He had flung them into paintings before, and songs; Jenny was at least grateful that they had not landed on a sword, or a gun, and wondered again why Josh seemed unable to fling them into any friendly paintings, and why he insisted on doing this on Saturday mornings. She might not have objected on Thursdays. But she particularly objected on Saturday mornings, and to Escher lithographs: they made her physically sick. They had first gone to Relativity, where Jenny had barely made it to the small vase of flowers on the bottom right corner, where she had crouched for the next hour as Josh had happily bounced from impossible staircase to impossible staircase, begging her to follow him. She had grasped the vase and stared at the flowers in terror instead. He took her to Evelyn de Morgan’s Love Potion the following week, to make up for it, but they had all felt terribly crowded, almost claustrophobic, in that small space, and as it turned out, love potions smelled awful, and they were both allergic to the cat.

“I could,” she suggested gently, “just stay in bed.”

And so they did, sometimes. Jenny never knew which Saturdays might consist of coffee and cartoons, or mild chatter about their days, and which Saturdays might be, well, like this. She found herself gazing into the empty rooms of the twisted building, wondering what other poets might be hiding there, wondering if they, like she, might have found the place more tolerable with a decent internet connection. She looked at the soldier sitting dismally on the stairs, still unmoving, and remembered, suddenly, their visit to Belvedere, the stilted conversations she had had with the demons there, as she had tried not to be ill, and the demons had steadfastly refused to believe in coffee or antacids. Above them, the thump thump of the marching soldiers continued. She had no vase of flowers to grasp, no place to be ill.

“I’m going up,” announced Josh.

He did not even try to search for stairs, and Jenny did not bother to make the suggestion. She watched him slither and inch up the walls, and buried her face in her hands, and made a mental note, again, to buy coffee on Fridays. Copious amounts of coffee. And tried, very hard, not to weep.


Mari Ness  Mari Ness's website lives near a large, alligator infested lake in Central Florida, which she claims has a tendency to eat her words. Her work has previously appeared in numerous online and print venues, including Fantasy and Polu Texni. She keeps a disorganized blog at, and lives under the delusion that she may, one day, convince her two cats that her laptop is not a cat bed.

Other works by Mari Ness