Myths + Magic

We are so excited to announce the winners of our writing contests.
Keep scrolling to read the full winning short story and poem!

Poetry Winner: Owolusi Lucky

Owolusi Lucky does many things like most Nigerians: Writing, Teaching, painting and volunteering for the Floor4africa project in rural communities of Nigeria. He has published or has work forthcoming  in magazines, anthology and journals including, Noctivagant press, Crosscurrent, America Diversity Report, Dietmilkmag, Zoetic Press and others. Visit his website here!


Cloak inlaid with bones of thumbs,

And frock inlaid with ruins, among the

Foliage, blue and red entwined they lay.

Skins, unbruised by thorns of bushes,

They wriggle among dried blade of grasses.

From him thought of monsters are long but gone,

For her this magic must last awhile.

The witch, and Witcher’s love forbade

Shall birth a horror unknown to mankind’s


But they believe the magic of love

Shall bring to them a loving lad, 

That shall be all demon’s bane.


Smoky hammock partly buried

 In undergrowth, filters concoctions

Smell like damp forest, air coat tongue in bitterness.

A wild flower, with tales of rivers mountains and Giants.

We listened in awe, and beg for more,

She’ll shake dreads coiled about like snaky 

Vines, and point to the setting sun.

She knows the languages of squirrels.

And went About the reeds in search of herbs,

Chanting to the moon, mortals ringing as

Pestle makes paste of leaves.

She knows all snakes by name, when they bite

Men in fields, her fingers swallow the swell.

Ever kind like wind, with gift of nuts,

 “A beautiful star of unknown origin” 

Says old folks, when their wives aren’t listening. 

Women whispers, how she called us out

By name, from our mothers’ womb. 

Men avoids her for fear she may call them 

By name in front of their wives.

“She keeps the forest safe for little boys”

Mother always affirmed fore bed.

I still dream of her, the lady of the forest

Moving on a sled of Rhosgobel rabbits.


Sandals worn and torn,

Shorts faded and brown.

Eyes never betray a smile

So talks the travelers.

Stories of glory told

In shimmery smoky inn

Of kings, and dragons slaying. 

Ale enfolding wordings 

 Meaty palms slam thighs

In merry laughter from belly filled.

Chorus of songs old like Billy

Meaty palms rub bellies 

As ears prickles of king’s dooms

And princess kidnapped by lovers 

Aye… aye…  Innkeepers’ toothless grin 

Silver coins jovial dance in meaty palm.

Lone strider watches like a Hawk

three young Hobbit far from burrow

of the shire, tasked to save them from

snakes his sharp claws must nest

their furry coats taking them faraway

from the slithering snakes.


Hooves of horse throw dirt in the sky

Clattering like rain on iron roof

Riders of darkness seeking the Shire

Eyes of flame in darkness mask. 

Fear is the language of death;

Bound eternal to the rings 

forged in eternal flames 

hounds of ever unsleeping eyes.

Sons of Modor with cloak of darkness

In search of the shire.

Wind fled your presence, and water

Detest your spirit roaming in thirst of blood.

Hounds chained to their masters will

Inhalers of darkness, breathers of death

Go back to Mordor to your master’s lap

For we are fearless that walk this land.

Fiction Winner: Hannah Palmisano

Hannah Palmisano is a student studying Creative Writing and English at the University of Arizona. She enjoys writing stories and poetry in a variety of genres, but especially fantasy and mystery for short fiction, and slice of life for poems. She loves to take readers on an adventure into worlds that would otherwise remain unknown, as well as explore the subtle magic to be found in everyday life. Her poetry can be found in EMMA Literary Magazine’s latest edition.

“The Last Pledge of Your Princess”

The mages come down from the citadel to see you when they taste blood in the thunder clouds. They bow their heads and pray for you to save our kingdom from the ill will carried to them on the air.
I would fall to my knees before you now and lay my head at your feet if I thought it would change anything.

At first I found you cold, your plated armor unyielding, but through the years you have softened to my touch. Beneath the chestplate you are scarred from the teeth of dragon kin, scored with the claws of the last lycanthrope — whom you killed. You are shy about it. You fear that I should see you war torn, battle weary, wet from long nights spent in pouring rain without food nor fire.

Such is the life of a soldier. My soldier.

They anointed you with a potion of valor as the sun rose on the day of your greatest triumph. If I close my eyes and press my nose to the base of your throat, I can still smell the honeysuckle and thyme, transformed, charged with magic. The sun spoke to the mages that day, even now as the white oaks speak to me.

My husband shall be a blight upon our perfect happiness.

No, he is not so handsome as you. No velvet cape, gilded crown, can supplant the solid weight of you, your coiled muscles, your discerning gaze. Your history. What wars has this man faced? What strange creatures in the wild conquered?

What weakness lies in him, as yet untapped?

Oh, he is not so unfortunate looking, I suppose, as he might have been. He is tan, weather warmed, the tip of his nose burned gently brown from long, hard days of travel on horseback to reach me…

And yet.

There is a frailty about him. The wind feathers through his dark hair like the fine bristles of a comb. Already the sun leaves its mark, faint freckles littering fair cheekbones. He cannot outpace the years as they clutch at his skin, loosen the teeth from their roots, etch lines around his laughing mouth.

He laughs so carelessly, this man. Brandishing his teeth he bears a grin that knocks Father’s council down with the strength of a war cry. He does not know how to yield to a look, much less a touch. He is no mage, no swordsman. He considers himself a fine archer, but I need no contest to know that my arrows, blessed by your hands, would fly more true.

Could there be danger on the roads? They will not arm me, they can barely stand to let me shoot for sport. The lycanthropes are gone, the dragon kin haunted ghosts of what they once were. There are whispers in court that their wings have wandered, wilted. Disarmed and deserted they roam the mountains, half-man, half-creature, not quite powerless but distorted almost beyond recognition.

It was a dragon that gave Father his limp. For all his fine jewels and robes, nothing in the world can disguise the poisonous ache of a tendon once torn by razored teeth.

My people do not heal as we once did. You may have noticed that in my haste to hold you I cut my hand on your blade. Still the blood flows freely, now mixing between my flesh and the tree’s as I lean upon it. They say that it is because you have turned your back on us, but I know better. It is the poison of the dragon kin that once flowed through my father’s veins and now roils in mine. The poison that tainted our wells, that has driven Father to desperation.

To this young king, and his disarming voice.

How I hunger to fell foes with a glance, to raise my hand and watch silence swell through the palace like a mounting storm.

It belongs to you as much as it does me, my magic. The wonders I would work. If only one of them would deign to teach me, I could save you from your solitude. You would press my hand in yours, bring it to your lips in reverence.

In his mind he is rescuing me. I am not yet two hundred years of age, my love, but you will understand me when I say that a man of five and twenty is hardly any man at all. Before my eyes, not even a quarter of my life, he will wither.

Will you wait?

The white oak pulses its bitter fortunes from its bark to my open palm. The silver gown my ladies chose will see a chapel within an hour’s time, and our parting shall be complete. His carriage will convey me from Pelanin, my father, and you. Through the forest to the mountains beyond. It will be the furthest Father has ever let me from his sight.

Do you recall a time when he would not allow me to see you unaccompanied? When the lake was deemed too deep? I crept to the dock in the night after one of Father’s grand parties, took the rowboat the mages use to reach the grassy knoll with the white oak by moonlight.

The mages will come down from the citadel when the reverberations of wedding bells roll through the rivers. They can pray, but they will have to pry me from you first.

The oak has gone quiet. They come for me.

My love, you are still a man of few words.

You are still as your princess, your priestess, presses her cheek to your stone visage.