up in Carlyle, Illinois, a community less than an hour away from Hillsboro, where he spent a good amount of his childhood playing wiffle ball and tinkering on his computer. The rural Midwest inspires much of Brian's work, and he hopes any connections readers might make between his fiction and the places and people he has had the pleasure to know are positive.

  Brian earned a degree in English from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. He has taught high school English and courses in composition and creative writing. Imagination has been one of Brian's steadfast companions since childhood, and he dreams of creating worlds filled with inspiration and characters touched by magic.

  When not writing, Brian does his best to keep organized, to get a little exercise, or to try to train good German Shepherd dogs. He remains an avid reader. More information regarding Brian S. Wheeler, his novels, and his short stories can be found by visiting his website at www.flatlandfiction.com.

  Take a brave, first step onto the flatland!

  The wind whispers more tales of starlight, magic and terror. Download these other great tales by Brian S. Wheeler available online and discover fantasy unrestrained by formula.

  SCIENCE FICTION

  Niles Cavendish Chooses a Valentine

  Time turns Niles Cavendish sad. He has wasted his youth in kindness, and he recognizes too late how good manners masked his cowardice. Niles swallows his desires until Dr. Valentine vows to give Niles the power to realize his dreams. Only, Dr. Valentine has a vision of his own, and he’s not afraid to trespass on another man’s dream to achieve it.

  Firedrop Garnish

  The crimson blossoms of the alien firedrop flower pull mankind into the stars. Though the firedrop offers no taste nor nutritional value, there is little humanity would not sacrifice to serve the firedrop upon a household's finest china. Space knows a thousand ways to kill those who dare float amid the stars, and yet the simple pulse and glow of an alien weed make all the dangers worthwhile.

  The Sirens’ Last Lament

  Mankind shows no mercy to those of the Black Sun Temple. For those cultists who warn those alien sirens are mankind's doom jeopardize the melodies those creatures share with humankind. But that zeal for justice blinds mankind's empathy, until the executioners attending to their duty upon Ganymede push too far and ruin any chance to some day sing alongside those incredible sirens mesmerizing man.

  So That a Marigold Might Live Free

  The orange blight threatens to consume the planet of Geralt. Dr. Rhodes races through the planet's golden grassland on a mission to vaccinate the children against the deadly blight, but his mission is nearly impossible. For the patriots of Zeb Griffin, bound to accept the law of no man but their own, resist Dr. Rhodes' efforts at the peril of their families and their planet.

  Harpies of Planet Sutherland

  Mankind can only guess how long the alien water baskets have stood upon the planet of Sutherland. No clues have been found of the alien race who constructed such delicate mechanisms so long ago to harvest water from the arid planet's atmosphere. Those of the United Systems simply recognize the water's value, and so they refuse to allow the settlers of Zeb to jeopardize such ancient artifacts

  Jimmy Jack and the Smartman

  Each week, Jimmy Jack visits the bubble that protects Yogi. Yogi is the community smartman, and he is obliged to honestly answer Jimmy Jack's questions. Yet when Yogi discovers an intelligence amid the stars, the natural order between a community and its smartman becomes jeopardized, and Jimmy Jack and Yogi must reevaluate their friendship before the first saucer lands.

  Starlight, Starbright

  The archivist Un'Yhe has honored the strangers throughout his long lifetime. The strangers have smiled at every relic of the broods' homeworld Un'Yhe has brought before them. Un'Yhe's care continues to expand the museum built upon the strangers' crashed ark, until one day the strangers unfold the homeworld's bright sky to reveal a sparkling treasure more glorious than even Un'Yhe's museum houses.

  Patriots of Griffin XIII

  The followers of Griffin have built their thirteenth colony in record time. The United Systems rewards the effort by placing the governance of Griffin XIII into the hands of the colonists. For the thirteenth time, the followers of Zeb may live in true freedom. Only none of the twelve previous colonies named Griffin remain, and the ultimate danger resides in the colonists themselves.

  Empty Urns Launched Into Stars

  Paul Seton and Marshall Lincoln are unique dealers in the Singularity. With a little wealth and a lot of faith, clients in Paul and Marshall's office may circumvent death by painlessly uploading their souls into the machine. Paul and Marshall's freedom and sanity are thrown into jeopardy when a tycoon's ambition to ride the Singularity to the stars threatens to expose the Singularity's secrets.

  Butcher, Baker and Replicant Maker

  Nigel Hightower cannot sleep in a world built upon dreams. The machine has shunned Mr. Hightower, refusing to give him digital manifestations of his dreams. So Mr. Hightower finds solace in crafting replicas of the lost world's wildlife for children too young for the computer, until a series of updates threatens Mr. Hightower's audience so that none remain to call him “replicant maker.”

  Mr. Moon’s Daredevil Messiahs

  Famous memory-maker and artist Mr. Moon shatters the natural hierarchy separating human and synthetic when a clone of the Company’s Gus line explodes into flame in an attempt to jump a motorcycle across a wide divide. A new church rises, one that views clones of that Gus line as divine. The world holds its breath as a new order forms after tasting a divine memory harvested by a simple clone.

  Meek in the Fields

  Patch devotes his life working the countryside's fields. As a clone farmer, his life is an isolated one. Yet Patch never felt lonely until a three-legged dog arrived upon his country lane. Patch and the animal form a bond that the clone must one day defend. Thus, the natural order of creation is jeopardized, and the growing of the crop hinges upon a clone's affection for a simple, shaggy friend.

  Mudder Stew

  The world has evolved into a thing Hank Goode hardly recognizes. Witnessing the mudders march in the streets, banging their drums and singing their songs, only increases his sense of alienation. Hank sees that his beloved city is about to leave him behind, but he fails to suspect how ill fortune will force Hank to call the mudders his brothers so that he can accept a bowl of warm, mudder stew.

  Plastic Tulips

  The town of Portis doesn't fault Sophie Carter for gunning down Samantha Tosh in the local grocery store. Knowing that a copy of a younger, more beautiful you walked the streets around your home would drive anyone to murder. Nor was Samantha a person. She was only a synthetic, and Franklin Tosh should've known better than to think a clone could substitute for a human wife.

  FANTASY

  Polish, Dust and Sparkle

  The men in the tight suits and narrow ties grow wealthy by cultivating the worth of their towers’ sparkle. Yet their economy depends upon the toil of the polishers, who work to keep so much glass clean. A magic dancer jeopardizes the fragile skyline when her steps summon a thundering herd, turning the polishers into hunters, and threatening to shatter all the foundations made of fragile glass.

  Kennel, Kingdom and Cro
wn

  Gareth harbors no desire to wear the heavy Stonebrook crown. But a brother's murder wrenches Gareth from his cherished dog field and sets him upon the keep's throne. Gareth has spent his years in the training of war dogs, and he knows little about ruling a kingdom. Somehow, Gareth's loyal dogs will have to be enough as he faces the monsters a necromancer cloaks in the fog.

  Shadow Weapons of Doom

  The Khy'Meir tribes posses few weapons with which to combat the Alhambran Empire. The tribes cannot match the empire's swords, nor do they have the stones with which to build walls. The tribes' only weapon is fear, wielded by their shadows infiltrating the enemy's homeland. But the tribes underestimate how deeply their fear cuts and realize too late the doom their shadows help summon.

  Glorious Gardens of Teetering Rust

  Brandon Tuggle slumbers and toils upon the world's sharpest acres. During the day, he mans the salvage crane and stacks refuse into teetering piles. During the night, he traces maps in his dreams. His skin is scarred by the salvage yard's sharp corners, and lonely Brandon wonders where all his uncles have gone. It takes a surprise visit from Mercy before Brandon can see a color other than rust.

  Legacy of the Chain

  John Johnson tires of his family and name, and so his dreams weave elaborate stories to replace the mediocrity of his days. And then one summer night, a tattooed wizard arrives at the community park to unfold magic of the most incredible kind. With a final unraveling of chain, that stranger transforms John Johnson into a new man by replacing the bonds John knows with much more sinister knots.

  Marblefish

  Three bullies steal the wonderful, swirling marbles offered that year during the summer, county fair from brothers Brad and Brett. Brad fears that such cruelty might crush his younger brother Brett's heart. Brett has not yet learned the injustices crowding the county fair. Yet a game comprised of tossed marbles reminds Brad that fairness, and miracles, have not yet faded from the world.

  The Beckford Bottom Beast

  Ralph sticks his tongue between the terminals of a nine-volt battery, and so becomes initiated into the pack of children who assemble to fight the beast lurking in the river, draining their town of life. The monster has stolen precious treasure from each child who pedals his and her bicycle towards the dark to confront the monster, and those young warriors speed out of town to earn their revenge.

  Stars of the Shoemaker

  The day's greatest athletes wear the green and gold sneakers crafted by the Shoemaker. Spectators cheer as the most revered sporting records fall to the men and women sporting the Shoemaker's trademark shoes of green and gold. And now, the Shoemaker brings a new sneaker to market, one that promises to turn any wearer into a superstar, no matter one's level of talent or dedication.

  Given to Glass

  Goodman Asher has marred his face to show humility. He has sewn shut his mouth. He has broken his nose and cut notches into his ears. Such hurts reward him by summoning a Fay Regent to his mirror. Goodman Asher smiles, for it is rumored that treasure follows the Regent. Only, Goodman Asher misreads the Regent's intention, and Asher's sewn mouth cannot correct the terrible misunderstanding.

  Glass Desires

  Fay appears at the corner of Fifth and Water whenever Adam suffers a recurrence of cancer. Her silver hair and spinning halos comfort Adam during his deepest suffering. Together, Adam and Fay visit fantastic worlds twirling in the snows of magical, glass globes. Adam knows he and Fay would be happy, if only Fay could see how her beloved Regent so cruelly toys with her sprite heart.

  A Cruel and Burning Ice

  Markus Kohl's aching body struggles to attend to his duties as the kingdom's lowly tinker. Though his neighbors rely upon the tinker to keep the mechanisms of their livelihoods in working order, few in the kingdom appreciate Markus's effort. Regardless, Markus satisfies his king's newest request with a creation that will remind everyone of the debts owed to the humble tinker.

  The Llungruel and the Lom

  Llungruel linger in the lom fields around the village. The llungruel is a feared lizard, whose bite brings ravaging fever that drives the mind wild. Malek and Elloch hate the creature, but they must bear the poisonous lizard to grow a sustaining harvest. But after the llungruel kills a brother, Malek and Elloch vow to destroy the lizard, and so discover secrets more bitter than the choking lom.

  HORROR & GHOST STORY

  Opus Wall

  Mr. Sievers is a relic of a lost time. His knowledge of fine arts has earned him his post as the art gallery's curator. But the modern art world doesn't need the curator's trained eye. For the paint-by-number templates determine what the curator mounts upon his walls. Mr. Sievers feels helpless until a dark painting unexpectedly arrives at his gallery to rekindle the stale art world with new fire.

  Zombies Earning Their Hunger

  Ollie Turner vows to ensnare the entire population of the small town of Beckmire into his servant ranks. He will lure them beneath his sway through the boxes of chocolate cakes and the pizza slices sold from his general store's register. Those remaining to claim Beckmire home are listless, lazy and dim, and so they present little challenge to a boneshaker working to multiply his zombies.

  Depth of Field

  Owen Masters doesn't like the community of Flat Knob, and the community doesn't like him. No matter his efforts or intention, Flat Knob has despised Owen since he arrived to teach at the county school. A camera Owen purchases at the Turner estate auction, however, has a strange knack for capturing the dark held within the heart. Through that camera's lens, Owen will claim what is rightly deserved.

  Risen for a Tower

  Cedrick Pyle's tower stretches high to stand as a monument to the mogul's dominion over time. But when the wind blows cold, the desperate and the lonely trespass to find shelter upon Mr. Pyle's estate. Cedrick steadies himself for battle, for he suspects his tower and the poor surrounding it will attract the desire of his nemesis named Turner. And Cedrick knows monsters always follow that man.

  Guarded Keepsakes

  Jay Logan's fortune takes a turn for the better when he purchases the old Turner manse for a bargain. For Jay knows that the decaying Turner home, and its outbuildings in the surrounding acreage, brims with antiques that promise to put more than a little gold into his pocket. Only, Jay learns too late that so many collectibles have been gathered about that old, forgotten home for a reason.

  Not All Spirits Be Foul

  Until the arrival of a pair of brothers, Buck would have whispered to anyone who could hear him that loneliness was the most painful aspect of his haunting. With the arrival of brothers, Buck's old home is filled with games that remind Buck how to laugh. But when an uninvited spirit intrudes, Buck's ghost will transform into any shape needed to defend the new brothers he comes to call family.

  Waters and Mirrors

  Larry McPeak has come to the seer's crimson table in hopes of reaching beyond the veil separating the living from the dead. Among those gathered at the table, only Larry doesn't hide his face behind a mask, and he fears the oversight will prevent him from peering into the table's waters. But the seer promises him his turn, and so Larry stares in the rippling cloth hoping to touch the other side.

  Opal, Is That You?

  Mallory and Mitchell Howard hope a vacation to the woods will help them rediscover their chemistry. If a break from the responsibilities of their everyday lives fails to reignite their old passion, then Mallory and Mitchell hope they might return as changed partners thrilled by new love. Yet the woods hold something sinister, and soon neither Mallory nor Mitchell recognize their own reflections.

  Mary, in Need of Belle

  As the oldest of Kay's daughters, Mary feels it her obligation to protect her sisters who crowd the tight hallways of the trailer they call home. Mother Kay's husband regards Mary and her sisters with dangerous eyes, and Mary feels the footsteps of Belle creeping up behind her. Mary knows that if she cannot protect her sisters that Belle will discard her spi
rit to make whatever stand Mary cannot.

  A Voice That Summons Monsters

  Radio talk-show host Max Jervis plays the part of victim better than anyone, and that talent has made Mr. Jervis a very wealthy man. Mr. Jervis will share in any indignity and imagine any conspiracy that might help grow his broadcast empire. But Mr. Jervis forgets that there is a monster for every victim until a scraping and clawing arrive one night outside his studio door.

  A Handicap of Shades

  Lyle Davenport golfs for memories instead of birdies. The old course's clubhouse has vanished. His arms and back turn too stiff for a graceful swing, and Lyle realizes more tee drives arc behind him than fly in front of him. Still, Lyle keeps to his weekly rounds. He shares tee-times with ghosts, and Lyle would never traverse the narrow fairways of his memory from the comfort of a cart.

  The Dusty Dead’s Revenge

  Albino and ugly Maggie Turner vows to avenge her brothers. The village of Dry Acre does nothing to bring her brothers' murderers to justice. Even Maggie's father does little to stop the killing of his sons. So Maggie shapes the symbols of her family's dark magics in the dust, and in doing so, releases a swarm of wrath that sentences her to ever onward step a dark and blighted path.

  The Dusty Dead in the Valley of the Blossoms

  Grandfather Henry clutches his granddaughter, his Sunflower, close as armies prepare to turn his village nestled in the valley into a battlefield. The roses still bloom no matter that the surrounding hills are so dry, and Henry knows the village defenders will once more rise to protect them. Only, Sunflower must know the dark, and bitter, tale of their defenders’ origins.

  The Warden’s Mark

  Wilson waits for his freedom while monsters growl within the prison’s walls. Unnatural darkness shrouds the prison since the murder of his prophet Luke Turner. He smiles though his cellmates plan his murder. For his prophet's tattoos snake upon his skin, promising that death will be but a short sleep before he awakes a free man. Wilson's faith cannot suspect that prophets keep unspoken motives.

  MANIFOLD & SUNDRY

  The Old Town Butcher

  Chuck Wuebbles has lost much since his relocation into Old Town. All of the possessions Chuck earned as a younger man have been noted in the Administrators' black notebooks, to be liquidated to pay for the care Chuck's age will inevitably demand. Yet the Administrators have not taken all. Chuck still possesses his old skills; and with a knife and cleaver, Chuck vows to keep one final freedom.

  Cat-Tooth Magic and Dog-Eared Miracles

  Kate no longer runs in the field with her loyal dog Gyp. Gyp worries for Kate's exhaustion. Gyp sees how the color fades from his beloved master. He knows how Kate sweats through sleepless nights. Gyp suspects a terrible sickness gripping Kate, and he fears the family cat Isis holds a terrible secret from him, one which Gyp is determined to learn no matter if he has to shake that cat apart.

  Rooms Without Furniture

  The stoning sickness has entered Mark Pence's home, banishing his father into the attic's secluded shadows. Stiffening as his limbs turn heavy and his skin morphs into stone, Mark's father warns not to open their door to the knock of that fool who travels the land promising healing. Only, Mark cannot forget how his father languishes in the attic, and his family's faith has never been so tested.

  Men Wore Hats

  The community of Monteray's suffering budget dooms the park's baseball diamond to demolition to make way for development. The community gives Mr. Harmon the task of informing Coach Boyle of the decision. Mr. Harmon's conversation with the aging, yet still powerful, coach proves a difficult one, for the the gap between the two men assign them each to a different time.

  The House on Maple Street

  A reunion with his life’s only true love, Maxine, relieves Gerald Hollenkamp from his years of regret. Time, however, cannot be paused for the sake of memory; and Gerald fears he has lost his true love for good when Maxine’s weakening mind places her in a retirement home. Yet a magic remains, and with a glamour masking his gray beard, Gerald has a chance to remain beside his Maxine.

  The Tent in the Gymnasium

  Hudson Keel cannot control his imagination, and so he fears that the tent of singers and storytellers which rises each year in his school holds a secret his classmates cannot fathom. Hiding a pocketknife in his sneaker, Hudson takes his first step into the tent and is surprised to learn that his imagination is a treasure, instead of the curse his mother and his classmates regard it to be.

  Novels

  Mr. Hancock’s Signature

  The dead walk in Monteray. The corpse of a nearly forgotten farmer named Hancock arrives via train. Ian Washington remembers Mr. Hancock and vows to return the body home. Yet Mr. Hancock's body will not rest while Ian works to reopen a cemetery, and the corpse staring each morning upon the doorstep forces the town to choose between the isolation of their fear or the hope of their fellowship.

  The Sisters Will Dance

  Blaine Woosely claws his way back to the living. He has cleaned his blood of his addiction, and an unexpected, family farm home rewards his efforts. Only, the country acres isolate Blaine when a sharp-toothed monster hunts to bring Blaine back to dark. The sad history of Blaine's blood brings magic to the country home's new master, but in the end, only Blaine himself can break his chains.

 
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