Take me to a...
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
For more options, try our:
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
If you've already submitted a story, you may check its:
Not just rockets & robots...
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

Beasts and Roses

Amy Smift has two children and a background in lab science. This is her first professional sale.

The Beast doesn't ask for one of his daughters, merely tells him he will never leave. The merchant is numb as he is shown his bedchamber, the dining room, the library. Finally the Beast stops at a carved wooden chest, dark near to black, and withdraws two mirrors.
He hands one to the merchant. It is silver, finely made, but not extraordinary. The merchant is surprised to see that he does not already look older, more haggard.
The Beast offers him the other mirror. As they exchange them he sees that it is, unusually, gold. Then he nearly drops it in shock: the face looking back at him is not his own, but the Beast's.
"You see," says the Beast, the words weirdly doubled, issuing forth from his image in the mirror and from where he stands apart from the merchant, looming despite his distance. "The gold mirror shows what the silver mirror sees." And indeed he holds the silver mirror up in one massive paw, as if to admire his horrible visage.
"I don't understand," says the merchant. It is the first he has spoken since his initial protestations and pleas.
"I will cause one mirror to be sent to your daughters' house," the Beast says, my house, thinks the merchant. "You may choose."
His daughters are eight and six and two. (Perhaps that is why the Beast does not ask for one of them; there are no nursemaids here.) He thinks of giggles and pulled faces, of blushing young ladies arranging their hair. Of explanations, reassurances, words of love. (The silver mirror, sold; the gold mirror speaking to no one.)
"The roses were for them," he tells the Beast.
"They always are," agrees the Beast.
"Why can't I have both?" he asks. "See them, and speak to them?"
"Everyone must choose," the Beast answers, and the merchant wonders how many other poor rose-thieves have stood here before him.
A better man would smash both, he thinks, and puts out his hand to choose.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, April 14th, 2016
Become a Member!

We hope you're enjoying Beasts and Roses by Amy Smift.

Please support Daily Science Fiction by becoming a member.

Daily Science Fiction is not accepting memberships or donations at this time.

Rate This Story
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

4.3 Rocket Dragons Average
Share This Story
Join Mailing list
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):