Manifest of the West (Finale)

The Legend of Broadside Barnaby

Old Thresher the card shark.  Remember him?  I bested his challenge more than a hundred times over and it were way past due for him to give up the location of Broadside Barnaby.  He were the last name left.  With him collected the Manifest would be complete, everyone accounted for in myth, and I could have my pa back.  My family could have the eventual peace that I worked so hard to disrupt. Continue reading

Manifest of the West (Part Three)

That were the story I told my pocket twister.  It weren’t the most heartening, but I think confiding in him gave him some strength.  He shook off most of that water and started looking more like his old self and less like a cloud constipated with rain.

Now you know whose soul I were collecting all them names for.  I knew Pa weren’t at peace.  He were still kept from Heaven and Hell in the ropes of Knot-eye, and the only way to get him back or get him to my mother were to obey the will of the Laudgod and eventually be rewarded.  I had to be the man he told me to be, to conquer and dominate the West so thoroughly that nothing could stop me.  Continue reading

Manifest of the West (Part Two)

The Tangent of Sara’s Sewing Spiders

I told you about my mother’s dress shop.  I didn’t tell you it were driven out of business by the peculiarest of competitors.  My mother, bless her glorious soul in Heaven, were even kind enough to bring the woman who owned the venture a pie as a welcoming gift.  Sure it were blackberry pie, not her finest pie by miles, but you can’t expect saintly behavior from a shrewd businesswoman such as her. Continue reading

Manifest of the West (Part One)

The Hellmouth

There I were, standing before the open mouth of the grand devil’s kingdom… one of its mouths anyway.  A hot breath full of ashes descended on me.  It were the first one I’d ever set my own eyes on and it weren’t what I expected.  The mouth part of the name were supposed to be figurative.  It were a disgusting word representing a gate so people would think even less of it than they already did.  Except it weren’t so figurative. Continue reading

The Public Domain (Finale)

A House-boat on the Styx

A protest raged outside the home of Bill Smithers.  A hundred boots stomped up and down on the sidewalk in rhythm.  Bottles, eggs, and fruit sailed over the hedges.  The crowd would’ve preferred rotten fruit, but when there’s an apple or a pear on your page it usually came out looking ready to sit in a bowl for a portrait instead of mushy and covered in maggots.  Cardboard signs waved in the air or hung around the neck by rope, their messages written sloppily in big splotchy swipes, which made it impossible to tell if they were written in haste or written with the ink from an open wound.  Everyone shouted the same sorts of things on the signs. Continue reading

The Public Domain (Part Three)

The Ticking Tunnel

Tick tock tick tuck tick teck tick tick tick tick tack.  Every other tick sounded a little bit different.  She was starting to hear variation in something mechanically identical and she knew it probably wasn’t the best sign for her sanity.  Tai Chen forced her eyes open.  She still couldn’t see anything.  Tickticktickticktickticktickticktick.  She hopped to her feet, banging her knees on a groaning pipe in the process.  Something fluttered against her nose.  She smacked herself in the face to stop it and came away with a note written on lined paper. Continue reading