Monday, February 28, 2011


They walk along the beach, poking the sand with sticks, overturning rocks, rustling the dune-grass.

"We are looking for our children," they say, when you ask them.

"We do not know their names. We did not lose children," they clarify, when you ask them further, politely. "We have not found them the first time yet."

"We came from nothing," they tell you as you shuffle away, avoiding eye contact. "We crawled full-formed from the foam. We therefore, obviously, have nothing inside of us, and so we search outside."

"They must be very well hidden," they say to themselves, alone again.

Opening the Veins of the Wind

They sat becalmed for many days, the sea as still as gelatin around them.

"Please," the sailors begged. "We don't want to die."

Taku consulted with the Wisest Stone. "There is a way," he said at last, "but it is ugly."

"Tell us! On our own heads be it."

Taku handed over his obsidian knife. "Climb up the mast. Hold this overhead. Then whistle, so." He hummed a few notes that quavered eerily.

The bravest soldier followed Taku's instructions, and soon the sails were full of good, strong wind. Taku shook his head when they offered him his knife back.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Taku prodded the brownish lump. The turtle retracted its head further, but did not otherwise move. "Remind you of anyone?" he asked.

"No," said the Wisest Stone.

"Don't be difficult."

"The turtle misunderstands the purpose," the Wisest Stone went on, settling deeper into his mossy bed. "He builds the hard shell, but then he lives within, letting the world break against it."

"Like a rock in a stream, yes?" Taku plucked a green leaf and placed it in front of the turtle, who remained stubbornly hidden.

"To be rock is to be the shell, not to be behind the shell."

Publishing News

My first publication in the realm of paper and ink is available here. "Seasons in the Abyss" is a collection of horror flash fiction themed around the four seasons. The collection includes seventy stories, and is about thirteen dollars. I have two stories in there, both of which astute readers of Mirrorshards might recognize as expanded flitterfics.

I can't in good faith recommend the book at the price it's selling for; it's a bit thin for the cost, and the content is... spotty. Still, there are some gems in the collection (making no comment on my own stories) and it would likely entertain for a day or two; what more can one ask? It's nicely bound on decent quality paper and has that nice new book smell. If you value small press publishing and relatively neophyte authors, then that might add to the value of the book for you. (Don't buy it on my account alone; I get bupkis in terms of royalties.)

If anyone does buy it, I'd love to hear what your favorites were.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


"The forest is our city," said the oaks, "and we are its walls, strong and unyielding. We resist forever."

"We are the warriors, our blades forever sharp!" the grass piped in. "We will cut you a thousand times with every step you take!"

"And we are the seductresses," said the berries, plump and glistening. "Your men will never resist us, and we will bring you down."

"But please," said the Men, who stood in their armor, swords sheathed. "We have come to parley, to make a treaty with-"

"MOTHERFUUUUUCKEEERRRRR!" the ragweed shrieked, ending its headlong flight in the human's faces.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cold Feet

"We just think it's gone a little far, Kiedran," said Father. He accepted a drink from the warty demon butler. The demon whisked the tray to Mother, who declined, and then to Kiedran, who plucked up a glass and drank with gusto.

"Nonsense," Kiedran laughed. "Demons are useful for so many things nobody's thought to try yet."

Father opened his mouth to answer, but a tiny sneeze distracted him. He looked down. A blue-skinned demon bobbed gently in the liquor, frost spreading out from its skin. It looked up and met Father's gaze.

"I hate my job," said the demon.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Business as Usual

"I need you to stay late tonight," said Mr. Whiskers. "End of quarter is coming up. We really have to catch that red dot."

"You can't catch the red dot because the dot isn't there!" said Ted, holding his face in his hands. "It comes from the laser pointer. It's just light."

Mr. Whiskers blinked and flexed his claws. "I know that, Ted, but that doesn't change the fact that the quarter is ending. Our stockholders want to see that dot caught."

"You could do this to dogs, you know. Turn the tables completely."

"Yes," said Mr. Whiskers. "We know."

Ends and Means

The remains of the planet circled around like a juggler's balls, clinging to one another's gravity. A blanket of dust sparkled in the nearby star's light.

"It's beautiful," said the Gollimog.

"I would have said 'sad,'" said Harker, with a hard-eyed stare.

"That, too," said the Gollimog. "But beautiful. I prefer it when they try to avoid the inevitable. There is a poetry in that."

"What will we do, when it comes to it?"

The Gollimog shook his head. "We will document it, of course, for the collection."

"Even the end of the collection itself?"

"Otherwise, what is it for?"

Friday, February 18, 2011


"In your garden, there is a tree," said Tikun. "Your wife watered that tree with her tears when you feared the child would not be. There is a serpent that gnaws at the roots. Dig down and find the serpent – being careful not to disturb the roots – kill it, then prepare a meal of meat, fruit, grain, and leaf, seasoning each item with the serpent's venom. Then shall your wife be healed. Take also these." Tikun handed over a small orange vial. It rattled.

"What are these for?" asked Rob.

"So your wife will believe. Your people are very superstitious."

Las Vacaciones

On vacation, and thus experiencing the usual hiccups. I will post a larger update at some point, ne?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


This close to the Painter's house, everything took on a ghostly hue. Pallid birds perched in colorless shrubs. Even the ground faded as we drew near. It was like standing nowhere, on nothing.

"You are tainting my work," said the Painter. We had not seen him approach.

Ciely spoke up. "You made art, once, created colorful paintings instead of destroying them. We're here to ask why."

"Destroy?" The Painter ran his brush across Ciely's hair, leaving a milky streak behind. "I am conserving. Recovering. Taking it back."

"But why?"

He turned his solid white eyes to me. "A blank canvas."

Sunday, February 13, 2011


"Come, take my hand." The cold woman reached out, palm up. Her skin was pale as milk, and faintly luminescent. "Do you really want to suffer the indignities and infirmities of age? To watch your faculties wither and die like overripe fruit?"

"I know I will die, and I accept that," I said. "I would rather remain connected to the world than live forever apart."

The cold woman glanced up, her eyes flashing with irritation. "I wasn't talking to you."

I watched my own hand lift and grasp hers. I felt my treacherous face smile, and I could do nothing.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Destiny Calling

"No, I don't have a job yet. Mom, I told you how this works. No one 'hires' you, you just go out and, you know, adventure. Like freelancing. No, I don't think a business degree would help. Look, this is the way it works for everyone. You have to start at the lowest level and put in your time, and there's no guarantee that you'll ever make it big. Because it's my dream, Mom. No, I am not just using it as an excuse to fight Blue Slimes until I have enough for the Inn."


"Sometimes there are Drakees..."

Ozymandius Plans Ahead

Ozymandius felt the wind in his fur as he plummeted. The curvature of the Earth was visible, far below.

"What's all this, then?" said a dark form, swooping in. Swiffin, Prince of Birds, was currently an oversized raven.

"Well, it was going to be flying," said Ozzy, "but it isn't working out."

"Cats can't fly."

"Right. I was going to fix that. Can you help me land?"

"And why were you learning to fly?" Swiffin cocked his head.

Ozzy thought. "Definitely not to catch birds and eat them."

There was a pause. "I suppose that counts as subtle, for cats."

Thursday, February 10, 2011


"Hi!" said the muscular youth. "The sign out front said you needed a hand for the summer?"

The old man puffed on his pipe. "Well," he said, "can you follow rules?"


"There's a double-trunked tree in the field out back. The earth has been recently disturbed at its roots. Never dig there."

"Okay, well..."

"The attic room is locked. No matter what you may hear in there, never open it."

"That's fine; I hate heights..."

"And I don't speak of my younger days, so never ask me."

"Can you at least tell me your name?"

"They call me... MacGuffin."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The War of Endless Night

"I don't know... I just don't know..." the Captain muttered.

"Captain's dithering again," said Private Nightlight to Sergeant LED.

"That's the problem with these compact fluorescents," LED said, nodding. "Always back and forth, back and forth. They've got all kinds of toxic issues right under that cold facade they put up, too. It's how they're raised, I think."

"ENOUGH TALK!" came a shriek from behind. "ONWARD TO GLORIOUS DEATH!" Someone hurtled past them. There was a whistle and a pop.

"Incandescent went over the wall, Sarge."

"Can't say I'm surprised. He's been on the edge of burning out for weeks."

Monday, February 7, 2011

One Petal, Falling


The Golden King did not answer. His face was lit from below by his work. "Do you know purity, Thimblerig?"


"Something so pure, so refined, that its very touch sears that which is contaminated by dross and the commonplace. The glimpse of perfection that destroys the capacity for everything lesser. The knife at the throat of the world. Poison."

Thimblerig glanced at his hands. His knuckles were very hairy, and one split cuticle oozed slightly. "No, m'Lord. What are you making?"

"Purity." He lifted the flower from the workshop bench and held it up. The workshop dimmed. "A weapon."

The Void-Kraken's Mentor

Out here in the black, it can be hard to remember that the fundamental goal of the universe is not to end in cold and dead emptiness. That is what happens, of course, and that is what we are here to ensure comes to pass, but that is not the goal. A goal is a want. A goal is a need. And given enough of a chance, given sufficient initial energy, given the conditions and the timing and the place, everything wants and needs to burn.

The universe does not want to end. The universe wants to end in fire.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


The tanks rolled in on Tuesday. The city burned by nightfall. After the panicking crowds were mown down, the soldiers - clad in full-body suits covering every inch of skin, with masks like insect faces - began a building-by-building sweep. They killed everyone.

"Why?" was the question most people shouted as they died. No one could be allowed to live, not in the entire perimeter around the lab. A live human could transmit the virus. As could a dead infected, of course. There were other methods for those.

The doors banged open. The people inside cried out. Operation Firebreak continued on schedule.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bum's Rush

"Sir, you presume too much. Begone!" He swirled his bathrobe at me.

I sighed. "Jax, man..."

"King Jacksonia, Duke of Pineville and Protector of South Charlotte!"

"You're hallucinating, dude."

"Guards! Remove this wastrel."

"Okay, fine. I'm leaving. But I'm calling tomorrow and bringing you some help." I headed for the door.

Jackson laughed, waving his toilet-brush scepter. "No, not too roughly. He was once a friend. And now, let the joust begin!"

I closed the door and shrugged. My arms tingled with the touch of gauntleted hands. I was absolutely certain I did not hear anything like a whinny inside.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sacrificing Speed for Accuracy

"They're not vampires. They can't manufacture hemoglobin, so the quickest way for them to maintain homeostasis is blood. The adrenal glands are misfiring, granting incredible speed, strength, and disregard for pain. The paleness is a function of constricted blood vessels. The extreme photophobia is the organism itself; it lives just under the epidermis and can't handle ultraviolet radiation. So they're not vampires. They're infected with aphotic hemophagic adrenal anemia."

"But see, if I'd been able to shout, 'Look out! Vampire!' instead of all that gibberish, you'd have been able to look up in time to not get eaten just now."

Moment to Moment

"Let's start with the idea of an infinite universe, or at least an infinite multiverse, okay?"


"That means that every moment, someone somewhere is finding a magic lamp. They wish for infinite wishes and become godlike rulers of the entire shebang."

"But we don't notice?"

"How long can you play a game with cheats active?"

"Well, it gets boring after... oh."

"Exactly. They always wish to go back to the way things were, and so we never notice these infinite trans-dimensional god-being invasions."


"Now we just find one of these assholes, beat him up, and we're all set."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Passing Time in the Livewoods

The chorus of tinny screams woke me. "What are you doing, Rikko?"

The mercenary glanced at me across the fire. "Eating the talking berries." He held up a handful. They sobbed pitifully and begged me to save them.

"Why are you upset?" I asked them. "You're supposed to be eaten. That's the point of berries."

Rikko plucked up a single berry, sucked away the sweet flesh, and carefully ground the seed to splinters between his fingernails. The berries in his other hand wailed. He grinned with red-stained teeth.

I stared for a moment, then rolled over and struggled to sleep.