by Jordan E. McNeil and Kat Weaver
Just below the coastal cliffs, the young queen tends to her subjects. Bids them good morning, inquires about their fishing, listens to their concerns. Though the birds’ concerns are few nowadays, the elder puffins remember a time before the kind-hearted queen—when hungry locals would scale the rocks to pillage their nests. A time when their continued existence was uncertain.
But then the queen came. She stood up for the puffins, helped the locals develop better, sustainable methods of filling their empty bellies, so that they all could survive and live in harmony. And they have, for many years since.
So now when she asks about concerns, the puffins have none, and instead bestow upon their queen gifts—of strong sticks and colorful coral—for they will be forever grateful for all she has done.
© Copyright Jordan E. Neil and Kat Weaver
Jordan E. McNeil [she/her] writes fairytales, rages at videogames, and takes selfies with goats. Her work can be found (or is forthcoming) at Arsenika, Liminality, and Sad Girl Review, among others. She can be found on Twitter, @Je_McNeil, and at Patreon.com/JordanEMcNeil.
Kat Weaver’s illustrations can be found in Lackington’s, the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows anthology, the American Historical Association’s magazine, and elsewhere. Her portfolio website is http://kathrynmweaver.com, where you can also find her written publications. Her novella, co-written with her wife Emily, is forthcoming from Neon Hemlock in 2022. They live in the Twin Cities with their two birds.
Read the Rest of the September Issue
- wildgirls by Cislyn Smith
- Seaside Princess by Jordan E. McNeil and Kat Weaver
- The Mermaid Speaks by Jose Luis Pablo
- Send Feet Pics by Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas
- A Stone’s Throw from You by Jenn Reese
- Mermaids of Alabama: An Environmental Assessment by Ellie Campbell
- What Do Merfolk Notice on Land? by Priya Chand
- Puffin Queen by Jordan E. McNeil and Kat Weaver
- Witnessing by Tiffany Morris
- Beyond the Blue by Yuan Changming
- Selkie’s Bones by Marisca Pichette
- Mermaid Galleon by Alex Nodopaka
- A Mermaid Reports from Okeanos by Pat Tompkins
- Water Bites Back by Yvette Lisa Ndlovu
- Freshwater Life by Anne E.G. Nydam
- Mer Crowley Angel by Arrick Corble
- the hunter by Jasmine Arch
- I Swim Up From Below by Sarah Gailey
- The Siren’s Song by Angela Gabrielle Fabunan