“Offshoots” Dark Fantasy by Cecilia Kennedy

At the Neon Studios Salon, tails creeped luxuriously along the napes of necks in shades of lavender and pearl—and I wanted one—one that hissed and shimmered, one that blinked with long eyelashes and snaky curves. My mother said that no self-respecting daughter of hers would ever go there. Rumor had it that the walls were filled with the bones of the dead, but it was also the best place to get the latest hair styles, the kind that all of the boys at school liked.

            To get a boy to like you, everyone knew you had to have the stair-step bob with the long, leafy tail that sprung to life, growing in the back—the one that made the boys sneak a hand up there and run the tail through their fingers, hoping it would lick them.

“I’ve seen the way boys behave when girls your age grow a tail, letting it swing to and fro while walking, swaying their hips. Don’t ever disrespect yourself like that. Don’t get used,” my mother had said, but I didn’t see the harm.

            The tails were mesmerizing. Everyone I knew wanted one, and everyone’s grew in differently, in different colors. My friends told me that after the stylist washed their hair and trimmed it, they pulled out a sharp knife and cut an indentation in the nape of the neck. They said the stylists kept gems in various shapes and colors in a special drawer and would insert one into the cut. My friends swore that it didn’t hurt at all because the knife was incredibly sharp, and the stylists had a special license to perform light surgical procedures. Once the gem, which was gel-like, was inserted, the stylists pricked it and seeds oozed out. Over time, the tails grew, developed, licked fingers, or playfully hissed.

            The Neon Studios Salon didn’t exist inside of a mall, wedged between a movie theater and an arcade. To get to it, I borrowed my mother’s car (on the pretense of running errands) and drove it through wooded streets, just past the center of town, where all of the country clubs shared views of forest canopies in the summer. All kinds of women—important women—snuck off to the salon while their husbands played golf. They didn’t let their tails grow too long, and they modified the bob cut just a bit—enough to be stylish, but still acceptable in their social circles. I didn’t have to worry about any of that, and neither did my friends. We were young and had nothing to do with country club circles.

            At the edge of a wooded street, stood a massive, Craftsman-style home, with white trim. From the outside, it didn’t look like much. It didn’t look like it could be the hub of modern style.

However, there was a sign, done up in soft purple, fluorescent lights that flashed “Neon Studios Salon,” but not in that creepy, motel-by-the-side-of-the-road way. More like a dream-sequence music video in pulses of desire and mystery. Inside, walls the color of deep eggplant gleamed in the light of crystal chandeliers, which hung from the ceiling. The air smelled of perfume and fruit-scented hairspray and shampoo. Mirrors shined, etched in gold. A stylist, Rochelle, who was blond with a violet, glitter-streaked tail that slapped the air behind her, took me to the shampooing station to begin my appointment. Already, I knew I was in excellent hands. I ignored what I thought were groans and shrieks coming from the walls, somewhat drowned out by the latest Top 40 hits blaring through the speakers, booming with synthesizer beats. I still heard the noises faintly and wondered if Rochelle heard them too. They sounded sorrowful, anxious, and if I looked close enough, I thought I saw the walls move. But it was clear that Rochelle didn’t want me looking at the walls. She’d turn my head in the sink whenever she caught me straining my neck. The ashen flakes that fell all around, though, were hard to ignore. They landed on the sleeves of the protective black cape Rochelle game me, and in Rochelle’s hair. Someone came by to sweep up the piles that accumulated on the floor, and I wondered if they were the remnants from the dead—the bones in the walls. I wondered if that’s what made this place so special.

            In the main salon area, Rochelle worked quickly to chop off my shoulder-length locks, shaping my hair into a sharp bob with distinct stair-step layers in the back. Then, she took out a knife.

            “Most people say it doesn’t really hurt,” she told me. “Sometimes it does, though. Just depends.”

I nodded my head. She opened a drawer at her station and showed me the gems I could choose. They all looked impossibly beautiful, but I eventually settled on a diamond-shaped, green glittered gem.

            “Don’t move,” she said, “and uncross your legs. Otherwise, your body will be uneven and so will your cut.”

After injecting the back of my neck with a topical numbing agent, Rochelle made the first cut, which felt like fire, searing and burning, despite the numbing solution, but I refused to scream or cry—or jump. Why would I? Pain was a part of the deal. I’d be entering the world changed, and everyone would notice, especially the boys.

            “There. All done,” Rochelle said, before pricking the diamond gel pack, letting the seeds run smooth and warm down my neck. She then massaged the area to work the seeds in and told me not to wash my hair for 24 hours at least. I left the salon with everything my babysitting earnings could get me, which included a 20-ounce bottle of lavender jasmine shampoo (specially formulated to help tails grow), matching conditioner, mousse, and hairspray.

            At first, my mother didn’t notice. The nub that formed on my neck was my secret, and I’d gently rub it, just to make sure it was still there. Within a few weeks, though, the seedlings started to sprout, growing like ruffles on lace collars, trailing down my neck, weaving themselves into one sturdy strand of brilliant garden green, speckled with light. Never mind that when I went to the beach that year, I wore a skimpy bathing suit, much too revealing for a girl my age. Never mind that I blossomed and spilled out of the spaces strategically cut into the bathing suit. It was the tail that enraged my mother the most.

“Oh, you’re getting attention all right. The wrong kind of attention. And everyone’s talking about you—all of the neighbors—all of my friends. I’m so embarrassed.”

            While I was somewhat ashamed because of what my mom said, I just couldn’t stop myself. I’d look in the mirror, pull the lovely strand across my shoulder and over my neck and admire the way the glint of green picked up lighter shades in my eyes. It hissed happily, darting between my fingers, and I just couldn’t imagine how I’d look without it.

            The solution to my problem, I believed, was silence. I shut my mother out. We stopped talking. I stayed longer after school, went over to my friends’ houses more often—my friends who all had tails, just like I did. Besides, a tail didn’t mean you had to do anything with a boy. You just could if you wanted to, at least, that’s what I thought until my friend Jodi mentioned the walls at the Neon Studios Salon. I remembered the rumors but hadn’t thought about them for a while. Despite what I had experienced when I got my hair cut, I brushed the sounds and the ashes off as nothing. To me, the rumors had to be entirely untrue.

            “Oh, no!” Jodi told me one day at her house. “If you get a tail, you have to follow through or else. The bones in the walls are from virgins—other girls who got tails but didn’t follow through.”

            “Follow through?”

            “Yeah, you know?”

            “Have you . . . followed through before?”

            “Yeah. It’s no big deal. But if you don’t, well, the walls know. They whisper their secrets to the owners of the salon. They find you in the middle of the night—or in the middle of the day.”

“That’s not true.”

            “Remember Betsy Mulligan?”

            “She moved.”

            “She didn’t. Her tail grew in, but she didn’t follow through. Think about it. When’s the last time you saw Betsy Mulligan?”

            “We were eating ice cream at the mall. And then, I don’t remember what happened next. I guess her parents picked her up or something.”

            “No. She was snatched up off the street. Her virgin bones were ground to powder and stuffed inside the walls. The sacrifices of virgins—not the shampoos and gels and seeds—make the tails grow.”

Jodi’s news was alarming, and I half considered cutting the tail off to maybe break the spell, if it could be broken that way, but I couldn’t. I loved it—the whole look. I couldn’t imagine going out in public with out it. I’d be so plain with just a naked stair-step bob. I’d be nothing special.       

            But I couldn’t let myself get sacrificed, either, if the rumors were true. As much as I hated my mother, I didn’t want her to grieve the loss of a daughter. So I followed through, with the first boy I met a party. We spent fifteen minutes in a closet together. For me, the experience was underwhelming, but necessary. He wanted another date, said he thought we bonded, reached for my hair, but the tail pulled away. In fact, the tail lasted longer than the boy, and I left the party with my life intact, but wondering if anyone would notice. Would anyone, such as my mother, be able to tell that I followed through?

Eventually, there were signs. The green strand grew long, sassy, and started to hiss. Apparently, you’re not supposed to let it get too long. You had to get it trimmed, but I liked the length. My mother, on the other hand, believed the length was a new source of embarrassment.

            “It looks awful. Even your friends haven’t grown their tails to the length you have. Why do you insist on just destroying yourself?” Then, she yanked the front of my hair, turning my face towards her, and asked, “Have you had sex? Tell me now. I’m not leaving you alone until you tell me.”

My mother’s threats were never empty. Her rage knew no boundaries. If I left the room, she’d follow me, and there were no locks on the doors in our house. Those were the rules.

            “Yes! So what? At least I had the decency to not get sacrificed to the salon. So there, Mom. You happy? Happy, Mom?”

My mother put her head in her hands and mumbled something about how she’d be able to take care of a pregnant daughter.

            “No, Mom,” I said. “I’m not pregnant. We were careful.”

            “So will there be more—boys? Times?”

For the first time in a long while, I saw a smile on her face. Her shoulders began to shake as she laughed. A big, powerful, triumphant laugh that rang out through the streets. I’d just said the funniest thing she’d ever heard.

            She never spoke badly about the tail again. In fact, she let me grow it out longer, and later, when Dad left us, she went to the Neon Studios Salon and got one too—in blazing red.

            “I don’t think so. It wasn’t that great.”

From then on, every afternoon during the rest of my high school years, we’d sit on the front porch. Mom would pour me a glass of champagne, and we’d watch the cars go by, our shimmering tails, hissing and snapping at the air.

Cecilia Kennedy taught English and Spanish courses in Ohio before moving to Washington state and publishing short stories in various magazines and anthologies. The Places We Haunt is her first short story collection. You can find her DIY humor blog and other adventures/achievements here: (https://fixinleaksnleeksdiy.blog/). Twitter: @ckennedyhola

“The Sea of Purple” A Tale of a Terrifying Future by Ethan Maiden

Welcome to Evergreen.
	Tis a place known to no map in the old world. Its beauty lies rich and vibrant; endless green farmland and vast woodland surround it, protect it, this village of endless spring. 
	As residents we know not of winter, of snow or rain, we only know of warmth and the eternal youth the fruit shall bring. 
	We are not allocated a traditional name one associates with people of a similar appearance in the old world. Instead, we are given a letter from birth by our Elders. 
	I am K. Along with me, there are three other K’s in the village, all born on the same cycle.
	Teachings of the old world cite that offspring come from the womb of a woman, in Evergreen we come from the womb of the earth. We are chosen by a greater power to come to this place and mask in the beauty, forever young until the time comes for us to return from which we came.  
	We’re assigned chores by the Elders.
	Some of us are assigned washing duties, others prepare the meals.
	And some pick – the fruit.
	The fruit grows in the spanning fields, spawned from some ancient and otherworldly force known only to us as - The Sea of Purple. 
	I pick the fruit, it’s no bigger than my palm. The round squidgy texture glows with an orange shimmer. The basking colour inside makes it hard to resist, it’s inviting to just take it into your mouth and bite down. The juices would flow through our veins, making us ripe once again. 
	However, we’re forbidden to eat the fruit by the Elders during the picking; we eat when they tell us to eat. 
	I usually pick three baskets of fruit a day, although I can tell the quantity is dwindling as I’m struggling to now fill one. The fruit is becoming harder to find and that means a summoning by the Elders is imminent.
	The fields are flanked by fruit trees on either side, most of which are just shy of my height. Approaching is a familiar face. It’s one of two J’s of the village. She has pale flesh, blonde hair in a ponytail hidden behind a white veil. J’s dress is red, flowing above her tight white tunic and flaring from the waist.
	J and I had always been close. We’d attended the teachings of the Elders together, learning about the old world. When J was assigned picking duty I was ecstatic, spending time in this field searching for the orange glimmer all day, one can become quite lonely.
	‘Good day,’ I said as we met. I looked in her basket and saw a dozen pieces of fruit, not nearly enough for this time of day. ‘The fruit runs scarce for us it would seem.’
	She nodded looking down at her basket, ‘Madam Elder will be announcing a summoning any day now.’
	I concurred, ‘aye, I believe it would be your time to bless the earth.’			
	J crouched down to the hard dirt and ran her hand over the loose gravel. ‘Tis a great honour to become one with the earth again,’ she said standing, her face falling distant. ‘I have to say that I would have enjoyed more time with you before I leave.’
	Tis true; the feeling was mutual. 
	As residents of Evergreen, we are forbidden to have any physical contact with another. Physical relations result in rotten fruit, and that could bring an end to our beautiful society. But it would be a lie to say that I didn’t feel the warmth flare in my body when I laid eyes on J.
	‘Aye, it’s a shame our friendship will be over prematurely,’ I said, feeling a small ache in my chest. 
	When we returned to the village, we placed our half-filled baskets in the temple hall ready for collection. 
	W, who is one of the food preparers came and looked what we had managed to scrape together. He was a bullish boy with a few strands of hair mopped over his shiny head.  
	‘Is that it?’ he sniggered. ‘With what the others brought, I will barely be able to feed the village.’
	‘The fruit is hard to come by at the moment,’ I said.
	W looked up at J, ‘it shall be you who redeems the fields then, huh?’
	‘And with great honour,’ she replied without hesitation.
	As I made my way back to my shed I wondered about J’s words. She would have liked to spend more time with me? This sounds foreign, I’d never heard of any member of the community with a distaste of giving themselves to The Sea of Purple. 
	A peculiar notion. Since birth from the ground I have always looked forward to when my time comes to nourish the fields. It’s our purpose to serve the Elders and give ourselves to The Sea of Purple. 
	There was tightening in my chest, a prodding burden. I couldn’t get J out of my head, her pretty face refusing to leave my vision. 
	I entered my shed and bolted the door.
	The community sheds were identical. They were made from the wood of the forest, sculptured from thick trunks. It was a haven, a place to recuperate before the next day’s hard work.
	We had a wooden block to lay on and rest and at the moment - think. 
	When the dark came, we would stare out to the night sky and prey to the Great Ones, as Madam Elder taught us. 
	They have given us a sanctuary to live until we are called back to the gut of the world, she had said on many a teaching. 
	Yet tonight, I couldn’t forget J. 
	Dinner was served in the temple as nightfall fell upon the village. 
	The temple was a vast structure, towering above all else. It was where the Elder’s resided and seated the entire village, twenty-three of us on either side of the long table. At the head was another table that faced us seating the seven Elders, with Madam Elder at the center. She was tall, thin, with a mop of blonde hair to her bony shoulders. Madam Elder had small piercing eyes, hazel in colour and dressed in a long white robe with blue collar. The other Elders were matched in the same clothing. Three male and three female, all with the same stern and piercing expression as they watched us. 
	Along the middle of the table were bowls of fruit, shining under the candlelight.
	Across from me sat J, the glow in her face from earlier had become absent.
	With a twang of the drum, Madam Elder rose, towering like a goddess.
	‘As you all can see, the fruit is falling in numbers by the day,’ Madam said, her voice
echoing off all the walls. ‘The time has come for a summoning, where we will grace the earth and
be rewarded with new life. It is tomorrow, under the night sky where we shall present our gift to
the great Sea of Purple.’
	Madam Elder looked over to J and smiled, ‘do you accept this honour, child?’ she asked.
	‘I do,’ J replied.
	Madam Elder then turned to the other J sitting further down the table, ‘and you, child?’
	‘Yes, Madam,’ the burly boy replied.
	‘Then it shall be tomorrow where you shall arrive in your purest forms. Tonight, you will
feast,’ Madam Elder said holding out her hands. ‘But first we pray.’
	Madam Elder sat and we all placed our palms on the table in tandem. 
	It was Papa Elder sitting to Madam’s right who spoke the words:

Thank you for the fruit, 
It shall fill our veins and replace our blood.
We shall remain young, faithful and ready at your will,
when the time comes, we shall bow in all your grandeur.
There is no death in Evergreen, only rebirth.
It is under your guidance and grace,
that we continue to live free and in paradise.

	‘Amen,’ we all said together.
	‘Feast, children,’ Madam Elder instructed.
	Then we ate and ate well. The aches in our bones vanished. The lines under the elder’s
eyes reversed and youthfulness flourished across their brows.
	My eyes locked with J’s, a sadness laid between us that I’d never felt before.
	After dinner, I went back and laid in my shed, staring at nothing. J’s face, that’s all I could
picture as the darkness drew in.
	When the knock came on my door, I sprang up, thankful for the distraction. It was J stood
outside, her eyes glistening in the light of the burning torches planted around
the village.  
	‘J, are you all right?’ I asked.
	She nodded and took my hand within hers. ‘It’s my last night in Evergreen, I was
wondering if you’d accompany me to the place where this world falters and the next begins?’
	My head told me to stay and decline the offer, if Madam Elder found out that we’d been
out together then the repercussions would be dastardly. Yet, my heart pushed me out the door, my
hand gripping J’s tightly.
	To the north of the village sat Eden hill, the tallest point that looked out over the village
and endless woodland. It was forbidden to venture there, only the Elders were permitted to look
beyond Evergreen. Planted in the middle of the hill was the tall oak, the tree full of bloom which
held the ripest of fruit. Again, it was the Elder’s privilege to taste the fruit that fell from the tall
	‘I don’t think we should be up here, J,’ I said as she dragged me up the final steps of the
	‘I am giving myself to Evergreen,’ she replied. ‘To gaze upon where the sky ends is
something I have to see.’
	We reached the top of Eden and fell to the ground exhausted. 
	Nothing could have prepared me for what flowed beneath the other side. A terrain of
colour swirled in a pool of purple where the night sky ended. The greens and oranges
mingled and caressed one another back and forth.
	The Sea of Purple. 
	It was glorious. 
	‘And there it is,’ J said. ‘The place where Evergreen ends and another world begins. The
Sea of Purple, the great one that comes alive when summoned.’
	‘What do you think is beyond this great sea?’ I asked fixated on the sparkling pool.
	‘The book of Evergreen speak of a place not like ours.’
	‘You read Madam Elder’s transcript?’ I asked aghast.
	J didn’t directly answer me, she just said: ‘The book speaks of a world where people like
us grow old … together. A place where the night sky is alive with twinkling light and a white sun.
Tis a place where people like me and you hold one another, where we give life to offspring.’
	I frowned, ‘the fruit?’
	J smiled, ‘the fruit does not exist in this other place.’
	‘Then how do the Elder’s stay young?’
	‘There are no Elder’s,’ J replied. ‘In this other world, you grow old until the time is right.’
	It almost killed me but I managed to pull my eyes away from the purple vortex and stared
into J’s eyes. 
	‘I think we need to be heading back,’ I said.
	J smiled and nodded, ‘you know, I would enter this void now to see this other world, if
only you’d come with me.’
	I reclined in fear as J grabbed my hands.
	‘We could be more,’ she continued. ‘Evergreen isn’t the end, there is so much more, it’s
just Madam Elder is reluctant to share her knowledge. We could leave and grow old together, K. I
have read the transcript and know this to be true. My heart aches as I know yours does too, we
could be together in another life.’
	‘Tis true that I feel something odd whenever I think of you. Yet leaving Evergreen is not
something any of us should consider. We are a family and the family needs the fruit.’
	J peered down solemnly. ‘I know you’re right,’ she whispered. ‘It was unfair of me to
bring you here.’
	‘No, I’m glad I saw such beauty.’
	‘It is beautiful,’ she replied staring at the void of purple.
	‘I wasn’t talking about the sea,’ I said, my eyes now firmly on her.
	J stared back and bloomed.
	Back at the village I walked J back to her shed and bid her goodnight. As I strolled down
the path back to my dwelling, I saw the tall imposing figure of Madam Elder stood outside the
	‘K, come forth,’ she said.
	The tone in her voice made my chest pump.
	‘Yes, Madam.’
	‘What are you doing out of your shed at such a time?’ she asked.
	I declined to answer, one does not tell lies to Madam Elder.
	‘You’ve been somewhere you shouldn’t have?’ she probed.
	She knows … she knows I have seen where the world bounds with another … the Sea of Purple.
	‘Aye, Madam,’ I replied. ‘There is no excuse for my treason. I shall serve with any debt
you deem adequate.’
	Madam Elder placed her long finger against my lips and stared into my soul with those
bright eyes. ‘Shushh, child,’ she whispered. ‘In Evergreen, thou shall be tested by many a thing.
Tis how you come through those tests which determine what kind of Evergreen resident you are.’
	I nodded.
	Madam said: ‘Tomorrow is the summoning, where we bring forth the great one, the one
who will cherish us with life, I would like you to stand beside me, child.’
	My eyes studied her, ‘that would truly be an honour, Madam,’ I said.
	‘Then go and rest,’ she replied.
	As the warmth of day returned, I felt different. The words of Madam Elder had placed me
at ease, even though she knew of my treachery.
	At breakfast and lunch, I kept my head down. I felt two sets of eyes staring at me as I ate:
J’s and Madam Elders. They were both watching me, I could feel it, both for different reasons.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a flicker of sorrow losing my lifelong friend at the
summoning. But that is what we have to sacrifice to live here in Evergreen, the eternal beauty and
life comes with a price. I had to shun away those warm feelings in the pit of my stomach.
	I locked myself away the shed for the rest of day, surprised that there were no knocks at
the door. I thought that J would give it one last attempt to run away to this so-called other “old
	Yet, J did not come forth. Instead I was left with nothing but my thoughts and they were
consumed with the Sea of Purple.
	The drums boomed out as darkness fell on the village.
	It was time.
	In my small wooden cabinet was the summoning attire. It consisted of a long flowing
white robe, blue collar and the mask carved from the woodland trees. I placed it on the front of my
face and tied the rope behind my head. The mask was heavy with thick slits chipped out where my
eyes fell. The masks of the villagers matched with one another, the Sea demanded we appear equal
during a summoning.
	Once ready I exited the shed. Many of the other residents were already stood outside with
their masks on and flaming torches in hand. I grabbed my burning torch and waited patiently. 
	The whole village fell silent. No sound other than the flickering flames.
	The Elder’s walked down the road, Madam’s flowing dress made her appear as though
floating like some goddess. She wore the huge Elder wicker mask that matched her grandeur. Papa
walked next to her followed by the other Elder’s; they strode straight ahead with purpose. Behind
the Elder’s: the two J’s. Both of which were absent of clothes, their pale flesh looking as pure as
when they came into this world.
	The village followed behind them in tandem.
	When the head of the group reached me, I waited to see if J would give me one last glance
… she didn’t.
	I studied her naked body and felt that warmth enter me again. J’s long blonde
 hair now
dropped to her bare shoulders. She was true beauty to behold, only matched by that of Evergreen
and the Sea of Purple.
	I joined the group as the Elder’s marched us to the bottom of Eden hill. There we stopped
and Madam Elder took off her mask turning to face the group. 
	‘Tonight, we summon the one that shall bring us fresh and eternal life,’ Madam said. ‘The
great one shall take their prize and bless us with the fruit that binds us together, maybe even create
us new lives to cherish.’
	Madam Elder held out her arms to bring forth the two J’s. They walked up and stood
beside her, one on either side. 
	Madam bellowed: ‘The chosen ones must now leave us to rejoin with the earth from which
they spawned.’ Madam Elder looked at me, a shot of cold eyes, ‘K, join me,’ she said.
	The group all turned and when I stepped forward, they parted without hesitation.
	Reaching out I took Madam Elder’s hand. She placed me next to J and I felt my heart beat
faster, a longing to hold her one last time. 
	Madam Elder continued, this time her voice louder – unworldly: ‘Great one, the one who
resides in the Sea of Purple and wonder. Come forth and take these offerings we give to you. Bless
us with your beauty and wonder.
	Followed by rumbling beneath my feet. 
	Madam’s eyes grew bigger, ‘the great one has heard our plea, now all must shield your
eyes, we are too inferior to gaze upon the great ones wonder,’ Madam said picking up her mask
and placing it back upon her crown.
	The rumbling was followed by an almighty growl that made my ears yelp.
	The ground shook harder as I clenched my eyes as tight as I could.
	There were shrieks, whistles and gusts of wind as the darkness came alive. 
	I twitched my hand with contemplation to reach over and take J’s.
	The sound boomed and was thunderous before slowly subsiding and fading away back to
	Instinctively I reached out and grabbed nothing but thin air.
	‘You are now free to open your eyes,’ Madam Elder said.
	Quickly, I snapped my hand back by my side before anyone had the chance to see my
	J was gone.
	‘The great one has taken the offering, be gone now and prey that they bless us with fresh
life,’ Madam ordered.
	The residents of Evergreen took their leave back to the village.
	As I went to walk, Madam grabbed my arm.
	‘Tis with great bravery that you shunned your desires,’ Madam whispered. ‘You have
proven yourself to be a noble resident. Perhaps there is potential to be an Elder in you,’ Madam
	‘Really? An Elder, me?’ I asked aghast. 
	‘Many a more challenge shall come forth, my child. It is how you deal with those
challenges which determine Elder status.’
	‘But Madam, I’m K, next in line for the summoning.’
	Madam took off her mask and smiled. ‘If there is Elder status in you then the great one
shall spare you, child, just as it did with me. The Sea of Purple and wonder are more than we
could ever imagine. If you are chosen, there are secrets that you shall learn. Until then, rest.’
	The following day I headed out to pick the fruit. 
	Specks of crimson sprayed the fruit trees with chunks of pale flesh scattering the fields and
on the floor. Crouching down I ran my hand over the remains of J, now seeding the earth.
	‘Your beauty will endure,’ I said.  
	As I stood, I peered into the distance, gazing at the shimmer of light.
	Flashes and sparkles of orange.
	Fresh fruit had begun to grow.
	The Sea of Purple had given us our blessing.

Ethan works for a utilities company in South Yorkshire. Currently he is editing his first novel that he hopes to be completed this year. The works of Stephen King and H.P Lovecraft are influences behind his fiction.