(back to part one)
Burn the Handful
The parliament building, which housed the Shoulders of Government, was made out of an old trunk and kept in the highest residential area of the barn: the hayloft. It was fed with several elevators of varying construction as well as by trained birds and their riders. Many of the birds were reassigned as security that day, and so the lip of the loft was covered with the saddled feathery creatures, their beaks making the line look like a living fence of spikes. Continue reading
(back to part one)
Knead the Handful
Forty Myrmidons marched across the walls of Minimil after a hard day’s work. Marching sideways was possible for them, as long as they stayed on all fours, thanks to the clasping hooks on the wrists and ankles of their exoskeletons. Their progress would’ve been extremely slow if not for the divot network.
It was invisible from a distance, which in Minimil was anything greater than two meters. Up close it could be seen as nothing more than even rows of gouge marks in the old wood of the barn walls. Their purpose was to provide footholds to any and all arthropod citizens capable of wall-crawling, the most numerous of which were the Myrmidons. Continue reading
(back to part one)
Spread the Handful
The innkeeper thought she rose plenty early to start preparing breakfast for her handful of guests, but when she stepped down from her quarters into the tavern she found it transformed by makeshift houseplants, created by an even earlier bird.
Delicious was roaming about, watering them with single droplets, using a can lifted from the dead garden’s piled tools. She hummed a tune all the while, but by the time she made a complete lap the gnome couldn’t help but sing a verse.
“-I long to see the girl I left behind meee!” When she stopped to breathe she noticed Miss Marood. “Oh, I’m sorry! Did I wake you?” Continue reading
The small have their own country, and it fits in a barn! The place is called Minimil, and it is home to Lilliputians, Shakespearian fairies, and the angels and devils of the shoulder that help you make all your decisions. Minimil doesn’t yet know it, but it is under attack from an elite team of scoundrels in its gutters, threatened into service by an unknown entity. They will sabotage the tiny government, to keep their heads and achieve their wildest dreams.
This is the second in a trilogy, though each novella tells its own whole story. To get caught up please check out the original: The Challenging Handful.
The Left Challenging Handful
Pinch the Handful
Typically a man of his stature would have no trouble moving through tight spaces. At only fifteen centimeters tall there were several carved conch shells among the furniture in his palace that were positively roomy, but this welcome, if that’s what it was, was far from that.
He was squeezed front and back by musty wood, the only way to orient himself being the various splinters poking the capitals on the map of his body. The predicament was made all the tighter by the finery he rarely took off: a crown of fused amber glass, shoulder pads of the same, a layered cape of blue and white like ocean waves lapping at the sand, and the decorated saber sheath on his hip. 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
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