Explore ten new worlds with this collection of short stories from Penny Magic, A World of Our Own.

Summer of war

Vol. 2, Story 1

Every night, they fought in the skies. At first, the people below thought that the bursts of light were stars shooting closer than ever before, or planets spinning near enough to threaten them. The sparks would clash and fly above them without sound, fizzling out before reaching the ground, and the people eventually decided that whoever it was—stars, aliens, planets, gods—they were battling in the night skies above the land.



Vol. 2, Story 2

At the edge of the town of Moorwick was the lake. There was always mist on the lake. It didn’t matter if it was hot or cold: the fog always roiled fast across the surface like steam over a pot of soup. Sometimes it got into the town. When it came up out of the water it was still and heavy and you could feel it sticking to your skin. But every once in a while, on a clear night when the moon was full, the mist parted and you could see the island.

The Stairs

Vol. 2, Story 3

It was just past midnight when Felicia stepped out of her second floor window and into the sky beyond it. She grabbed her backpack, but nothing else—no shoes, no clothes, no toys. It was not summer yet, just before it in mid-May, and she was surprised how easy it was to walk on the warm air. It lifted her with each step, and she rose up and away from the house without hurrying. This was the night she had been waiting for.

The Animal Sculptors

Vol. 2, Story 4

The land of Filigri was like every other land, except for one thing: Filigri had no animals. Filigri had tomatoes. Filigri had petunias. Filigri had forests and mountains and cocoa beans. But for a hundred miles in every direction, there was not a single sparrow, a single rat, a single walrus or tiger or platypus to be seen.

The Winter War

Vol. 2, Story 5

The worst part of the Winter War was watching the old people fight it. No young people wanted to join. Instead, they let the old men with long white eyebrows and women with hair going from silvery-brown to white pick up the guns and planes and bombs and drive into each other all winter long. No one was happy about it. The old people thought the young people were neglecting their duties; the young people thought the old people were wasting their time. They were both right.

The Fable Hotel

Vol. 2, Story 6

It was the summer of ’98 when all the magical creatures of the famous Fable Hotel went on strike. The dwarves came up out of the boiler room, the imps skittered out from under the leaky sinks, the centaurs left the stables. All together with the griffins and the the goblins and the gnomes they marched in circles around the old marble pillars that flanked the front doors, waving signs, clanging bells, and beating drums while Og the troll, head of the Magical Creatures Union for the last three-hundred-and-fifty years or so, bellowed into a megaphone. On the whole, it was quite a spectacle.


Vol. 2, Story 7

It was the second spring storm, and the city had been waiting for it for days. In the deepest part of the desert, they were surrounded by sands and wind that brought sandstorms almost every week but thunderstorms only a few times each year. Most of the time, the city sat complacent in a steady breeze, perched on the edge of the plateau as wind whistled up the side and over the city before rambling off into the distance.

The Death of Peter Stonewood

Vol. 2, Story 8

I was only a bus boy in the Yellow Canary’s kitchens in those days, decades before I became the proprietor. But even now, all these years later, I can picture his face. I think of it sometimes when I am wiping down the tables or cleaning the whisky glasses. Almost always I picture it in the slow, dark nights of winter, the nights when the sun cannot bear to stay in the sky for long. On those nights, I remember his red cheeks, his murmuring voice, the look in his eye. Most of all, I remember how we killed him.


Vol. 2, Story 9

If you must be single again, June is an excellent time for it. The pool is open the longest hours—you can mourn as you sunburn—and you can throw your energetic bursts into running or tennis or beachside yoga. A January single will leave you heavier, but a June single will leave you lighter, a few extra chunks of marble on the floor around your base.

Back to Underfoot

Vol. 2, Story 10

You have heard the stories many times by now, little one, of Andrew and his adventures in Underfoot. You have heard all about the swashbuckling battles, the hidden treasures, the magic spells. But now you are getting older, and soon I will not tuck you into bed anymore. You will go out into the world and you will live. Now I want to tell you one more story...