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Uncertain fantasy

Story no. 51! I had to take a brief hiatus to work on an illustration for Lackington’s issue 18, which should be released sometime this month. I was very excited both about the watercolor I finished and the story which inspired it, so I am very much looking forward to having everyone see it! Besides that, there is also cow art.

As before, if you want to catch up on this story, you can read parts onetwothreefour, and five.

If you’d like to support this project, I have a Patreon! $1/month gets you art process posts; $3/month gets you extra stories and illustrations. There are also links to my Kofi and Paypal on the right-hand side of the page. 


 

The magic that rushed forth out of the human as it shouted – from its mouth, sure, but also from its hands, eyes, and curiously, its left ear – formed a thin skin between us and the pressure of the whispering. The onslaught of hostile magic from the voices of the dead sparked and slapped against the barrier, turning it various nauseating colors.

The human took another deep breath and the power of the mummies shoved it back toward us, wrapping the membrane tight against our faces. This seemed like the sort of thing that would be a problem for the human, so I wriggled my way over its shoulder and put my elbow up against the magic near its nose. A bit of pressure, and I was able to make a fist-sized opening; a bit more more peeled the magic away from its lips.

It shouted again, this time a little louder and a little longer, and the bubble expanded. This time when it ran out of air, it threw the little book up in front of its face, sending a shock wave of light out into the room.

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Story no. 50. That seems momentous, somehow. I’m finally getting a bit of a schedule going in my free mornings, which of course doesn’t mean more regular output here, but it MIGHT mean more regular output here.

You can read parts onetwothree, and four of this story to catch up.

Illustration to follow; I’m still working on the magician for part three.

If you’d like to support this project, I have a Patreon! $1/month gets you art process posts; $3/month gets you extra stories and illustrations. There are also links to my Kofi and Paypal on the right-hand side of the page (emoji arrow here).


The human eyeballed me, its lips pressed together in an iron line. “I begin to suspect, microscopic magicum,” it said frostily, “that you are not dealing entirely in good faith with me.”

With that, it spun on its heel and strode off toward the blurry house, which was coming into sharper focus by the moment.

I skidded after it, feeling rather indignant. Of course I hadn’t told everything I know about Aunt Thompson—half of what I know is laughable, the other categorically unbelievable, and all the most important bits can’t be voiced in a human tongue—but I’d truly only just thought about Bill at that moment. Nothing against the fellow—solidarity between fellow gremlins and all—but he’s always been a gray smudge of nothing. Aunt Thompson’s pulled him out of her ear before without noticing. Once he got stuck under the cheese grater in Mr. Jenkins’ kitchen for a month, and only the arrival of a large round of cheddar smuggled in from the Blue Earth saved him from oblivion.

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Story no. 49. THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES. The last three weeks have involved two new jobs, a housing search (now concluded with a one-year lease signed), and a lot of existential dread, thus the delay. I am mildly optimistic that things will get more regular soon. I made good progress on the illustration for part three when I had a friend over for a painting party this Saturday, so you can check out some WIP photos on my Instagram.

llustration to follow. You can read parts onetwo, and three of this story while I paint furiously.

If you’d like to support this project, I have a Patreon! $1/month gets you art process posts; $3/month gets you extra stories and illustrations. There are also links to my Kofi and Paypal on the right-hand side of the page, if that’s more your style. 


 

In Lathustra, a door hidden in the wallpaper would almost certainly lead into an even smaller worlda fold inside a bit of lint shoved in your coat pocket, if you will. The most notorious of these is a cubby behind a mirror Mr. Jenkins has over his dresser, which can tip you into a fragment of reality where everyone you know is sitting in a train station wearing a bowler hat and eating a jelly donut.

In this pocket world, however, the dusty passage beyond the little door didn’t seem particularly magical. I could feel spell fragments stuck to the boards here and there that must have fallen off previous users of the corridor, but the wood itself smelled perfectly ordinary, if a bit rotten.

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Story no. 48. This one is rapidly becoming far more involved than I intended. Drat. Whatever, I’m running with it. 

Astute fans and observers will notice that I have not yet put up the podcast episode for this week (yes, I know, shame on me, shame shame shame.) That is because I wanted to read this story, such that the podcast listeners can have a continuous experience! So look for that recording later today or tomorrow. 

Illustration to follow. In the meantime, you can read parts one and two of this story.

As always: If you’d like to support this project, I have a Patreon! $1/month gets you art process posts; $3/month gets you extra stories and illustrations.


woes of aunt thompson THREE small copy

The valley grew colder and damper as we followed Aunt Thompson down the path. The gables and spires of the houses in the valley rose ever higher over our heads. I tried to work out if it was just the change in perspective that was making them look like that, or if the houses were actually growing. (That’s the kind of bullshit that houses in Lathustra get up to, anyway.)

The stony path turned into a stony road and then into a slippery cobblestone street that cut its way between dense rows of houses. Down this low, the bricks were blackened with soot or mud or something else equally unpleasant. Bill’s not terribly good with regular physics, and he couldn’t keep his claws beneath him on the slick paving. After he’d fallen for the sixth time, Aunt Thompson picked him up and stuffed him under her arm.

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Story no. 47. Both the story and the illustration are pretty involved this week, which is why they took a while to get up. Pretty happy with the results, though. 

You can purchase a print of this story’s illustration on my Society6 page

If you’d like to support this project, I have a Patreon! $1/month gets you art process posts; $3/month gets you extra stories and illustrations.


the rose maze signature copy small

“Hel-lo! We are here to make! You! Over!

John’s head jerked up from the rose bush.

There was no one in front of him.

He wiped a hand across his forehead, creating a little rivulet of sweat that coursed down his temple. The headache that had been growing since the sun swung overhead pulsed at the back of his skull. He slowly twisted his head to one side, and then the other. The smell of slowly-burning flesh caught his nose; he’d sweated off his sunblock.

The rose maze was still empty of people.

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Story no. 44. RIGHT OKAY. I went to the Victoria & Albert Museum today, and I took ALL THE PICTURES of decorative motifs, so hopefully I am inspired to catch up on illustrations SOON.


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There were only three of them left now. Isaac had, presumably, encountered a police patrol during his last foraging mission. He’d gone out, but he had not come back. The military police had been shooting anyone they found in the quarantine zone on sight for weeks now. They’d seen Obie get shot; he’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time when they military had done one of their first clean-up operations. Cilian had a wound go septic, and Megs—well, they were less sure about what had happened to Meg, but it hadn’t been good.

Harry’s death had been the worst. He’d gone out on the river in the night. Someone had seen some fish, and none of them had eaten anything fresh for months. He’d been desperate, greedy, and no one could blame him. Whatever contagion spread the fever must had gotten to him out there. Maybe it was a mosquito, or some sort of amoeba in the water. They couldn’t take the body out of the apartment building, either, once he’d thrashed himself into a cortical hemorrhage. Some of the other bands had taken to burning apartment buildings if they had suspicions that someone infected was hiding inside.

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