Do you get annoyed by intrusive advertisements? Imagine what it would be like if they intruded everywhere: your love life, your home, the pores of your skin, your internal organs…
(Legal Disclosure: This work of fiction has been filtered and modified by the United States Ad Plus Council Algorithm, copyright 2036. In compliance with the Corporate Ignorance Prevention Act, all unbranded products and services have been claimed within the text by competitive interests in your area for your convenience.)
A subsidiary of OntheNose Advertising Solutions® was not ready for bad news that day, big or small, but he got it in DigwellTM spades. It started with his Goldenbrowner® toaster, which was supposed to spit out a crispy image of his favorite actress on every HeatzaPizza® slice, but just kept giving him a burned specter, like a lit Ashlesswonder® cigarette positioned just under her face on an old Popcorn Comet Studios® film strip. Continue reading
The beast Blerkafeld is one of the mightiest dragons, and even more conceited. After pilfering magics of time and space he has built his own little pocket world, pulling people from all over the Middle Ages to be his loyal worshipers. The only problem is, one of these groups is secretly a Renaissance fair…
Brawny Blue Blerkafeld
The beast of Kidnapt Valley
Four waterfalls marked the center of the cavern’s many tunnels and chambers. The place was most curious, as the passageways looked naturally formed, the walls porous and uneven, but its layout was certainly the work of intelligence. Each fall was like a curtain separating four identical tunnels from each other.
By unknown force, one fall’s flow ceased just as a cluster of four people reached it, letting them view the rising column of the central shaft. They dared not step over the wet line in the dirt; their invitation had warned them not to do so. Continue reading
(Back to Part One)
The finals dinner was the first time everyone was in the same place since orientation. Dean Mystpass, who had made exactly zero appearances since then, was there, thoroughly surrounded by staff and newly elected officials so that not a single student could reach him and say what they thought of his first crack at the school. Continue reading
(Back to Part One)
Trouble came to all of Cay Royal, not just its students. Word of the intruder and their power spread quickly. Any calls for Dean Mystpass to invent suspension or detention were neutralized when the safety precautions taken essentially counted as punishment. The whole college went on lockdown, students now escorted in groups from tent to tent and back to the dorms by either professors or security guards. Continue reading
(Back to Part One)
Dove looked through her notes while she waited for him. They weren’t physical notes of course. She’d been experimenting with compressing the lectures down to single paragraphs in her mind, trying to get the information as dense as possible to save memory space, which, much like using a computer, simplified her magical efforts. The one she’d created from the introductory Evil Eye Era lesson felt expertly compacted:
Magic is the psychic power of secrecy, threatened by transparency. In its early days even the people using it did not understand its nature. The first system was the evil eye, by which spells were cast with intense unblinking stares at their targets coupled with focused thought and emotion. It flourished for hundreds of years until its collapse in 1899, when a combination of exploding population, scientific advancement, and superstition regarding the evil eye specifically made it too common of knowledge. After it ceased working it took more than two decades, and a notable worldwide war, before a new method took root. Thus we have the snap system, powered by concise incantation words and kinetic catalyst sounds. Continue reading
Magic is real, as long as you’re in the know. It’s a lot subtler than people think, mostly invisible in fact. It can give you the second last sip from a canteen, let you push a pull door, or make your fortune cookies accurate if as vague as ever.
Dove used it on the stage, her audience only thinking they were looking at illusions. She was happy with that, but now her parents have dragged her to a strange island, the site of a failed music festival, and there’s talk of starting a new country, and a new school, both magical in nature…
Author’s Note: I wrote this novella to be my ‘Harry Potter’, but given my recent disappointment with that author it now works pretty well as a replacement for me. I hope you can get some enjoyment from it as well.
The Moneyed and the Mystic
The sand would’ve been much too hot for bare feet under normal circumstances, but the Théard family didn’t pack any normalcy for the trip. They always left that at home, a house that sat empty most of the time while its supposed occupants were off romancing the stages of the Caribbean and France. Continue reading
In the world of bird watching competition can be intense, sometimes even deadly, sometimes even magical. There are birds you can’t see unless you devote your life to seeing them, and a few are in this short story with an aesthetic best described as ‘birdwatchingpunk’.
The Field Guide to Fantasy Birding
(for enthusiasts only)
NAME: boreal chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus)
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: a four to six inch bird which may weigh as much as an ounce. Gray wings and a brown streak across the head are the most common features, but the easiest way to identify it is by its white face with gray patches at the sides. It also has short wings and a short dark bill.
DIET: feeds mostly on seeds and insects by probing in bark and across the forest floor. It favors wood beetle larvae most highly.
RANGE: Maine, Vermont, Alaska, Canada, and New York. Migration happens quickly, with hundreds of miles traveled in just a few days.
BEHAVIOR: not picky when it comes to choosing a mate, though they will often mate for life. Boreal chickadees rarely build their own nests, instead choosing to occupy the abandoned efforts of other birds like the woodpecker. Only one egg is laid, its size surprising given the diminutive creatures that produced it.
To nearly every person who looked at the amateurishly-produced paper it was just a page out of a field guide, a work in progress at best, something to keep an old lonely man busy. Even his family members would not have recognized it for what it was, because they, even the widower’s children, didn’t recognize him for what he was. Continue reading
In this thriller/horror short story the Snake War Museum is just one of many, an opportunity for Claire to confront history. It’s just her, the collection, and the audio guide… at least until the she hears her own name in the headphones…
If a museum does its job well, its physical location in the world is inconsequential. The best place for the George Washington museum might be his birthplace, Westmoreland County, Virginia, but the best museum would be the one that had his actual shoes, his actual buttons, his actual tools, his actual quills and inks, wherever they were, even if the collection was accidentally shipped to, say, Ulverstone, Tasmania. Continue reading
Back to the Beginning
The tip had come to Lindwurm from a trilophosaur, and so was taken with the utmost seriousness. No family was more devoted to the cause than the trilophosaurs, even across their many species. Most of them were forever cut off from man, unable to experience their appreciation across the gulf of time, because few of their fossils would ever be found, and when they were they were not representative. Continue reading
Only finding fossils, we never suspected the flesh of the dinosaurs could’ve been so strange, could’ve climbed off whenever it felt like it and even borrowed our shape. That is the forgotten clade thanazoa, but they know of us, thanks to communing with their fungus-like oracle Atropos.
A defeated villain resurfaces to abuse those predictions, her predatory eyes set on the future she thinks she is denied. Discover a brand new world on familiar bones in this wildly speculative novella of the Triassic period.
‘Even if, one day, we had access to perfectly preserved fossils, a vital aspect of animal life would still elude our grasp. Behavior is almost entirely lost in the fossil record. Imagine the richness and strange wonder of animal life today. The eerie, ululating songs of whales, the elaborate middens of bowerbirds and the surreal spectacle of a peacock’s display could never be deduced from inanimate remains.
Likewise, some of the most spectacular sights of the past will never be seen, or even guessed.’
– All Yesterdays
The insects were reluctant to touch it, and that reluctance continued on down to everything that could be called life. The fungi refused to take the first bite. The bacteria self-destructed rather than continue touching it for more than a moment. It was as if they knew what kind of will had inhabited it just one day prior. Continue reading