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Introduction

Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it. ~ Lloyd Alexander

Here at Tell-Tale Press, we hope to entertain you with quality stories from talented writers around the world. Some stories may include graphic violence, erotica, or both. They have been indicated as such before the story begins. Thank you for joining us, and happy reading!

Stories Lie by Jonathon Mast

The stories promised, “Care for the land, and the land will care for you.”
Shadib went out to the fields. He continued the trench. The sun beat down on him. The dirt did not give way to hoe or shovel.
They’d had to sell the oxen last season to provide food for the children. Now it was his muscles or no muscles. The children had offered to help. He’d told them no. Marin had asked to help. He’d told her no.
A man is tied to the land. The man cares for the land. The land gives its produce. That was the way of things. That was the land’s promise.
The land lies.
Shadib flung the hoe at the dirt. Again. Again. Sweat stung his eyes.
These fields said they should provide. They did for his brother. His perfect brother.
But then his brother died in a flash flood. And Shadib wasn’t good enough.
“Your fields lie to you.”
He grunted as the hoe bit into the ground, barely breaking the surface. Again. Again.
“Care for the land, and it will care for you.”
The fields lie.
The stories lie.
They tied him…

The Fairy's Tooth by Kurt Newton

Drulissa leaned over the large tin washbasin and pulled another of her mother’s heavy cotton gowns from the soapy water. She twisted the wet fabric in her small hands. Her fingers were dimpled and her arms were weary, but if she finished her chores early, she could go outside and play before dark.
She stopped and straightened for a moment, brushing back a lock of blond hair that had fallen across her eyes. Her tongue probed the inside of her mouth. One of her few remaining baby teeth were loose. Her heart lightened and a smile almost touched her lips, but a measure of fear doused the emerging flame of excitement. She needed to keep this one a secret.
“Dru! Stop your daydreaming and get to work! Clothes don’t wash themselves!”
“Yes, mother.”
Drulissa’s mother sat in a wide, high-backed chair, her thick legs stretched out before her on a long, fat ottoman. In one hand, clutched between plump, greasy fingers: a half-eaten turkey leg; in the other: a cracked crystal goblet of red wine. D…

Hand-crafted by Agrippina Domanski

1
He met her in a Che Guevara-themed tapas bar in Biarritz, not far from the ocean. It was November, the far end of the holiday season, but it was warm. An elderly singer stood lip-synching Jose El Frances’ “Oh, Mon Amour” by the biggest of the Che Guevara posters in the corner. The place was empty, save for two groggy-eyed Americans and a girl who was a friend of the bartender.
And save for them two. There was an instant spark between them. She said her name was Elaine. It couldn’t be anything else.
Her hands were like the hands on an icon of the Virgin Mary, soft and fleshy, but not plump. Her hands might come in handy. She said she worked in finance, that was why. But what really aroused him about her was her Elaine-ness. Her hands embodied it. He wanted her Elaine-ness to himself.
He talked about some shit while she listened. Not the usual orange-sky-boozy shit, but something esoteric. Monks, starvation, holy anorexia… Something like that.
“So, what brings you to Biarritz?”
“I’m an a…