Twenty-four Days of Ringworm and Religion: Day Nine

Welcome to what is likely your first advent calendar fantasy novel!  Each day is a chapter, and should be read as such, but who am I to stop you from catching up? (This way to Day One!)  What follows is the story of one Marzipan Ridner, a young trans girl aching for the fulfillment of the holiday season.  When a mysterious wooden Advent calendar shows up she opens the first door, and finds herself whisked away to a world-tree of contrasting deities and binding bureaucracy.  She has less than a month to find someone willing to be her spiritual patron, but the denizens of the tree don’t seem very hospitable…

On the Ninth Day

Marzipan was only wearing half a shirt that day. Her mother told her she could have some new clothes for her birthday, but that was still months away, so she couldn’t bring herself to discard any of the four she had left, even when one of them was so dirty it had permanently changed color. To make use of it she tore the bottom half off, choosing to wear it only on days where the ringworm on her side was too itchy to bear, as airing the infection out seemed to help a little. Continue reading

Twenty-four Days of Ringworm and Religion: Day Eight

Welcome to what is likely your first advent calendar fantasy novel!  Each day is a chapter, and should be read as such, but who am I to stop you from catching up? (This way to Day One!)  What follows is the story of one Marzipan Ridner, a young trans girl aching for the fulfillment of the holiday season.  When a mysterious wooden Advent calendar shows up she opens the first door, and finds herself whisked away to a world-tree of contrasting deities and binding bureaucracy.  She has less than a month to find someone willing to be her spiritual patron, but the denizens of the tree don’t seem very hospitable…

On the Eighth Day

Langcorn the lonely’ they called him. It wasn’t one of the names invented by the people of his home town, no, they had plenty of their own. It was a moniker created in the boughs of the tree, and Langcorn thought it cruel that someone would go to the trouble of concocting and spreading it in just eight short days. Continue reading

Twenty-four Days of Ringworm and Religion: Day Seven

Welcome to what is likely your first advent calendar fantasy novel!  Each day is a chapter, and should be read as such, but who am I to stop you from catching up? (This way to Day One!)  What follows is the story of one Marzipan Ridner, a young trans girl aching for the fulfillment of the holiday season.  When a mysterious wooden Advent calendar shows up she opens the first door, and finds herself whisked away to a world-tree of contrasting deities and binding bureaucracy.  She has less than a month to find someone willing to be her spiritual patron, but the denizens of the tree don’t seem very hospitable…

On the Seventh Day

Have you heard? We’re about to get rid of him!” Saint Victor said, clapping his hands giddily. Tiny bolts of electricity jumped between his palms as he did so, as he was the patron saint of lightning strikes, and had taken several hits for his flock over the centuries. His eyes glowed white and his mouth was full of leaping sparking arcs, so when he opened it wide to share his excitement he could light an entire room. Continue reading

Twenty-four Days of Ringworm and Religion: Day Six

Welcome to what is likely your first advent calendar fantasy novel!  Each day is a chapter, and should be read as such, but who am I to stop you from catching up? (This way to Day One!)  What follows is the story of one Marzipan Ridner, a young trans girl aching for the fulfillment of the holiday season.  When a mysterious wooden Advent calendar shows up she opens the first door, and finds herself whisked away to a world-tree of contrasting deities and binding bureaucracy.  She has less than a month to find someone willing to be her spiritual patron, but the denizens of the tree don’t seem very hospitable…

On the Sixth Day

Despite spending his night sleeping on a riverbed, finding a body of water proved quite difficult for Langcorn. Clumps of dirt had dried into the back of his hair, and he didn’t think it appropriate to present himself for inspection to any divine creature while in such a state. He was searching deep in the boughs of the tree, looking for a pond or waterfall in which to bathe. Continue reading

Twenty-four Days of Ringworm and Religion: Day Five

Welcome to what is likely your first advent calendar fantasy novel!  Each day is a chapter, and should be read as such, but who am I to stop you from catching up? (This way to Day One!)  What follows is the story of one Marzipan Ridner, a young trans girl aching for the fulfillment of the holiday season.  When a mysterious wooden Advent calendar shows up she opens the first door, and finds herself whisked away to a world-tree of contrasting deities and binding bureaucracy.  She has less than a month to find someone willing to be her spiritual patron, but the denizens of the tree don’t seem very hospitable…

On the Fifth Day

Marzipan followed the branch out to a narrow limb, on which she had spied a solitary cozy door. Even with both her arms out she had trouble balancing on such a narrow and gnarled way, stumbling to the end and latching onto the knob. When it swung open she was dragged along a cobblestone floor, but pleasantly so. Somehow the stones were soft, not quite pliant, but with the smooth give of driftwood. Continue reading

Twenty-four Days of Ringworm and Religion: Day Four

Welcome to what is likely your first advent calendar fantasy novel!  Each day is a chapter, and should be read as such, but who am I to stop you from catching up? (This way to Day One!)  What follows is the story of one Marzipan Ridner, a young trans girl aching for the fulfillment of the holiday season.  When a mysterious wooden Advent calendar shows up she opens the first door, and finds herself whisked away to a world-tree of contrasting deities and binding bureaucracy.  She has less than a month to find someone willing to be her spiritual patron, but the denizens of the tree don’t seem very hospitable…

On the Fourth Day

This door of the saints was more humble than many of the others Langcorn had seen. This time he was further out on the branch than ever before, the door to Saint Perpetuus more than ten minutes of careful walking beyond sight. His many scratches from the earlier tumble hadn’t healed yet and, knowing he wasn’t looking his best, he’d decided to proposition anyone he could find who was more of the laborer persuasion than the academic. Continue reading

Twenty-four Days of Ringworm and Religion: Day Three

Welcome to what is likely your first advent calendar fantasy novel!  Each day is a chapter, and should be read as such, but who am I to stop you from catching up? (This way to Day One!)  What follows is the story of one Marzipan Ridner, a young trans girl aching for the fulfillment of the holiday season.  When a mysterious wooden Advent calendar shows up she opens the first door, and finds herself whisked away to a world-tree of contrasting deities and binding bureaucracy.  She has less than a month to find someone willing to be her spiritual patron, but the denizens of the tree don’t seem very hospitable…

On the Third Day

A liberal pinch of powder tossed into the fire pit turned the flame a ghostly blue, dying the surrounding trees the same color. They weren’t actually trees of course, just more branches of the Chrismon Tree, but this was so deep in its greenery, so close to the trunk, that it was like a forest. Each twig broke through the matted layers of needles, rising thirty or forty feet before striking the next ceiling layer.

The fire was in a stone bowl, amply supported by the surrounding compacted mats. To walk on them was like walking on grumpy moss, or perhaps vindictive grass, but it was comfortable enough to the myriad youthful creatures that sat around the flame, some with two legs folded under their bodies and some with four. Continue reading

Twenty-four Days of Ringworm and Religion: Day Two

Welcome to what is likely your first advent calendar fantasy novel!  Each day is a chapter, and should be read as such, but who am I to stop you from catching up? (This way to Day One!)  What follows is the story of one Marzipan Ridner, a young trans girl aching for the fulfillment of the holiday season.  When a mysterious wooden Advent calendar shows up she opens the first door, and finds herself whisked away to a world-tree of contrasting deities and binding bureaucracy.  She has less than a month to find someone willing to be her spiritual patron, but the denizens of the tree don’t seem very hospitable…

On the Second Day

It was the second time he had taken a tumble in as many days, and though this one was far more injurious it didn’t feel anywhere as damaging as the first. The first was positively fraught with jagged emotions, a terrible thing for Langcorn, who would describe his own personality as positively fraught with jagged emotions.

The second fall was incidental, his own fault if anyone’s, but the first… oh there was just no telling what Beau had meant by it. Everything had happened so quickly, and Langcorn couldn’t quite remember which of the two of them had first suggested it. That was what he chose to mull over rather than a way to get himself off the tree branch he was currently doubled over like a hanging rug. Continue reading

Twenty-four Days of Ringworm and Religion: Day One

Welcome to what is likely your first advent calendar fantasy novel!  Each day is a chapter, and should be read as such, but who am I to stop you from catching up?  What follows is the story of one Marzipan Ridner, a young trans girl aching for the fulfillment of the holiday season.  When a mysterious wooden Advent calendar shows up she opens the first door, and finds herself whisked away to a world-tree of contrasting deities and binding bureaucracy.  She has less than a month to find someone willing to be her spiritual patron, but the denizens of the tree don’t seem very hospitable…

Twenty-four Days of Ringworm and Religion

by

Blaine Arcade

On the First Day

The little box she held in the pocket of her torn jacket once contained a three dollar ring with a glass stone. To Marzipan Ridner that was jewelry, finery. It meant the box it came in was fancy, suitable as a coffin for her latest sacrifice to the pagan gods of the creek in her backyard. It was less of a backyard and more unusable land adjacent to the unlivable land her house was parked on, but its thin leafless trees and howling winds would serve the purposes of the ritual well enough. Continue reading

Big-Saw-in-Law

Glassy eyes, gaping mouths, matted fur…  Sports mascots are supposed to be fun, but if you see them in the wrong light you can feel a jolt of fear.  What if they weren’t just a joke, as alive as anything else, with their own instincts and hungers?

Big-Saw-In-Law

by

Blaine Arcade

The Kleinbury High Spinners were up three games that season so far, so morale had improved in the neighborhood. Perhaps enough that he could return uneventfully, which was what Kevin Woods tried that Saturday afternoon. He was never the biggest football fan, more of a baseball guy as he always told people, but his son Matt was on the team. Continue reading