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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

Harris Tobias
The Tooth Fairy War and Other Tales

Jeromy Henry
Time Wars & other SciFi Tales

Gordon Rowlinson

Fairy Wings


James Turnbull

She hated going to the market. It wasn't the smell, though the smell of animals and unwashed humans did oppress her sensitive nose somewhat. It wasn't the claustraphobia, though there was a never ending press of beast and man against her wherever she tried to go. Nor was it the loudness, though the people and the merchants were much louder than they'd been in her own home. No, Zamrithane hated the market because of the bards.

Not that the bards didn't play well. They played wonderfully. Some of them, in any case. But their ability to play well was the very thing Zamrithane hated about the market. The music reminded her of her home, the more beautiful, the more vivid the memories. Her kind were not welcome here, and she had known that when she married Thraggard. But she loved him, and he her, so she put up with things that made her life hard. She put up with the binding cloths, she dealt with the concerns of the commoners, she dealt with feeling of overbearing crowds. And she dealt with the bards.

"Oh, hello Zamrithane!"
The voice knocked her from her reverie. She turned,hearing the voice of one of the neighbor women. She put on a cheerful smile, like a good wife. She would be expected to talk of sewing, and of cooking, and of other things that she knew little of and cared about even less. But she would do it.

And she did talk about them. She made a few slip ups, but everyone knew Thraggard had a young wife. They couldn't expect a young wife to know everything, and so they were helpful, for which Zamrithane was always thankful. But the need for clothes bothered her as always, as did the need to toil for food. She quickly put those thoughts out of her head. They would do her no good, especially as she saw a bard set himself down on the fountain edge near to where she stood. She excused herself from her conversation, giving reason of needing to hurry home to get some sewing done. Thraggard's socks wouldn't darn themselves, after all.

She began to move quickly, in hopes of escaping the sound of the bard's playing. But luck was not with her that day, as a wonderfully haunting melody began to fill the air. And as usual, the crowd began to hush to better hear the music, leaving Zamrithane wondering why they were never loud when it would most benefit her. She tried to get a merchant's attention, but he shushed her, intent upon the music that was being played.

With a dark look, she turned towards the bard, wishing he would hurry up. But her mood began to lighten as the music continued. It was very beautiful, after all, and did remind her of home. And without realizing it, she stepped forward to dance, spinning softly, the hem of her dress spreading outwards as she did so. Her arms moved gracefully to the beat, her feet stepping easily to create a rhythm that added depth to the already hauntingly beautiful sound. A few people backed away to give her room, and she gloried in the extra space, her dance become more intricate and detailed.

The bard's music changed, the notes becoming more upbeat and jovial, and her dance changed to match it. Her steps became lighter, she jumped into the air as she spun. She felt the back of her dress rip, but she had become to swept up in the music to care. She felt muscles on her back, so long disused, flex and bend like they had been made to do. She felt her fall to the ground slow, and herself float for a moment, like the dances back home.

And then she felt her feet hit the ground, and she heard the music stop. She opened her eyes, and realized that everyone was staring with shock and horror at the young woman with gossamer wings protruding from her back. And her only thought was that she had failed her husband.

Read more stories by this author

2012-08-18 10:13:52
I enjoyed this quite a bit! I would be interested in reading an extended version with more backstory and a continuation of this story. :)

2009-03-25 00:29:36
wrong grammar what an idiot

2009-01-07 20:47:32
Very nice short story. I can visualize this very easy, which is not something I can do with every story.

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