Phalium arium ssp. anams

By Victoria Sandbrook · Nov 28, 2018
904 words · 4-minute reading time

Each morning, our little ones would gather up dozens of snails and put them on our patio table and watch them take their trip back to the flower beds they came from.

Photo by Gene Pensiero via Unsplash.

From the author: A carnival sideshow. A few cryptids, captive in plain sight. A really boring date. And magic.

Nora tugged her gloves down further over her freckled wrists. Every other couple in line had linked arms, but John Reidy had not so much as inched his elbow towards her. She wasn’t sure what pained her more: the ache in her hands screaming that this parish carnival sideshow hid more magic than most or her inept suitor. The line could not move fast enough.

But nothing about this show was fast. Patrons shuffled between intricate, though fraudulent, displays: palm-sized peacocks with visible clockwork, chicken-sized dragon eggs wiggling as a hidden steam boiler hissed, monkeys that might as well have still had their old organ-grinder parts attached. Nora struggled not to roll her eyes. Dull, boring, badly engineered. And not a true cryptid to be seen. Everyone else had sighed, pointed, marveled. Only John Reidy seemed as disappointed as Nora. He’d polished his glasses, refolded his handkerchief in his pale fingers, and said “hmm,” three times.

Nora wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or...

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