By Rhys Hughes
MISFORTUNE She was poor and had a hard life and everything that could go wrong went wrong, as if Fate was determined to make her wait an inordinately long time for any joy or satisfaction. A toy of cruel chance, even when she learned to dance she remained alone, nobody’s partner, nobody’s wife and as a distraction from her woes she took to driving traction engines, the most powerful kind permitted by law, one hundred horsepower or more. One morning in a fog she crashed into the limousine of a very wealthy touring man, who on an ocean cruise during a storm had already seen her face in a dream. He fell in love instantly despite his bruises. A misfortune it had been but her name soon became Mrs Fortune. MISADVENTURE She crashed her biplane in the depths of the jungle. Her navigator had bungled badly and was beyond help now but she survived and began the long trek home. Through mountain passes on foot, across lakes on improvised rafts, always alone, over rotting rope bridges, braving leopards and snakes, the censure of sentient apes, until she found the lost city and met the king. So handsome! A misadventure it had been but her name soon became Mrs Adventure. MISALIGNED Her mind never ran in parallel with other brains, her thoughts remained unique. She would seek answers to questions that no one ever asked. Her daily task was to doubt ordinary phenomena and drown out assumptions with the music of wonder. She was like Andromeda but chained to the Strange instead of a Cliff. A whiff of magic could be detected whenever she elected to reveal her true self. But then one day she met an elf: old and wise, he was. She was right for him, she fitted in precisely to his psyche, and his to hers. Misaligned she had been for years but her name soon became Mrs Aligned.
Rhys Hughes has lived in many countries. He graduated as an engineer but currently works as a tutor of mathematics. Since his first book was published in 1995 he has had fifty other books published and his work has been translated into ten languages.
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