On the edge of the isle was a boat. It was weathered, with bold white sails and a malformed masthead. Many adventures had occurred in and around it, the sort that would make its current tenants gasp in glee. But all these had happened in the past, so long ago that not even the infamous sailors who had sailed it quite believed the truth of the stories. Shortly after the most daring venture, a bid for the throne, the current king had had the bright idea of locking all who challenged him on a remote island, never able to die and never able to leave. Unless his son, the so-called Prince Ben, fell in love with one of the villain’s children. Then the lucky one was free to go to the King’s private utopia, and live in the lap of luxury. This was a rare occurrence however, and wasn’t the way the more self-respecting children of the isle, whimsically named the isle of the lost, wished to leave. To ally themselves with the son the man who’d locked their families away for years? It was unthinkable. The only options left to escape were crime and magic. There had been a spike of escape attempts shortly after the Prince declared his new love, a petty criminal with a flare for dark magic, but they had come to nothing, and as months passed they slowed to a rate of only one or two attempts a month, which inevitably ended in the public disgrace of whoever had tried. The result was that the more realistic members of the community amassed small empires on the isle then settled down to rule – not by any means giving up hope, but gathering strength for when the foolproof chance for escape would inevitable come. The most influential of these empires was that of Uma, daughter of Ursula. Uma’s P.O.V. The isle was small enough that you could find anyone, whenever you wanted. That wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was getting near them. Shortly after being banished to the isle, Captain James Hook had had a flash of paranoia. Like all his mood’s it passed quickly, but during the time, he had contrived to put traps around his house. Bells, trip wires, guns, minature hooks which served a purpose similar to that of barbed wire – in short every sort of trap that could be made with a low budget and even less resources. They had been put in about two decades ago, so most were broken and the rest commonly known, and therefore always easily avoided. Their sole purpose, it seemed to Uma, was to get in ones way when one was trying to visit ones friend. As a result, she usually waited for Harry to arrive at the Chip Shoppe, but today was special. Uma needed Harry now. Momentarily distracted by the thought of her news, she narrowly missed the final trap, a large mallet hung over the doorstep. It hit her foot hard. Cursing Uma ducked into the doorway and pounded on the door. There was a long pause. After nearly five minutes a soft shuffling sound stopped at the door. The door creaked open revealing Captain Hook, dressed in a scarlet bathroom and clutching a mug of coffee. “What do you want,” Hook rasped. “Where’s Harry?” “Asleep, like any sensible person.” Uma snorted. “Why aren’t you asleep.” Hook glared. “If you want Harry, it’s your job to wake him.” He moved a little, letting Uma in. The Hook’s home was a mess. It’s occupants rarely felt any urge to clean, and because of their ever-constant threats to ‘hook’ people and their tendency for baseless manical laughter, no one on the isle could be convinced to clean it. Uma didn’t mind much; her house wasn’t much different. The first room of the house was a kitchen, covered in half eaten snacks and crumbling map’s, a well as random graffiti which Harry and his sisters added in moments of inspiration. The kitchen led to a hallway, off of which branched tiny bedroom’s. Harry’s door was easily recognizable, painted bright red with a black hook in the center. Pushing it open Uma entered Harry’s room. It was very small. The walls were covered in a medly of maps and stolen trinkets, while the floor was a mess of red and black clothes, punctuated in places with the odd bauble too large to a hung on the wall. The only furniture in the room was a bed, piled high with blankets in every color of the rainbow. Harry was curled in a sort of valley – with his precious hook wrapped carefully beside him. Harry’s hair was standing almost completely on end, and he was grinning about some, apparently satisfying, dream. It would have been enjoyable for Uma to watched Harry, but she had news – news that could not wait. Harry’s P.O.V. Harry woke up to a large amount of icy water thrown in his face. For a moment he was stunned – still half dreaming about hooking the king. Then he realized what had happened, and jumped up with a low growl, pulling his hook out. “Stop it, Harry.” Uma’s voice was directly above his head. “Uma! You can’t do that! I don’t care that you’re captain. You just can’t do that!” “Sorry Harry. But I have news!” “I don’t care.” Harry rolled out the bed onto the floor. He slept in his day clothes – even the jacket – so, without wasting time to dress he stormed out of his room into the kitchen for breakfast. Hook sr. never bothered himself with shopping unless it was for a new diet he saw on the Auradon TV station, so the Hooks had a lot of odd food. Kale chips, peanut butter, and low fat crackers were all that they currently had. Harry spread but on the crackers while Uma sat down opposite him. “Are you ready for my news?” “No.” “We have a hostage!” Harry finally looked up. “From Auradon.” “Yes.” “You are forgiven. Where is it?” “She.” Gil’s P.O.V. Before going for Harry, Uma had appointed Gil guard of the new prisoner. He had been excited – usually Harry was given such tasks- but after five minutes Gil grew impatient. He hadn’t had breakfast yet. And usually Harry’s prisoner’s were conscious. This one just lay there, wet and still – extremely boring to watch. Trying to stymie the inevitable boredom, Gil crouched down to see the new prisoner’s face. She was very pale, with pink lips and orange-blond hair. The hair was odd. Most girls in Auradon wore their hair long, and carefully styled. The prisoner’s hair has chopped short in large chunks – rather like Harry’s hair used to be. This thought amused Gil, who allowed himself a long chuckle. Then he began to wrack his brains for an answer about whose child this might be. Any thinking took Gil a long time, so this occupied the time until Harry and Uma arrived. Harry looked rather peculiar – his hair was oddly vertical and his clothes were rumpled. He was also holding a mound of kale chips which had been stuck together with peanut butter. It struck Gil as odd, but he shrugged it off – another nuance of the word which he did not understand. Completely ignoring him, Uma stepped over to the hostage. “Here she is, Harry.” “Whose daughter might she be?” “I’m not sure? Who do you think?” Harry shook his head. “Shall we just wake her up?” Uma tilted her head thoughtfully. “Gil, go get some water.” “What don’t we use my hook instead?” “Damaged goods, Harry.” Harry snorted in disgust and seized Gil’s bucket, dumping the dark, icy water on their prisoner.

SHAW CHEN: Reintegration

The livestream of his daughter’s birth crawled; he didn’t recognize himself in the black flicker. Just earlier he shot a child who had pointed a gun at him. Watched the hate and fear fade from his eyes. She’s now the only part of him that still belongs in this world. Shaw Chen is a USAF … Continue reading SHAW CHEN: Reintegration →


A man wrote a song and died. Trembling, the song tried to sing herself. Each day she practised, flexing melodic limbs, strengthening pale notes, until she came to understand discordant beauty. That day, her song spilled into rivers and comet trails, spread throughout galaxies. The universe leaned in to listen. Lisa Alletson is an emerging … Continue reading LISA ALLETSON: Discordant →

RAN WALKER: How to Train a Beast

The first time the beast came to the village was by accident. He had simply lost his way. However, once he learned the townspeople were willing to feed him one of their own each year, gradually incorporating more festivities and rituals into his visits, the beast vowed to keep returning. Ran Walker is the award-winning … Continue reading RAN WALKER: How to Train a Beast →

BOB THURBER: Weathering Another Day of Missing Her

Some aches, like some days, were worse than others. He swallowed a pill to make himself sunny, but within hours the clouds were back. He practiced his breathing. Meanwhile, real clouds, gray and big as mountains, bumped against the window. Some kind of wild bird was cawing in the trees. Bob Thurber is the author … Continue reading BOB THURBER: Weathering Another Day of Missing Her →

OWEN YAGER: Back Before We Knew the World

Sani and I stood in a hotel parking lot once and watched two children who were standing silently, holding each other’s hands and looking at the ground, while their parents fought. That night we promised each other we’d always talk gently. Those were hopeful days, before we knew the world. Owen Yager is a senior … Continue reading OWEN YAGER: Back Before We Knew the World →