Pantry Castle Salamander (finale)

(back to part one)

(reading time: 42 minutes)

Peanut Sprouts

The daylight came as it always had, despite Wilmot not feeling ready for it. When the towels had lost all their heat they were merely damp; he threw them off like wet leaves. There was much activity just outside of his room, but none of it was panicked, just the excitement one would expect for the finale of the Chairman’s Banquet.

His stomach churned and made a sound. He thanked the culinary gods for leaving his needs and desires intact. Whatever madness plagued his mind would have to be held back until after the competition; then he was free to go exactly as insane as he pleased.

First they had to crown a winner, and Wilmot Barclay had to record it. When he emerged he left as much of the previous night as he could wrapped up in the heavy towels and put a smile on his face. He was one of the first ones to his seat. Continue reading

Pantry Castle Salamander (part one)

Wilmot Barclay is a culinary explorer traveling the world to help define the cuisine of his fledgling country: Liberia.  He thinks he has tasted it all until he lands on a mysterious island off the coast of Japan, harboring all the ingredients of the world within an incredible castle.  Earth’s greatest cooking competition is just about to begin there, but some of what’s on offer is leaving a most suspicious aftertaste.

(reading time: 1 hour, 25 minutes) (reading time for entire novella: 2 hours, 7 minutes)

Pantry Castle



Blaine Arcade

Jollof Rice

Countless words are lost in the ecstasy of a good meal, their structure overpowered by much more ancient and instinctive sounds. Exquisite becomes ehhnnn. Scrumptious becomes sfffshh. Magnificent into Mfff! In this way it can be extraordinarily difficult for a master of cuisine to receive helpful criticism. They know their work is good, so good it can’t be put into words, and that prevents them from progressing in their passion.

This presents a culinary ceiling. The barrier where words fail, where the tongue cannot be tamed enough for syllables, was the threshold Wilmot Barclay set for himself. He would need to perfect a number of dishes that made words fail, and they had to fail in a room full of equally fresh diplomats and statesman… but he was getting ahead of himself. Continue reading

Jesus has the Wheels

(reading time: 25 minutes)

Jesus has the Wheels


Blaine Arcade

It was rare to see such a nice car in Watershed, and even rarer to see one driving with purpose, never stopping once for the driver to swear at their GPS until it got them out of that mosquito-infested and mosquito-invested bog that called itself a town.

Tom knew cars, on account of a few years working as a mechanic, and he couldn’t recall if he’d ever even worked on such a fine piece of machinery. He expected it to drive on by, as nobody sitting in that sort of thing could have any business with him, but it stopped, for the first time in days, at the foot of his gravel driveway. Continue reading

Chat-your-own-Adventure #23: Greasepin’s Hard Bargain

Author’s Note: This story was written live on stream with the audience bidding tokens (earned while watching) to determine the path of the story.  The underlined phrases in the choice of three were the winning pathways.  Stop by if you’d ever like to participate in our interactive fiction.

Tusked Hog Mask             Slobbering Mantis Mask              Shark-Hound Mask

For five days my body has not been my own. I don’t suspect it will ever be returned to me. Every human has a natural instinct to avoid housekeeping. I was very good at avoiding it, especially since I lived alone in a house I inherited from my parents. The living area was sanitary enough, with no visible layers of dust as long as you didn’t check between the cupboards or under the couch. Continue reading

Twitch Stream Story: The Lurker in the Laundry

Prompt: A boy hiding in the attic of his family’s old house finds an intricately carved wooden laundry hamper and discovers it has a genie inside!

His family didn’t own anything nice. His parents were trapped in the nineties, obsessed with colorful plastic, and they never bought each other jewelry or fancy dishware. They lived in a small house, hoarding their money, waiting for the inevitable car crash or cancer that would suck it away. Continue reading

Chat-your-own-Adventure #15: The Hog does Birthdays

Author’s Note: This story was written live on stream with the audience bidding tokens (earned while watching) to determine the path of the story.  The underlined phrases in the choice of three were the winning pathways.  Stop by if you’d ever like to participate in our interactive fiction.

Seedy POV                          Spoiled Rotten POV                               Sky Writer POV

It was the autumn. My sixteenth birthday approached rapidly on the horizon. As the daughter of one of the wealthiest families in all of the town of Tinstar, my party was to be quite the event. Not only would it certainly get written up in the local paper’s society and culture section, but my birthday, as it did every year, fell upon the night prior to Halloween. Continue reading

Twitch Stream Story: Furious Claws of the Salted Caramel

Prompt: The old master of martial arts entered Kowloon. Desperately he sought his star pupil; together only they could close the inter-dimensional portal to the frosted caramel ‘ice cream demons’ of a new dark aeon.

Kowloon had gotten worse since the last time he’d seen it. Master Ten had been off in the western world, tricking foolish white men out of their money by feigning weakness and then besting them in combat. He had planned only to return to China upon the bending of his back that would undoubtedly come with his imminent sixties, but he had received a request he could not refuse. Continue reading

The End Times were Published in 1979

A young lonely man distracts himself from his woes by collecting, hoarding in the eyes of others, vintage science fiction and fantasy publications, but there’s something moving around in his stacks, taunting him, demanding he reveal where he has hidden one very specific story…

(reading time: 1 hour, 7 minutes)



The world rejoiced when Dr. Kimberly Goldenrod invented Mannapop, her patented genetically-tinkered super corn that could grow in the harshest environments.  World hunger was all but solved as her genius took root across the globe and fed a generation.  Its kernels were as big as beach balls… and flavorful too!  The delicious miracle so distracted everyone that they didn’t notice it growing in every corner, every empty lot, every forest, and even between the kelp on the ocean floor. Continue reading