Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders
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“A prodigiously imaginative collection.”
—New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice
“Dazzling tales from a master of the fantastic.”
—Washington Post Book World
Fragile Things is a sterling collection of exceptional tales from Neil Gaiman, multiple award-winning (the Hugo, Bram Stoker, Newberry, and Eisner Awards, to name just a few), #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Graveyard Book, Anansi Boys, Coraline, and the groundbreaking Sandman graphic novel series. A uniquely imaginative creator of wonders whose unique storytelling genius has been acclaimed by a host of literary luminaries from Norman Mailer to Stephen King, Gaiman’s astonishing powers are on glorious displays in Fragile Things. Enter and be amazed!
to the grass as gently as he could. He heard something crash, and looked back up the hill. The house was burning. ‘How is he?’ said a woman’s voice. Shadow turned. She was knee deep in the water, the creature’s mother, wading towards the shore. ‘I don’t know,’ said Shadow. ‘He’s hurt.’ ‘You’re both hurt,’ she said. ‘You’re all bluid and bruises.’ ‘Yes,’ said Shadow. ‘Still,’ she said, ‘he’s not dead. And that makes a nice change.’ She had reached the shore now. She sat
for their brother. They called him the Runt. They had called him the Runt since he was a baby, and at first their mother and father had chided them for it. The twins said, ‘But he is the runt of the litter. Look at him. Look at us.’ The boys were six when they said this. Their parents thought it was cute. A name like the Runt can be infectious, so pretty soon the only person who called him Donald was his grandmother, when she telephoned him on his birthday, and people who did not know him.
firewood from fallen trees. But know you this – in the escritoire there is a secret compartment, or so my great-uncle claimed, when he was in his cups . . .’ The escritoire! Of course! She rushed to the old writing-desk. At first she could find no trace of a secret compartment. She pulled out the drawers, one after another, and then perceived that one of them was much shorter than the rest, which seeing she forced her white hand into the space where formerly the drawer had been, and found,
ghastly, batlike hag-things, fluttering and roosting through this huge rotting old house, which was, at the same time, both Human History and St Andrew’s Asylum. Some of them were carrying men between them, as they flapped and flew. The men shone like the sun, and their faces were too beautiful to look upon. I hated those dreams. One of them, and the next day was a write-off, and you can take that to the fucking bank. The most beautiful man in the world, the Treasure of the Shahinai, lasted
last night. I’m certain it was her. I passed a payphone on the street in Metairie, LA. It rang, I picked up the handset. ‘Are you okay?’ said a voice. ‘Who is this?’ I asked. ‘Maybe you have a wrong number.’ ‘Maybe I do,’ she said. ‘But are you okay?’ ‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘Know that you are loved,’ she said. And I knew that it had to be her. I wanted to tell her that I loved her too, but by then she’d already put down the phone. If it was her. She was only there for a moment.