New Horizons

storm clouds—
a drow dismounts
from his steed

thunder clap—
a mountain dwarf adjusts
his gauntlet

driving rain—
a frost giant marches south
toward armies

river’s bulge—
a shield maiden lets down
her golden hair

“’Valcon the Vampire,’” Ted read the title with a smirk then handed the colorfully bordered pages back to Derrick. “Not interested.”
Derrick took back the manuscript with a wounded huff. “But you haven’t even read it.”
“I told you; I get too many stories with vampires, most of them trash. I’m just sick of vampires! How about elves?”
“Santa’s little helpers in quaint green suits?”
“Not that kind of elf.”
“Well, I happen to enjoy a good vampire tale.”
“Then start your own ezine.”
“Give me one advantage elves have over vampires.”
Ted lifted his husky carcass from the office chair. “I’ll give you ten.”
“Great. I’m dying to hear this.” Derrick stood back, allowing his old friend space to pace the dusky office, hands behind his back like a philosopher.”
“Ten: Elves give hope to men.”
“Men don’t need elves to have hope.”
“Nine: Elves are three times as swift.”
“Dwarfs are stronger.”
“Eight: Their sense of hearing is fifteen times keener than a mortal’s.”
“Big deal.”
“Seven: Their sense of sight is 100 times better!”
“That doesn’t make them interesting.
“Six: Elves heal without scarring.”
“Vampires can fly.”
“Five: Elves don’t require sleep.”
“Vampires can shape shift.”
“Four: Elf blood mixes well with other ‘races.’”
“Voldur half-orcs, wonderful!”
“Three: Elf blood cures vampirism.”
Derrick rolled his eyes. “Vampires don’t need a cure, or they wouldn’t be vampires!”
“Two: Elves practice immortality without self-pity.”
“And the final reason, maestro?”
Ted clutched his abdomen. “One: Elves can consume sugar alcohols without gastrointestinal distress. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to use the restroom!”

dark road—
leading to ashes
leading to dust

black castle—
a gargoyle laps at
the starlight

bat droppings—
a white hand pries open
a coffin

mandrake—
a night woman turns
toward the moon

Anna Cates

New Horizons

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