Story no. 34. Yay! I’m glad to be back!

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monster movie small

Black screen. LOW SINGING is heard in a young man’s voice, in strong dialect. The sound of wind rises and gradually overpowers his words with a LONG, HIGH WHISTLING.

Fade up. A SHEPHERD sits alone in a clearing in the middle of a deep forest, surrounded by dense trees covered in vines. This is not a natural forest, but one where strange creatures and nightmares live. The shepherd is young but looks exhausted. The ground is covered in patchy snow. His head is bowed over the wet, still body of a wolf, or something that could be a wolf if not looked at too closely. It has too many legs and too many eyes. His shirt hangs over a nearby branch, and his bare chest is splattered with dark liquid.

Cut to his face in profile. He breathes deeply, and his breath makes steam in the frigid air.

We pan down his body to see a knife, a plain blade with a re-wrapped hilt, lying on his thigh. It drips onto the snow.

We cut to his face again; he presses his lips together and leans forward, and we hear the sound of the KNIFE CUTTING INTO FLESH as he starts to skin the wolf.


Khirkara profoundly regretted taking this job. He had a degree. He had spent five years and untold sleepless nights for that damn piece of paper, and for what? So he could play some sort of historical yes-man to a megalomaniac making a psychedelic movie rendition of a fairy tale?

He ought to be studying for a professorship. He ought to be a visiting scholar at some foreign university, or at the very least Caillon. (Hell, he wasn’t proud. If the history department at Eilarao would have taken him, he’d have gone. At least it was far away.)

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Story no. 30. Progress! And 3/30 for April, and this time it’s actually still April 3rd even in Switzerland!

Beatrice saw the man with the glasses and the shaved head again a week later. She refused to admit to herself that she had deliberately called Mr. Billings with questions about her contract that could only be resolved in person so that she could wander the UCL campus hopefully.

But her embarrassment withered when she saw him across the yard. “Hullo! Excuse me! Sir!”

The moment he caught sight of her his whole body seemed to expand. “Oh! It is you . . . ! The woman from the, er, the – “

“The toilet, yes.” Beatrice stopped in front of him, gasping, and realized she’d been running. “Pardon – “

“My name is Khirlaeon,” he said, bowing. “Erabach Khirlaeon. Do you want to shake hands as well? I felt very stupid when I realized we had not exchanged names.”

“Shaking hands is nice – I did as well – my name’s Beatrice B. Smithwick,” she said, holding out a hand and laughing.

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Story no. 17. It still counts as Wednesday’s, because it’s Wednesday in. . . part of. . . the U.S.! 

Mummy had picked a really spectacular day for all this, Beatrice thought, leaning her aching head on the steering wheel. Her eyes burned and her throat ached. After she had driven away from the house she had pulled into the car park of a petrol station and wept for a full hour. Her head pounded with dehydration and misery.

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Story no. 11.


The train ride to Disreka’s village was a long one. Agbet’s face assumed the expression of grave contentment that so enraged Cemberin when he saw it on his father’s face. It was a Cathdari mannerism that he had never been able to master, this ability to keep every thought he had from running across his cheek muscles in spasms.

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Story no. 5. My deepest apologies for the delay! In the in-between time I have started classes at EPFL, and unsurprisingly I have been wildly busy. At least my computer has resumed working for the time being.

This will be only a two-parter.

At least Agbet’s boarding school town had a train station.

Cembarin repeated this to himself as he rang the bell again. The shutters over the ticket window remained closed.

Having a station meant that you had trains passing through more than twice a week. A train station meant you could leave—go to the next town! go to Caillon, even!—at virtually any time, without having to call Tuga Kadescher and beg her to let you sleep in the spare room over the garage on Thursday night until you could catch the Saturday morning train that buzzed through the platform at eleven-oh-five. With a train station in town, you certainly didn’t have to swallow your pride and beg your father to let you borrow the car, and find yourself walking twenty miles in a state of numb outrage when he squinted past you and said he didn’t think that was a very good idea and why didn’t you go down to the family shrine and pray on it a bit? Read More

Story no. 2, with an illustration to follow tonight.

The week after Anushka killed herself was a terrible one at the school. At first all the teachers were supposed to pretend that they didn’t know, and in fact there was an awkward period between when she didn’t sign in Tuesday morning and about five hours after the body was found that no one really did know what happened, whether she had been murdered or had an accident or run off to Gagnesk—

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