Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Are You Sure It's That Way?

They were lost, and it was Nadin’s fault. It had to be Nadin’s fault; Adren didn’t get lost. Not in the woods. He must be using his magic somehow. That and he kept accusing her of changing direction when she wasn’t.

“Just because I walk around a tree so I don’t hit it doesn’t mean we’re suddenly going west,” she told him.

He gave the sky a nervous glance, but didn’t reply.

This is what happens when you grow up in a town with streets; you never learn to keep yourself going straight. The roads do that for you.

“And, if you would stop distracting me, I’d be able to navigate.” Since he clearly couldn’t.

Still, he dragged his heels. Adren wished she could leave him behind, just turn invisible and head off without him being able to follow. But, as luck would have it, Nadin could see through magic of that variety. She was stuck with him.

“I thought we would arrive long before the sun set,” he paused to duck under a branch which hadn’t hung quite so low when Adren had passed by it. Odd. “So if the sun’s setting and we’re still here, then we have to be going the wrong way.”

“And?”

“Shouldn’t we stop for a moment and get our bearings? Maybe retrace our steps?”

“No. We’ll get there faster if we keep going.”

Nadin stuck his hands in his pockets and frowned. “Or we’ll keep getting further away.”

“Look, Nadin, the man said to head south and, if we miss the town, we’ll hit the river. We both saw it on the map. Now, do you see a river anywhere?”

“No.”

“So south we go.”

Nadin mumbled something else, but Adren ignored him. For a few blessed moments the only other sounds she heard were their footsteps, the twitter of birds, and the rustle of squirrels in the underbrush. She had just begun to enjoy it, too, when…

“But what if we—”

“Nadin. I’m hungry. I’m tired. The sun is going down,” she indicated the orb to her right, “and if we’re going to sleep in an inn tonight like you wanted, we keep going.”

“Except that’s not where the sun is.”

At this, Adren did stop and spun on one heel to face him.

“Do you not have eyes?”

“Adren, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you this whole time: the sun isn’t there. It’s there.” He pointed ahead.

Chuckles and shushing came from the trees around them and then died down. Oh no.

“We’re heading west?”

Nadin nodded.

Adren’s shoulders fell, at which moment the trees filled with laughter. The sky shimmered and the sun disappeared. When she turned back, it had reappeared where Nadin had pointed.

Some days, Adren really hated fairies.


Note from Thea: This story takes place in between the first two books of my White Changeling series. The first, Hidden in Sealskin, is already out, and I'm currently running a Kickstarter for the second, Like Mist Over the Eyes. Pledge at least $25 CAD to get both ebooks (and more!).

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Storm in a Graveyard

A storm growled eagerly on the horizon as she passed through the iron gates. The wind could have been the voices of the dead, and she puled her coat tighter around her. Headstones wove in drunken lines, leading inexorably towards the one person she’d sworn she’d never see again. The storm reached the bounds of its patience and broke, fat drops pelting down like bullets. The vibrant red of her mother’s dress ahead seemed even more garishly out of place.

The storm changed the tone of the wind: now, instead of haunting, it sounded angry—or perhaps merely irritated, she amended, listening as it rattled the trees impatiently. She dragged her fingers along the cracked ridge of a headstone, noticing the reddish flecks of hematite embedded in the gunmetal grey. Red had always been her mother’s favourite colour; she hadn’t worn it in twenty years. The red-lipped smile on her mother’s face was equally rare.


“Hello, dear,” her mother called over the storm. “Don’t worry. The police don’t suspect a thing.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

When the Ground Met The Sky - Liana Brooks

CONTEXT! World-building is often thought to stop after an author names the mountains and rivers, but it's actually runs much deeper than that. In one of my series a character quotes a popular children's book that everyone would know... which meant I need to write at least part of that book so I could quote it properly. That's where this short story comes from.

~ Short Stories For Small Spacers ~

Once, when the universe was very young, Sky was born between the places of nothing. Out there in the darkness thoughts and ideas rushed around, all seeking something marvelous. Sky went with them, rushing away from the center of the universe to find something.

Sky searched in all the dark places, trying to find the something everyone was searching for. One day, he saw something that was not air or darkness. This new thing was not light or void. It was strange and new, so he went to it.

“What are you?” ask Sky.

“I am Ground,” said Ground as she spun around herself.

Sky watched her form into a perfect sphere. “You are not expanding,” Sky said. “You are not reaching. You are not searching.”

“I have done my searching,” Ground said. “I have found what I wanted. Now I will stay here and grow beautiful things and make new things the universe has never seen.”

Sky watched Ground for a time, but then he traveled onward, searching for the thing that would give him meaning.

After many years Sky returned to Ground and she looked much as she had when he left.

“Ground” he said, “how did you know when you found what you were searching for?”

“How can you search for something if you don’t know what it is you want?” Ground asked in reply.

Sky considered this. “I want to find the place where I belong,” he said.

“Yes,” Ground said. “That is good. I belong here, because here I can grow things and create great things.”

“I should find a place where I can make great things,” Sky said, and so he went off into the void.
He searched in the darkness, and in gas clouds, and in nebulas. He hunted for his purpose. Near great gravity variations and on the edges of black holes, Sky sought the place where he could grow new things and add something wonderful to the universe.

Again, he returned to Ground.

Ground was crying.

“Why are crying?” Sky asked.

Ground showed him the barren soil, dark and scarred by the ravages of creation. “My beautiful creations keep dying. I build mountains and they tremble and fall. I create oceans and they evaporate. All my beautiful things are destroyed. I can create, but I have no way to protect my beautiful things.”

Sky hugged Ground and held her tight as she cried. He watched ripples turn into mountains, and green grass began to grow. “Look!” Sky said. “Look how beautiful this is! You have what you wanted!”

“But only when you are here,” Ground said sadly. “When you leave, all these beautiful things will fall away.”

So Sky held her tighter. “I will stay.”

“You should go,” Ground said. “Go and find the thing you are searching for.”

“I have,” said Sky. “I was searching for you. I was searching for a place to belong, and it is here, with you. I was searching for a purpose, and it is here, helping you make beautiful and wondrous things for the universe. I was searching for love, and it is here. I love you, Ground.”

“I love you, Sky,” said Ground. 

And that is how the ground got an atmosphere.


Find more of Liana's stories at GoodReads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Curious Case of Spontaneous Green Felines

A pile of green cats mews from the centre of my living room floor. I’m not sure what to do. When you’re experiencing a case of spontaneously existing animals—not to mention animals of entirely the wrong colour—it’s difficult to remember your own name, never mind figure out what to do with the creatures. I run over my recent actions, trying to discover some kind of explanation for this occurrence.

I made myself a Pop Tart. No. I check what’s in my hand. A Pizza Pop. Breakfast. Maybe the microwave did it?

One of the cats yawns, little pink mouth and little pink tongue in a verdant fluff face, and plops out of the pile. They’re kittens, really, now that I’m paying attention. The shock must be wearing off. Except—and I’m sure of this, I think—the pile was larger when I first entered the room. Not because there were more kittens, but because they really were cats before.

The wee kitten stumbles over to me and headbutts my ankle. It rubs its face into the hem of my pants before it curls up on my foot and falls asleep.

It looks older than the others. Weren’t they the same age only moments ago? These other kittens are week-old babies. Cat infants, not like the lime-hued toddler currently warming my toes.

The pile continues to shrink as the kittens do, the impossible animals growing younger and younger before my eyes until they contract out of existence, a feline singularity with an unfortunate dye job.

The kitten on my foot is still fast asleep. It bats at neon dream-mice (I assume they’re neon. It seems only logical, under the circumstances).

I still don’t know what to do, so I eat my Pizza Pop and wonder when would be a good time to call a psychiatrist.

And that's why I'm unable to come into work today. Do you happen to know of anyone who wants a green cat?

Monday, August 1, 2016

We're back! Well, nearly. Keep an eye out later this week for the newest member of the blog, Thea van Diepen - hurrah!

Stories should hopefully resume posting weekly, though we may take the fourth week of each month off. Consider that pending. But in the meantime, you get to enjoy our fabulous, unedited, messily glorious fiction on a mostly weekly basis. Yay!

After 12 months off, it's good to be back :) Turn the lights on, find yourself a cushion, and pass around the cookies: It's story time!!