The Moneyed and the Mystic (Part One)

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.

(reading time: 42 minutes) (reading time for entire novella: 3 hours, 19 minutes)

The Moneyed and the Mystic


Blaine Arcade


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

Collapse of Colduvai: Part Seven

(reading time: 1 hour, 18 minutes)

The Unstable

What do you mean I can’t go in? It’s the grove; it belongs to all of us.” Mr. Jon-Luc didn’t have the energy for a more spirited argument. His back was bent from a day of walking, the sun was already behind the spire, and he needed a place to sleep for the night. The cherry grove seemed perfect. The crickets could sing him to sleep and he could curl up under a blanket of leaves. The thought of it was heavenly, rolling his weary eyes up into his head, but they were pulled back when the argument continued. Continue reading

Collapse of Colduvai: Part Six

(reading time: 1 hour, 12 minutes)

One Queen to Another

The harvesters seemed to have necks made of leather. Day after day they went out into the blazing sun and picked cherries, counting on nothing but the leaves to shade them. Only the elders ever wore hats, and that was more so they could see than be protected from the burning heat. This meant that Keikogile had no way to conceal the glowing cracks on the side of her neck without drawing stares. Continue reading

Collapse of Colduvai: Part Five

(reading time: 1 hour, 34 minutes)

Desperate Splash

The deep crocodile pen was drained and abandoned. Mister Koulsy walked around on the bottom of it, his boots squishing the water plants into the shallow puddles of water and mud left behind. He lifted their stalks with one foot, checking under them for any stragglers. The animals had ranged in size from only fifteen centimeters long to just over nine meters, yet none had been left behind in their exodus. Continue reading

Collapse of Colduvai: Part Four

(reading time: 1 hour, 28 minutes)

Noblest Intentions

The skull of nutcracker man was on the move for the first time in a long while. His services were needed by the Science Authority, needed by the head of it in fact, so a young scholar had been sent to fetch the ancient cranium from its cozy museum home near the bones of queens. He was wheeled, safe within his glass box, through the corridors and down to the lower levels of the spire. It was in an elevator that the young scholar first spoke to him. Continue reading

Collapse of Colduvai: Part Three

(reading time: 1 hour, 26 minutes)

Banished to the Basement

Commander Begumisa returned to the grass-comber at the very edge of the order she’d given Genomon. Just five minutes more and they would’ve returned without her, assuming her death. She came back with her hound stick and no physical clues to Laetoli’s fate. The whole of the expeditionary force watched her slow walk across the barrens. When she got to the grass she sat on the edge of the comber without a word, simply snapping her fingers until someone gave her a canteen. She took two large swigs and then poured a third over the back of her hung head. Eventually they could not wait any longer. Continue reading

Collapse of Colduvai: Part Two

(reading time: 1 hour, 24 minutes)

Omen of Laetoli

Seventy men and women in brown uniforms moved across the grasslands, now far outside Colduvai. No warfare had been seen in decades, so the military style of the clothing was only cosmetic. The fabric was soft and breathable; it was easy to fold back a sleeve or a leg and turn it into something more casual. Colduvai hadn’t required a shaved head for the Peace Authority in generations, so most of them couldn’t wear the tiny hats that came with the uniform, instead using them to gather nuts from any trees the grass-comber passed. Continue reading

Collapse of Colduvai: Part One


As time plodded along the artifices of man crumbled, leaving only one city.  Colduvai, still standing in a region of Africa near human genesis, survives because of the might and devastating beauty of Queen Magthwi.  She stands as the center of the world.

Something lurks, not daring to show its face to her, but it eats at her kingdom nonetheless.  Citizens are disappearing, or worse, giving up, even dying from the anxiety of sitting in their own homes.

The queendom resists, but it does not appear they can hold out against the mysterious scourge.  The diplomatic envoy doesn’t return.  The zookeeper goes mad and unleashes his flock.  A traitorous girl dabbles in the royal fluids, engineered by generations long past, and seeks a throne of her own.  Still the queen stands and does her best to cradle a thrashing people until the end.

(reading time: 1 hour, 7 minutes) (reading time for entire novel: 10 hours, 30 minutes)

Collapse of Colduvai


Blaine Arcade


The greatest mistake life ever made was convincing itself that only parts of the Earth were home. It grew bodies that could only swim, crawl, or fly. Already the error was made, the Earth split into the three kingdoms of land, sea, and air. Life had missed Earth as medium, as separate only from the empty cold of space. Continue reading