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The witch’s apples blushed on the trees behind the impossibly tall fence. The man-boy looked up, squinting through the narrow slats to gaze at her perfect apples. She watched from her house, binoculars around her neck.

The man-boy, with stubble, acne, and black clothing, looked over his shoulder. She waited for him to climb the fence, they always did. Then she’d push her remote’s button and send enough electricity to make him pee his pants, but not enough to truly hurt. Not like the old days. No, not truly.

But instead, the man-boy reached into his bag and pulled out a square foot piece of carpet, like the ones preschoolers sit their wiggling butts on. She licked her lips, adjusting the binoculars. He put it on the ground then squatted. It was torn along the edges and ratty with age.

What in the goddess’s green earth was he doing?

The carpet hovered then he leaned forward, gripping it with one hand, and it rose higher. Her mouth fell open. He darted up, grabbed three of her precious, designer apples, and hovered back down. He stuffed the carpet back in his bag, put two apples in, and then chomped on the remaining one as he jogged away.

She stepped out of her cottage, dumbfounded. In the thief’s wake, the smell of over-roasted coffee beans wafted towards her. She knew that distinctive coffee smell; she’d find the flying apple thief and take that carpet, or his life, as payment.


Jean Cole is a speculative fiction writer based in Chicago, IL. She's found sitting in coffee shops staring at the rain and stringing words together.


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