Sunday, February 27, 2011

Issue Eight, Volume One

From the Editor's Desk
     Hello and welcome to Issue Eight! This issue we are featuring works of magical realism by women authors.
     Also if you or someone you know makes music or graphic art we would cherish the opportunity to present their works online. To inquiry about submitting music or art just follow the same guidelines as submitting a piece of poetry or fiction and either attach the art or give us a link to the music.
Daniel J. "Kiddy" Pool

Never Trust Witches
ByFarida Samerkhanova

My wife said it was too hot outside and stayed home.

I was sitting on the bench near the pond when a girl came up to me. Right away I could tell that she was not a human being. She had wild sparkles in her eyes. She said that she could turn me into an animal, just for ten minutes if I wanted. The experiment did not scare me. I somehow liked the witch. Her name was Belinda.

The little witch turned me into a rabbit. I felt uncomfortable because I was very close to the ground. Trees and bushes were so big.

When a female rabbit approached me I immediately found myself at her back doing my job. In a few moments it was over. The female rabbit ran away. Life was good. I enjoyed lying in the sun. I felt relaxed.

The bliss was interrupted by Belinda. My time was over. I jumped to the bushes. The metamorphosis was neither painful, nor unpleasant. I felt OK. All my clothes were on me, as they ought to be. Everything around had the right size. I looked back and saw Belinda. She was waving her hand to me.

It was only when I came home that I realized what I had done. I had sex with somebody else! I was a cheater. I was standing on the porch. It was hard to do regular things, like turning the key, kissing my wife and looking into her eyes.

About the Author:  
     Farida Samerkhanova lives in Toronto, Ontario. She is a graduate of Bashkir State University (Russia).
     English is her third language after Tatarian and Russian. Her work has been translated into Russian, Tatar and Serbian languages. Her letters to the editor have appeared in Elle Canada, Canadian Stories and Canadian Immigrant. Her poems, short stories and essays have been published by more than 50 literary magazines in UK, USA, Canada and Turkey.
      She is participating in a documentary film titled “Her Choice – Hijab and Beyond the Dress Code”, which is currently in production.

A Circle of Frogs
By—Judith Mesch

It had been raining on and off all day.  Will stood at the window and looked past the apple tree, hoping someone would drive up the road to Grandma’s house.  He took a big bite of his tuna sandwich, and chewed ten times before he swallowed.  Another bite, “...Eight, nine ten.” Swallow.

Will put the sandwich down on the counter and said, “Why is it still raining, Grandma?”
 Grandma was standing at the sink, scrubbing potatoes.  “Well, Will, just think how good the rain is for my garden.  What would it do without a good rain?  My vegetables would be thirsty, poor things, and puny. Not to mention my beautiful flowers. Rain is good for growing, Will.”  

“Well, I wish there was something to do besides watch the rain or watch T.V.  I’m tired of video games, there’s nothing on T.V. and there’s no one home to play with.” 

Will was restless.  His brother and sister were back in the city with Mom, having cavities filled by Dr. Dave.

“If you wait ‘til I put up this stew I’ll play you a game of whatever” Grandma soothed.

“I want to do something now, Grandma.” Will was turning into a puddle of boredom. He had been looking forward to a day of swimming and fishing, but the rain had started in the morning, and kept up pretty much all day.  Will leaned his face into the window, breathing on it to make message pads. Suddenly, as he stood with his nose pressed close to the glass, something moved at the side of the yard. 

Will stood straight and stared out the window.  A crowd of frogs, at least ten or twelve large green frogs, were carefully and neatly tippy- toeing around the edge of a big puddle of water, holding hands to form a strange green circle. Will shook his head. He stuck his face flat against the window to see better. 

The tippy- toeing stopped suddenly, and the frogs still holding hands, jumped forward, making a big splash, right the puddle;  then, still standing tall and straight, they all jumped back and started to hop.  First on the right leg, then the left, the entire, goofy looking circle of frogs hopped back and forth until; all at once they stood still.  At least one or two of the circle had boots on.

“No way, uh uh”, Will thought.

And then Grandma asked “No way what, Will?”

Will turned to Grandma; his face all wide eyes and open mouth.  He pointed to the window.

“There’s a bunch of frogs out there, and they’re all standing up, and they’re holding hands.  Grandma, the frogs are holding hands!!!”

To say nothing of the bright rubber boots one frog was certainly wearing.  Grandma came to look, holding a ladle in one hand.

“Oh look! “ She laughed with delight.  “That one’s wearing boots, I’ll swear he is.”

Will stared at Grandma. “Frogs can’t hold hands, they don’t wear boots, and, and... “Will could hardly say all the impossible things he was seeing. 

Grandma laughed again.  “You’re right Will.  Let’s go meet these unusual hoppers.  Maybe they talk, too.”

“Grandma!” Will was almost offended, “Talking frogs?”

“Don’t know, Will, let’s go find out.”  And Grandma collected her rain gear from the peg behind the mudroom door, pulled on her own colorful rubber boots, and waited for Will to do the same.  Will, yanked his red poncho over his head and stepped into his boots.

Together they ‘squooshed’ and splashed until they were just a few yards from where the frogs were gathered. 

As Grandma and Will got closer, they realized that the frogs were dancing, with a sort of hoppity –jump- step, to the following song:

The Frogs’ Song

“This is a tale about a Frog
A precious little Pollywog
Who learnt good manners in a Bog
He knew he mustn’t be a Hog
- Show quoted text -
So he shared his muddy, swampy Log
And learned a lesson, verily:
Frog-eaters will eat Frogs, merrily....”

At each “og”, the entire group hopped a mighty hop.

They circled slowly, their voices croaky but clear.  Several of the frogs wore high rubber boots, and one or two had on a sort of cap.  One or two had on green polka dot scarves.  After a while, their voices faded.

There was silence.  The frog that was wearing the tallest rubber boots stepped into the center of the circle.  His boots were a very bright yellow, Will noticed, like a fresh egg yolk. 

Will squeezed Grandma’s hand to signal, “Do you see what I see?”

 Grandma whispered, “Yellow, my favorite.”

The circle of frogs stood with folded arms.  Very slowly and rhythmically bending deeply at the knee and leaping high in time to his chant Yellowboots proclaimed:

The Chant of Yellowboots

”Jump, jump, jump once more
So it states in Froggish lore
Jump in pond and
Jump on shore
Jump in peace and
Jump in war”

Then the other frogs responded, “Jump!”  As they shouted they all bent their knees, in a sort of curtsey, and straightened up in silence.

Yellowboots continued,
“Leap, leap, leap again.
Leap as frogs and leap as men
Til the spell is truly broken
And the Prince of Frogs has spoken”

The others repeated, “Leap!”   And they leapt, high as only frogs can leap, as Yellowboots stepped back to his place in the circle.

Grandma and Will looked at each other. Grandma’s mouth made an ‘Oooh!’ and her eyes looked a bit wider, and browner.

And then the frogs turned in formation and marched across the wet grass of the garden, past the apple trees, up the road lined with blueberry bushes, and disappeared into the rhododendrons.

Will could barely get his mouth to say “Oh, Wow.”  His jaw had dropped so far.

Grandma’s face was pink.  “Definitely wow, Will,” she said, very softly.  They slogged slowly back to the house, where they sat on the porch for the rest of the afternoon, and played Boggle until it was time for supper.

The End for Now

About the Author:
     Judith Mesch has been published in Lucidity and Off the Coast for poetry. She says her passion is not poetry though and tries to make time to write bits of a story  every day.

     Thank you for reading Issue Eight of Larks Fiction Magazine. Issue Nine will be published on March 13th. We hope to see you all come back.

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