A Funeral for A Cheap BirthdayWhen Dan was young, about 10 or so, his uncle told him a story about how the city's teenagers were dying off. When a person woke up on the morning of their 18th birthday, their room would be filled with 18 red balloons. The amount was how long took it'd take for them to die. Not in years, mind you, but in minutes. And the balloons would pop for each minute closer Death was coming.But Dan was smart despite what grownups liked to believe. He told his uncle he was lying because he failed to answer why were they being killed, how were they being killed, or what was killing them? It didn't matter if Dan believed him, for when his uncle's 18th birthday came, he mysteriously "moved to the Americas" and that was the last Dan heard of him. Dan's mother would become very silent and wander off into her room whenever Dan asked about him, so he doesn't anymore.* * * *Dan woke up to his room full of helium.There were 18 red balloons, for each year he was alive. With a lazy smile he trudge
FreakfitThat morning, Dan decided he was half-vampire. It would explain why in the middle of spring he was so pale whiter than spit. Then he remembered, while his mom was friendly with all the men in her days, she wouldn't touch a vamp with a stake and garlic. He also remembered a time when he was eight, sitting at the kitchen table as his mom told him a story of being tricked by a vamp. He believed her till he remembered vampires weren't real and she liked to play mean jokes on him. She still does. He moved away from his skin and focused on finding clothes: skinny polos, loafers, and a tucked in white shirt with a blue blazer over it. His clothes were a little loose. He felt huge in them. He brushed and sprayed his hair till it didn't resemble a lion's mane bangs swooped to hide jagged eyebrows. He stood in front of the mirror once more
Jaycake is Not JakeJaycake was a small merboy of nine, and like most responsible seachildren his age, he wanted a pet.Jaycake lived in the northernmost part of the Atlantic which was cleaner and far friendlier than the southern part (but he wouldn't admit that outloud, for his sister went to school there). The northern Atlantic had an abundance of stores that catered to pets of all types. For just half a shell, he could buy a starfish. If he had 300 shells and a shark tooth, he could have a Right Whale. But Jaycake wasn't from the Royal family: meaning he wasn't wealthy. He had about as much money as his teachers and the octopuses that cleaned the streets combined. His mother didn't like whales, anyway. They liked to eat you when you forgot to feed them. And the droppings they left behind were horrid!Jaycake's neighbor, Taloo, had an eel he was giving away, but it was too slimy and enjoyed electrocuting folks. Jaycake's mother suggested a squid, a clownfish, or Taloo's odd selkie brother (Taloo'