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Diamonds and Toads, Table of Contents

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Here are the eight enchanting works that make the "Diamonds and Toads Issue" of Enchanted Conversation. I really enjoyed these works because all of them explore the emotions and difficulties that result from the fairy "gifts" the two sisters find bestowed upon them.

I hope you've noticed the artwork Contributing Editor Amanda Bergloff created for this issue. One of Amanda's many talents is creating digital art. So, what began with her creating one or two pieces for this issue ended in her creating all of them. I love the results, and hope that you do too.
Enjoy!
Table of Contents:
"Serpents and Toads," Carina Bissett
"Diamonds and Toads," Aliza Faber
"Madame Chlorisse and Associates," Penny Jo McAllister
"The Diamond Princess," Cara McKee
"Market Value," Gerri Leen

"Lament For Sisters," Priya Sridhar
"All That Glitters," EJ Hagadorn
"D&T: The Sequel," Lorraine Schein





Serpents and Toads, Carina Bissett

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“Sign here.” Painted a lurid scarlet, the dark-haired woman’s lips spread into a thick smile. She tapped a red fingernail on the paper she pushed in front of me.
“That’s it?” Now that the promise sat in front of me, I was hesitant to take the next step. What if this was like all of the other false miracles I’d tried? But then again, what if it actually worked? What if I could be as thin as the women I envied? “That’s all I have to do? Just sign this paper?”
“Yes. Simple and efficient.” The woman grinned, white teeth flashing, teeth better suited to tearing into rare meat than nibbling at lettuce. A salad, dressing on the side, sat untouched near her elbow. Overripe strawberries beckoned in their bed of bitter greens. “At least it is at this stage in the process.”
What the hell. I took a deep breath and scrawled my name at the bottom of a contract I hadn’t bothered to read. “Now what?”
I didn’t feel any different. My pants were still too tight, my bra pinched the extra fold of skin below t…

Diamonds and Toads, Aliza Faber

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I gave an old woman two dollars,
Meant for my morning coffee,
And then handed her my coat,
For spring is coming,
But she looked so cold,
Standing in her rags on the corner of the street.

She looked at me and whispered; “You have a good heart, May God bless you.” We both smiled, And I went on my way.
In the evening after work, It was cold, So I bought a coat, at a second-hand store. When she saw it, My aging mother cried; “We aren’t made of money!” Later, I discovered, Five hundred dollar bills, Stashed in the pocket, Of my new old coat.
The next day I got a promotion, It came with a raise, And my mother was delighted. In the coming weeks, I found; Two hundred dollars on the streets, A winning lottery ticket forgotten on a bus seat,

Madame Chlorisse and Associates, Penny Jo McAllister

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Once upon a time there was an ambitious young enchantress named Daisy Bigelow who was just finishing her internship at the enchantment firm Madame Chlorisse and Associates. Daisy had just finished her final task as an intern and hoped to become a junior associate with the firm.
Confident that she had handled the case perfectly, she looked forward to her performance review with Madame Chlorisse and regarded the interview as a formality. The case had involved two young women, sisters. One had been very sweet and generous to Daisy when she appeared at the drinking well disguised as an old beggar woman who could offer her nothing in return for a drink of water. To reward the girl’s kindness, she caused diamonds and pearls to appear whenever she spoke, ensuring her a life of prosperity. Her sister had failed the same test, refusing her a drink even though it would have cost her nothing. So she caused toads and vipers to appear whenever she spoke.
Confident of her success, she was confused by…

The Diamond Princess, Cara McKee

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Tell me, fair bride, of all your life and all that did betide you, I love to hear your gentle voice and be the one beside you.
The Princess sadly bowed her head, she held her tongue and power, it was not her the fine Prince loved but her diamonds and flowers.
She had been lost and all alone since she’d run from her mother but had not taken that great risk for the greed of another.
Now speak, dear wife, of all that’s good, of things best not forgotten. But goodness lay within her heart, her Prince’s heart was rotten.
So sadly then the Princess stood and reached her hand out sweetly: My voice is just for you, husband, I gift to you completely.
She led him then unto their bed and sprinkled it with flowers, she whispered diamonds in his ear, she whispered them for hours.
The sunrise painted diamonds red heaped up beside the Princess who went to sleep with petaled lips and prayers for God’s forgiveness.
And underneath the diamonds there the Prince forever slept. He could not breathe the shining jewels his wife’s sad whi…

Market Value, Gerri Leen

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The palace isn't at all what I expected.  Granted, it's been years since I've lived in a fine house, with fancy sheets and pretty dresses, but still, nothing's wrong with my memory.  Our house with mother was much nicer than this dreadful place.
I get a shiver just walking through the door.
"You're the ratcatcher, then?" the cook asks me, and she's the stereotypical type: pleasantly curvy with a sweet face and a tone that invites secrets.
I nod and point to the writing slate around my neck.  On it I've written, "Mute since birth."
Not true but very useful.
She folds her arms over her ample bosom and casts me a doubtful look. "You don't look like any ratcatcher I've ever seen."
I resist rolling my eyes.  The girl I used to be would have—would also have given this uppity woman a tongue lashing harsh enough to make her cry.  But I've turned over a new leaf.  And I don't fancy spilling trade secrets.  So I just nod and ma…