About the Author

Judy McCrosky

Judy McCrosky is the author of five books that span genres and styles. Her publications include literary works, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and non-fiction. Her stories have been published on three continents: North America, Europe, and Australia. She is co-editor, with Candas Jane Dorsey, of the international anthology Land/Space.McCrosky is an active and engaged teacher, and has taught classes and given workshops in both Canada and the United States.

Books by this Author
Lifting Weights

Lifting Weights

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : humorous
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Excerpt

From Drifting Snow

 

Calla stepped back with a gasp. A woman stood beneath the drooping branches of Diane’s tree, but even as Calla watched, they lifted, straining away from the woman until they were held out, if not in a perfect second arabesque position, at least in a closer approximation.

 

The woman stared at Calla, her eyes glittering like chips of ice. Her white hair was very short, hoar frost clinging to her scalp. “A dancer,” she said. “I haven’t had a dancer for a long time.” Her pale lips stretched into a smile.

 

A wind swept through the previously silent cluster of trees, swirling around the woman, setting the ice-encased branches to swaying. A few broke, falling with the sound of shattering glass.

 

Calla didn’t move, her body frozen, not even reacting when a branch thicker than most fell beside her. “Had a dancer?” she whispered.

 

“Oh yes.” The woman waved her arm, encompassing the trees whose branches now creaked and groaned. “I have them all.” Her arm was encased in material as clear and shiny as ice. It covered her body, too, cloudy in places, ice with impurities. It flowed over her as she moved. She laughed, the sound shivering through Calla.

 

Calla took a step back, her foot slipped and she wavered, her balance lost. She flung her arms up and fell, landing heavily in a sitting position. The worst pain, though, was in her feet. She looked at them, at the end of her sprawled legs, and saw that the ice shards of broken branches had sliced into her boots, leaving gaping slits through leather and the wool of her socks. A single drop of blood oozed out one of the cuts, clung for a moment to the edge of the boot sole, then fell to spread, bright red, on the snow.

 

Calla scrambled up. Her feet burned, and her blood seeped out, sinking deep into the ground.

 

The woman slid across the snow, her face now only inches from Calla’s. “Take root.” The words slithered across Calla’s skin, leaving a trail of ice. “Your world grows small. The walls close in. Stay here, let your bare branches reach for what you could not grasp.”

 

“No.” A tree branch twined about her waist. Calla flinched, but instead of pinching tight, it pulled, giving her the strength to take a step, then another, away from the woman. “It’s winter now, but soon it will be spring. I’ll have leaves again someday.”

 

The woman shrugged, the motion sending a cascade of snowflakes from her body to the ground. “Winter, summer, there’s no difference. Reach for the sun, cry for the moon, it doesn’t matter what you dream. I am always here.”

 

From The Heart Fairy

 

Being in love like this was no fun at all. She had a talk with Simon, determined to get at the heart of the matter.

 

“I gave my heart to you,” she said. “I want it back.”

 

He sneered, curling his magnificent chiseled lips. “I don’t have it.” He drew an X across his chest. “Cross my heart and hope to die.”

 

“You do have it. I laid it at your feet.”

 

“You give me heartburn.”

 

“You have no heart,” she said sadly.

 

 

 

If Simon didn’t have it, then it must have been stolen. She still suspected he was the culprit, but he showed so little interest in her love that she couldn’t see a motive. She went to the police station.

 

A bored policewoman sat behind a high counter looking at a computer. A constant stream of numbers and letters flowed across the screen, reflecting green and gray off her glasses.

 

“I want to report a theft,” Leila said.

 

Without looking away from the screen the policewoman pulled a form from a stack beside her. “Fill this out.”

 

Leila took the form and found a pen in her purse. Name, address, place of employment. Those questions were easy.

 

Description of lost object. I lost a muscular cone-shaped object, Leila wrote, about the size of a clenched fist. It has three layers, the epicardium, the myocardium, and the endocardium. Its chambers include two ventricles with thick muscular walls, which make up the bulk of the organ, and two atria with thin muscular walls.

 

Where was the stolen object taken from? Me.

 

Any signs of forced entry? No, she thought. I did this to myself. She left the question blank.

 

She returned the form to the policewoman who tossed it on the top of another big stack of paper. “We’ll be in touch,” the policewoman said. Her glasses dripped data.

 

 

 

The police report which came in the mail stated that Leila had taken inadequate precautions to safeguard her valuables. As a break and enter had not occurred, no crime had been committed. Case closed.

 

Clearly, the police would be of no help. If Leila was going to get her heart back she’d have to find it herself. Take heart, she told herself. You can do it. She looked for it everywhere - in the restaurant where she and Simon had drunk latte, in her kitchen where she’d prepared the dinner he’d said was exquisite. She looked in the bathroom where she’d cried until she was drained over how he was happy to drink coffee she bought and eat food she cooked but how he never showed one sign of warmth or interest in loving her. She looked in her bedroom, pulling down the covers to reveal the place she’d lain so many nights, her body weeping for want of his. She picked up her pillow and punched it, the pillow she’d hugged against her breasts while she dreamed of him.

 

Under her pillow was a shiny quarter and a note. Leila stared for a moment. The note said, “Thank you for the heart. What a big girl you are getting to be. Love, the Heart Fairy.”

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