Free Fiction Thursday – The Snow Queen

Just in time for the holidays, this story will be free to read for two weeks!

Snow Queen web


Gunther missed snow.

Back home when he’d been a kid, come the first of November, more often than not he’d wake to big, fat, fluffy flakes sailing down from the sky like soft little pieces of cotton candy.

Put enough of those flakes together and he could build a silly snowman, complete with his big sister’s favorite knitted scarf, because what else were little brothers for than to torment their older sisters?

By the first of December, enough snow would have fallen to turn the hillside behind his family’s farm into the perfect place for sledding. Gunther and his sister took turns swooshing down the hill on his dad’s old sled, avoiding the oak trees and rocky outcroppings that dotted the hill. They didn’t stop even when their noses turned red from the cold and their feet got numb, but just kept right on sledding until it got too dark to see.

Snow days started with steaming mugs of his mother’s hot chocolate and his father’s special omelets filled with home-smoked bacon and sharp cheddar and ended with everyone warming frosty fingers and toes before a roaring fireplace after an enthusiastic snowball fight or two. Even as he got older and strong coffee replaced hot chocolate and an apartment in the city replaced his parents’ farm, Gunther still got a thrill every morning when he’d wake up to falling snow.

Snow softened harsh noises. Snow took the rough edges off things. Snow made November feel like winter and made December feel magical, frosting strings of twinkling Christmas lights into blurry little stars of red and green and blue.

That had been December in the Midwest.

December in Moretown Bay, a coastal city smack dab in the middle of the Pacific Northwest, was nothing but dull and gray and dreary.

Icy rain pelted the shoulders of Gunther’s heavy winter coat and ran down the sides of his neck as he bent to unlock the iron security gate at Chocolatapus, a specialty candy store located in a trendy waterfront marketplace complete with cobblestone streets and an open-air craft market during the summer.

Unlike the used bookstore and curio shop next door run by a curmudgeonly old wizard who only opened the place to the public for an hour a day on the second and third Tuesdays of every other month (most of the wizard’s customers shopped by appointment only), Chocolatapus was open seven days a week, ten hours a day.

As the store’s manager, Gunther worked most of those days and hours, but to tell the truth, he didn’t mind. It wasn’t like he did much with his time off anyway, and besides, working at Chocolatapus had turned into the best job Gunther had ever had since he’d left home nearly ten years ago. Not that being the manager of a candy store was exactly where he saw himself ending up after all the time, not to mention money, he’d spent earning a college degree.

He might even like Moretown Bay if only it didn’t rain so much in the winter. Which made winter seem like spring and summer and fall, only a little colder. And which today made him miss his family and home and snow days all the more.

As for Chocolatapus, the store was pretty nearly perfect. It sold milk chocolate and exotic dark chocolate and every kind of chocolate in between, along with silky caramels and chewy taffy, salty-sweet kettle corn and crunchy almond brittle. In December, the store also stocked Gunther’s favorite: swirly peppermint sticks that reminded him of the candy canes that always appeared as if by magic on his family’s Christmas tree on Christmas morning. With long glass display cases filled with sweet treats lining both side of the narrow shop, the store felt warm and cozy and smelled like his mother’s hot chocolate mixed with all the best memories of his childhood.

After Gunther pushed the heavy iron security gate away from the front door, he murmured the words of the spell that would disable the wards around the front door.

Gunther didn’t have any magic of his own—no one in his family did—but more magic folk than Gunther had ever seen anywhere else lived in Moretown Bay. Spells that could be used by regular old humans were available for purchase from licensed witches and wizards pretty much anywhere in the city. For all he knew, the curmudgeonly old wizard who owned the shop next door sold spells on the side.

Of course, spells could also be reversed for the right price.

(end of sample)


This story is no longer available to read for free, but it can be purchased at Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Be sure to check out the other stories in the Uncollected Anthology series!

Free Fiction Friday – The Magic of Home

This week’s free fiction story celebrates the first issue of the Uncollected Anthology with my contribution, The Magic of Home.  This story will be available to read for free right here until August 15th.  Enjoy!

Annie MM for website


Annie Reed

The motorcycle whispered to Twig as they zoomed past the shipyards at the south end of Moretown Bay.


Tucked safely inside her helmet, the tips of Twig’s long ears quivered in response to the motorcycle’s rumbling voice. She felt its yearning not only in the subtle change in its magic, but in the throaty roar of the engine as they increased speed, racing north on I-5 toward the city that shared its name with the bay.

Twig leaned forward. “Almost there,” she said. “Almost there.”

Her words tore apart on the damp night air rushing past her, but she knew their meaning would still reach the heart of the machine that had been her friend for a decade. Not all magical beings needed ears to hear or words to understand.

As much as she wanted to get them both home, they couldn’t afford to draw the attention of any police—or wizards—who might be patrolling the freeway.

I-5 passed through the center of the city as the freeway wound its way north into Canada, a wide ribbon of asphalt and concrete hemmed in by high-rise office buildings, luxury hotels, and apartment buildings too rich for Twig’s blood. This part of the freeway had always been heavily patrolled. Twig doubted that had changed in the years she’d been gone, so she throttled back on the engine to bring their speed closer to the surrounding traffic.

The motorcycle fought her, so Twig whispered soothing words to it until it accepted her decision. She hoped it was the right one.

Under other circumstances, just seeing the city itself might have taken her breath away. Tonight the sky was clear. No fog had rolled in off the water to obscure the view, and the tall buildings in the city center gleamed like jewels against the starry sky. She could make out the spires of the Justice Center, gleaming white and silver like a monument to law and order for all, human and magic folk alike. Spotlights had turned the modern glass and steel Trexler Towers blue and green, the colors for a local sports team.

Twig wasn’t surprised that the city was still celebrating the team’s world championship, even though that particular sport wasn’t truly played on a global scale. Everyone, magic folk and humans alike, needed something outside themselves to believe in.

Hurry, the motorcycle whispered. Gillfoil approaches.

Twig tensed. As sensitive as her ears were to the currents of magic in the world around her, the motorcycle’s senses far exceeded hers. If the motorcycle felt the presence of the gang’s enforcer, that meant he was near.

“Where?” she asked.

Behind. Less than a mile.

“Can we make it?”

The motorcycle hesitated. Twig could imagine her friend calculating speed and distance, and the effect of mass and magic on both.


(end of sample)


The Magic of Home is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.

If you enjoyed this story, be sure to check out the other stories in the Uncollected Anthology series!

Free Fiction Thursday – Self Defense

Self defense webA powerful story about a single mother and her young son from award-winning author Annie Reed.

When Miriam’s son tries to defend himself against schoolyard bullies, he’s victimized a second time by a school system that punishes the victim as well as the bully.

In order to help her son learn to be strong, Miriam must overcome the trauma of her own past. For bullies exist in every walk of life, and she’s tired of being a victim.

This story is no longer available to read for free,but it can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords.

Self Defense

Annie Reed

Miriam sat across the desk from her son’s middle school principal and tried not to fidget.

Her chair was as uncomfortable as all the classroom chairs she’d ever sat in when she’d been in school. Straight-backed with a hardwood seat and battered metal legs, it was an adult version of the kid-sized chairs she perched on at every parent-teacher conference she’d gone to since Mitchell had started school seven years ago. Familiarity did not breed contempt so much as fear—the old childhood fears of being called to the principal’s office. Of being noticed. Of not fitting in.

Only this time Miriam wasn’t afraid for herself. She was afraid for Mitchell.

The principal didn’t shake her hand when Miriam introduced herself after a harried-looking office assistant ushered her into his tiny office. The man didn’t even stand up from behind his neat-as-a-pin desk. His only acknowledgment of her presence was to glance away from his computer screen only long enough to give her a look that made her feel like she was a minor irritation in a lifetime filled with nothing but irritations.

Miriam had offered her hand in greeting. When the principal didn’t give her the courtesy of accepting her outstretched hand, she pulled it back and straightened her skirt as she sat down. She tried to make the movement look natural, like she’d intended to do just that all along, although she was sure she’d failed miserably.

“We have a serious situation here, Mrs. Richardson,” the principal said. “You son was caught fighting.”

(end of sample)


Free Fiction Thursday – My Cousin, the Rabbit

Happy Thursday, everyone!

This weekend marks the second year I’ll be spending Easter at Sakura-Con in Seattle. Last year’s con experience had a direct influence on the brand new Diz and Dee story, “Here, Kitty Kitty,”  I wrote for Fiction River # 1 – Unnatural Worlds.  Who knows what kind of mayhem this year’s con will inspire. 🙂

You’ll be able to purchase Unnatural Worlds beginning next month. I’ve seen the rest of the stories in this volume, and trust me, they’re all kickass. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Fiction River family, and I’ll have some more cool announcements along that line as the year progresses. As they used to say in television land, “stay tuned.”

In the meantime, in honor of the holiday, this week’s Free Fiction Thursday story finds Diz and Dee tracking down Dee’s missing cousin Harold, who has a unique problem with the Easter season. I hope you enjoy “My Cousin, the Rabbit.”

my cousin cover art

My Cousin, The Rabbit

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2013 by Annie Reed

I was balancing my morning coffee and a bag of donuts in one hand and fumbling with the key to my office with the other when my cell phone rang.

I’m not a morning person.  I’m also not the world’s greatest cook.  Even though I live in the apartment upstairs from my office, I go out most mornings for coffee and something my mother would not approve of as breakfast food.  So when I recognized the ring tone I’d assigned to my mother — a snazzy little number that sounded like the music from Psycho right about the time Anthony Perkins goes gonzo on Janet Leigh with a knife in the shower — my first reaction was to drop the bag of donuts like a hot potato.

What?  Donuts?  Not me, mom.  I’m going upstairs to fix myself sprouts and granola right this minute.

Not that I had sprouts and granola in my apartment.  I barely had enough food for my cat.

The bag split open when it hit the sidewalk, spilling all that sugary goodness on the wet concrete.  So much for breakfast.  At least I still had my coffee.

I managed to get the office door unlocked and my cell phone out of my pocket before the call rang over to voicemail.

“Your cousin’s missing,” my mother said before I could even croak out a hello.

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Chance of Bunnies with Occasional Toad

Good morning, everyone! Happy Thursday!

One of the things I love about where I live is the unexpected wildlife that shares our space. I’m not talking about spiders (yuck!) the cats sometimes chase or the bull snake that decided to make a kitchen cabinet his temporary home (don’t ask), but the bunnies who munch on my lawn, the little lizards who sun themselves on the deck, and the quail who scurry across the road in front of my car, because lord knows, quail will never fly when running really really fast will do. There’s a kind of quiet magic about sharing space with animals whose lives would normally have nothing to do with mine.

This week’s story is about that kind of backyard magic. “Chance of Bunnies with Occasional Toad” is now available in a brand-new paperback edition that includes a free electronic copy. Enjoy!

Chance v2 ebook small


Chance of Bunnies, with Occasional Toad

Annie Reed

Copyright © 2012 by Annie Reed

The house smelled dusty and abandoned.

Just like me, Cecily thought.

For a minute there, the old-fashioned lock, rusty with age, fought her.  Cecily worried the real estate agent had given her the wrong key, but eventually the doorknob turned, and she pushed the door open.

Even though Cecily was a grown woman with a place of her own, it felt odd opening this door with a key that now belonged to her, just like the house itself now belonged to her.  During all the summers when she’d been sent to live in this house with her aunt because her mother couldn’t deal with having Cecily home from school for an entire three months, Cecily had never unlocked the door herself.

She could have.  Cecily was one of a generation of “latch key” kids, a by-product of the feminist movement that saw women like her mother working nine-to-five jobs while their kids went to school from nine to three.  Cecily had worn her house key on a lanyard around her neck, and for two and a half hours every afternoon, she sat by herself at the dining room table and did her homework in an empty house.  Not because she wanted to, but because her mom would check Cecily’s work first thing, even before starting dinner, and if Cecily couldn’t show her mom two and a half hours’ worth of work, she was grounded from watching television for the night.

Her aunt didn’t place the same restrictions on Cecily as her mom had.

“Summer is a time for fun,” her aunt used to say.  “To read because you want to.  Eat in the living room, have dinner for breakfast or breakfast for dinner.  It’s not a time for kids to worry about keys.  Keys are for grownups.”

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction – The New Year that Almost Wasn’t

Welcome to the special holiday edition of Free Fiction Thurs… er, Saturday. *g*

Thanks to the fine folks at Thunder Valley Press, who’ve been more than patient with me while I’ve been crunching this deadline, I’m happy to announce a brand new Diz & Dee holiday mystery, “The New Year that Almost Wasn’t.”  This time around, Diz and Dee are hired on Christmas Eve to find the missing and very pregnant mother of the next Baby New Year.

“The New Year that Almost Wasn’t” will be free to read throughout the holidays.  I hope you enjoy it!  Merry Christmas, everyone.

baby new year cover ebook small


The New Year That Almost Wasn’t

 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

© Copyright 2012 Annie Reed

Cover Art © Nadezda Postolit |


The last person I expected to see walk through my office door on Christmas Eve was one of Santa’s elves.

Merry was all of three foot nothing tall.  She had green eyes and a cute button nose, and her brown curls had grown out since the last time I’d seen her.  When we first met, I hadn’t realized she was a girl, but there was no mistaking her for a boy this time around.  In my defense, back then she’d worn one of the unisex tunics like the rest of the elves wore.  Today she was dressed in a sleeveless red frock and a red Santa hat, and she had cute little gold earrings in her ears.

Merry had been one of a group of elves from the North Pole who’d hired D & D Investigations to find Santa’s missing stand-in, Norman. I’m Dee, the human half of D & D Investigations.  My partner Diz, the other D in D & D, was out buying a Christmas present for my cat. Diz and I had agreed not to buy presents for each other this year since the agency was barely staying afloat, and besides, I had no idea what to get a grumpy elf who had everything and always refused to give me a wish list.

“You’ve got to help me,” Merry said in her high-pitched, helium-addict voice. “I’m in big-time trouble.”

“Don’t tell me Norman’s missing again,” I said. We’d found Norman easily enough the last time.  Finding missing persons was, after all, our specialty, like it said on the sign on our office window, but I had a feeling that if Santa’s stand-in had decided to take a powder – again – he’d  make himself really scarce this time.

“No.” Merry’s mouth turned down in a sad little pout. “Baby New Year’s mother.”

Baby who’s what?

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Roger’s Christmas Wish

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I’m having a blast this holiday season watching the Christmas episodes of my favorite shows.  First there was Castle, and tonight’s there’s a brand new Christmas episode of The Big Bang Theory.  I can’t wait!

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, just like for the young boy in this week’s story. Only this year a dark cloud has arrived to wreck Roger’s Christmas.  He has one last chance to set things right — he needs to catch Santa on Christmas Eve so he can make the most important wish he’s ever made in his life.  I hope you enjoy “Roger’s Christmas Wish.”



Annie Reed

Copyright © 2010 Annie Reed

 Published by Thunder Valley Press

Roger couldn’t sleep.

It was Christmas Eve.  He was supposed to be asleep already—mom always said Santa wouldn’t come unless he was sleeping—but Roger was too nervous.

He planned to wake up after everyone else fell asleep so he could go sit in the living room by the Christmas tree and wait for Santa.  He even had his alarm clock set for two in the morning because he was pretty sure that’s when Santa would be there.  Last year Roger snuck out into the living room at three, but the cookies and milk his mom had left out for Santa were already gone, and Roger’s stocking was stuffed full of little wrapped presents.  Two o’clock had to be the right time, it just had to be. This year was too important.  He couldn’t miss Santa again.

Roger had stashed his wind-up clock under his pillow so that he’d be the only one to hear the alarm when the little hammer beat on the bells.  If the alarm woke up his parents, much less his grandmother, Roger would be in big time trouble.

No kid wanted to get in trouble right before Christmas, especially not on Christmas Eve.  Roger didn’t want to take the chance that Santa might cancel Christmas.  Things were already bad enough at his house.  He didn’t think he could stand it if Santa decided he was a bad little boy this year.

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Essy and the Christmas Kitten

Happy Thursday, everyone!

It’s officially Christmas season. Yes, I know it’s still November (thank goodness; I’m not quite done with my NaNoWriMo novel yet), but we’ve already survived the day after Thanksgiving shopping frenzy, Cyber Monday (and about a bazillion other shopping gimics) and we still have twenty-six more shopping days to go. I’ve started playing Christmas music in the car and at my desk at work, and I have a collection of Christmas stories all set on my Kindle.

To kick the Free Fiction Thursday holiday season off with style, this week we have “Essy and the Christmas Kitten,” a story about a lonely, broken woman who receives a most unexpected Christmas gift. Enjoy!


Essy and the Christmas Kitten

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed

Image licensed by Verstova

The kitten looked like a cross between a drowned rat and one of those scary-looking bats with huge, radar ears.

Essy had been on her way out to scrape the latest accumulation of heavy, wet snow off her ten-year-old Toyota, a car that hadn’t tried — yet — to kill her by deciding all on its own to set a new land speed record, when she saw the kitten huddling beneath the prickly holly bush at the corner of her house.  Its grey fur was sopping wet.  Even without bending over to get a closer look, Essy could see it shivering as each new flake settled on its skinny body.

What in the world was a kitten doing out here all by itself?  At the end of November?

Essy didn’t exactly live at the edge of civilization, but her house was the last on the block.  Beyond her fence, the land rose up into the first of the rugged foothills that separated her subdivision from the newest cookie-cutter shopping center in the valley a mile away.  People didn’t usually dump unwanted animals on her street.  It was a dead end, which had suited Essy just fine when she bought her little house.

She supposed someone could have tossed the kitten out of a car and driven away.  Or a coyote could have gotten its mother, even though a kitten seemed like easier pickings.

Essy had no pets.  The days of pets and kids and a husband and work were long gone.  But she couldn’t leave a kitten out in the snow to freeze to death.

She crouched down in front of the bush, her knees protesting.  The kitten backed a couple of steps away, crying at her, all wide blue eyes and pointy baby teeth.  It couldn’t have been more than eight weeks old, if that.

Essy’s daughter had brought a baby kitten home one day from school.  Six weeks old, and little more than a fuzzy black fur ball on spindly legs.  “Mommy, can I keep her?”  Essy and her husband had never been able to say no, not when their daughter had her heart set on something, so the kitten had joined their family.  It was gone now, too.

“Come here, sweetheart,” Essy said to the sopping wet kitten.  “Where’s your momma, baby?”  She took off one leather glove and held her fingers out, hoping to entice it, but it backed away one more step, still crying.

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Reunion

Good morning, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving!

This post is actually going up before I head off to bed after a long evening of writing, since I plan to be cooking stuffing for the turkey around the time I normally post my Thursday stories. I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving has a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, and laughter, and that you manage to get your geek on a little sometime during the day. *g* Me — I’m thrilled there will be a Castle marathon tomorrow. I’m looking forward to Castle and Beckett and the gang keeping me company in the kitchen. In years past I’ve cooked Thanksgiving dinners accompanied by X-Files and Buffy marathons. Of course, back in those days I knew the names of all the episodes, and even made note of the fan favorites. Now I just enjoy the show. My geek has apparently mellowed with the years.

This week’s story is a contemporary fantasy about a celebration dinner of a whole different sort, and probably with more food than a normal Thanksgiving Day feast. I hope you enjoy “Reunion.”


Annie Reed

Copyright © 2012 Annie Reed

 Published by Thunder Valley Press

Cover art © Shawn Hempel |

Beth started cooking three days before Jesse showed up.

She didn’t know he was coming.  She didn’t even know him, for that matter, or any of the others who came.  She didn’t like to cook all that much to begin with, but for some reason, late one Wednesday afternoon while she was in the middle of a customer service call with an elderly man who couldn’t navigate his way through her company’s online banking system, Beth felt a sudden need to bake bread.

Banana bread.  Pumpkin bread.  Zucchini bread.  Sourdough and whole wheat and cinnamon raisin.  She wanted to shove her hands into a huge ball of dough and knead the stuff until it had just the right measure of elasticity while the heady aroma of yeast filled her kitchen.

And that wasn’t all.

She wanted to cook a turkey.  And a ham, a huge one, all bristling with pineapple chunks and maraschino cherries skewered on toothpicks.  Roast beef.  Brisket.  Barbequed ribs slathered with homemade sauce, heavy on the brown sugar and light on the vinegar.  Roast pork with applesauce.

The thought of all that food seriously derailed her train of thought.  She couldn’t get the old man off the phone quick enough.  She was afraid he’d hear her stomach rumble through her headset.  She could practically smell all that food, and it was making her mouth water.

Once the call ended, Beth took herself out of the queue of in-coming calls.  She stood up and leaned over the top of the half-wall that separated her cubicle from Sherrie’s.

“You have any crackers left?” Beth asked.  “Gummy bears?  Pretzel sticks?”

Sherrie always had food.  She was the one person in Beth’s eight-person department who made it her duty to look out for everyone else, even though Sherrie was the youngest of them all.

“You pregnant, girl?” Sherrie asked as she handed over a bag of potato chips.  “You don’t normally get the afternoon munchies.”

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – A Most Unserious Dragon

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Thunder Valley Press has been doing some fun things with my short fiction.  In addition to publishing the five-story collections which I’ve been featuring for the past few weeks, they’ve been pairing up my stories kinda like the old Ace Doubles, only with short fiction. Cool, right?

This week’s Free Fiction Thursday story is from one of my first short-fiction doubles. “A Most Unserious Dragon” is one of two stories I’ve written about Mordived, a dragon who doesn’t want to slay knights and eat virgins — he’d rather do stand-up. Thanks to the fine folks at Thunder Valley Press, when you buy either “A Most Unserious Dragon” or my follow-up story about Mordived — “A Most Romantic Dragon” — from Amazon, the iBookstore, or Smashwords, you get both stories at once. Nifty!

A whole bunch of my short stories are now available as doubles, and I’m told there will be more to come. For now though, I hope you enjoy “A Most Unserious Dragon.”


A Most Unserious Dragon

Annie Reed

Copyright © 2011 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Cover and layout Copyright © 2011 Thunder Valley Press

Cover art Copyright 10-19-10 © julien Tromeur

Dragons, or so Mordived’s father told him often and most sternly, were very serious creatures.

“Our birthright is to rule the land,” Mordived’s father said, his chest puffed out proudly and little wisps of steam escaping his nostrils.  “Ruling is serious business.  Men believe they rule the kingdoms, but true power belongs to the dragons.  Slaying knights is our duty, and eating virgins our reward for such serious business.”

“But I don’t want to slay knights and eat virgins,” Mordived said.

Even eating cattle gave Mordived indigestion.  He could only imagine what eating an entire virgin would do to his digestive system.  As for knights, all that shiny silver armor gave him headaches.

Mordived’s father stomped his foot so hard that the ground trembled and the walls of their cave shook.  Little rocks and frightened bats tumbled from the ceiling, the bats fluttering back deeper into the cave and the rocks pelting Mordived and his father on their wings.  His father didn’t seem to notice.

Undaunted, Mordived said, “I want to be a comedian.  Not a fighter.”  Nor an eater of virgins.  Mordived would much rather make the virgins laugh.

Mordived’s father reared back his head, drew in a great breath, and let loose with a stream of fire that toasted what few tree roots dared to grow through the ceiling of their cave.

“Enough!” Mordived’s father roared when the fire burned itself out.  “No son of mine will ever be anything but a serious dragon!”

Mordived slunk away, not wanting to be mistaken for a tree root.

His older brother was a most serious dragon.  Gilgamule had slain numerous lesser knights, although he had not yet eaten his first virgin.  Gilgamule was nearly half the size of their father, with a fine crest of spikes down the ridge of his back and a nice purple hue to his streams of fire.  He would be leaving soon to go rule his own kingdom far from the land ruled by their father, for such was the way of serious dragons.

Mordived didn’t want his older brother to leave.  While Gilgamule might be a serious dragon, he was also someone Mordived could talk to.

“What’s wrong with not wanting to slay people?” Mordived asked his older brother.  “But rather, wanting to make them laugh?”

“Why not make them laugh while you slay them?” Gilgamule replied.  “It would certainly make their deaths more enjoyable.”

Mordived wondered sometimes if his older brother truly understood the concept of comedy.

(read the rest of the story here)