|Sarcasm vs. Brawn|
CaterpillarsHairy travelerCaterpillars by Leonca
fortune seeking indoors. Does
concrete sprout leaves? Squish.
Don't Talk About Your SisterBe playful, but don’t overdo it. Speak sweetly. Share the best portion of your meals.Don't Talk About Your Sister by Leonca
Don’t stare at his skin or eyes. He can’t help being cursed any more than you.
Don’t talk about your sister.
Nawth held still while Mother turned her head this way and that, washing her face with rapid licks. Her ears twitched back and her lips withdrew in a tense grimace, signaling the waning reserves of her patience.
Dirt-smeared Tawth pounced on Father, who lay sprawled on his belly by the den entrance. She bounced away before he could grab her and bumped into Mother.
Nawth winced in sympathy for her twin’s mistake.
Mother seized Tawth by the scruff. Her lips retracted in a silent snarl and she flicked her tongue over her nose. She was large for a female ghoul, with a powerful jaw and fangs almost as impressive as any male’s.
Tawth tilted her ears back and offered a silly smile.
Mother glared until she lowered her eyes, and then let go. “Stop trying
|You know how they say that when you're dying, you're supposed to go toward the light? Well, when I thought I was dying, the light was moving further and further away.|
The Charred JungleHe went to sleep a man and awoke a jaguar. The feline form felt like coming home, and as soon as his eyes opened he could see that he was indeed back where he belonged. Sunlight filtered through the canopy of leaves above, splashing across his mottled coat in warm patches. He took in a breath of humid air, held it, savored it.The Charred Jungle by Leonca
Nothing here but the buzz of insects and the call of monkeys. The time of searching had come. He swished his long tail back and forth behind him as he padded across the damp soil, reassured by its presence that he had entered that state of twilight reality where answers could be found.
His pink nose twitched, drawing in the jungle's rich scents. Under the earthy smell of decaying leaves was another, a distress call sent up by nature which he must answer. He followed it until he found the clearing.
It was a lifeless place, black and smoky but no longer dangerous after the passing of the fire. The game trail he trod opened into it accompanied by a pair of decoratio
Soul FlyUncle Levi and Auntie Gertrude and Katie didn’t miss Gramma. They didn’t even think about her until her Soul Fly Day came. Their flies were silver with big sparkly opal eyes, but Momma said the wood ones Grampa carved for us were just as good.Soul Fly by Leonca
It was my first Soul Fly Day ever. Momma got me a new black dress and told me it was all right to cry. Katie’s dress had white ruffles and silver flies stitched into it. She pointed at my wood fly and called us poor.
There were so many people there was barely enough room for the shaman to get to Gramma. Everyone got real quiet so we could hear him say words I didn’t understand. Gramma’s Soul Fly came out of her mouth and started flying over us. It was like a paper doll, only just black. It landed on my head and Momma cheered and we sang Soul Fly Day songs. Katie whined about how she should have got the blessing because her fly was so pretty.
And that’s how my painting won first prize at the fair.
Naga RajaKing Cobra returned to the jungle bearing the scent of milk and sandalwood. He searched for his nearest subject, and found Spitting Cobra.Naga Raja by Leonca
“My festival has ended,” he said. “Gather my subjects.”
Spitting Cobra bowed his head. “Namaste, Raja” he said, and then set off on his duty.
King Cobra coiled before the entrance to his termite mound burrow and waited.
He felt the vibrations made by his subjects before he saw them. Snakes of every length and color poured out of the undergrowth to take their place before his throne. All were accounted for except that most arrogant of constrictors, Python, who never responded to the summons. King Cobra had publicly banished him for his disrespect years ago, but in secret he hoped the traitor would regain his senses and come crawling back someday.
King Cobra rose above the gathering and spread his hood. Fear and reverence flashed in unblinking eyes. “Another Nag Panchami gone,” he said.
The OneSnierk gaped up at the swirly blue on white letters which boasted the existence of the Misty Mountain Muffin Top Sweet Shoppe. A fly buzzed by his face. A fur-tipped ear flicked at it, doing the job his mesmerized brain forgot to assign to his hands. If the Misty Mountain Muffin Top Sweet Shoppe were a living organism, its immune system would be fine tuned to ward off customers such as Snierk. Unhindered by such preemptive measures, he stretched to his tip-toes, gripped the doorknob, and let himself in.The One by Leonca
There were several humans between him and the counter. He took his place in line behind an old woman whose form was indefinite under heavy layers of clothing. The wait was boring, but that was what humans did in these places, so he waited. He passed the time by using one of his toe claws to scratch funny pictures on the shiny floor.
The old woman reached the counter and made her order in a voice that oozed like syrup. Snierk fought down the growing urge to break something. He peaked aro
Stop Staring at My TeethDearest Marie, I have returned.Stop Staring at My Teeth by Leonca
No more the poor man whom you spurned,
Though poorer looking, your love I earned.
Please stop staring at my teeth.
Lovely woman with gentle hands,
Think not of savage New World lands.
No one in this village understands.
And please stop staring at my teeth.
The cold leaves me distressed
And yet I labor without rest.
How could you be further blessed?
So stop staring at my teeth.
They are different, as am I,
But do not bother asking why.
Just go make me a pie,
And stop staring at my teeth!
Greedy woman, do not take
The choicest morsels that you bake
For this Hunger makes me shake.
Oh please, stop staring at my teeth.
My sweet, I urge you to dismiss
The copper tang left by my kiss.
It was no one you would miss,
So why keep staring at my teeth?
ControlThe feeling came over Bill when he was out checking his trap line in the dying light of a winter evening. Eyes on the back of his head. He knew the wary scrutiny of the deer and the hungry yet restrained gaze of the wolf. This didn’t feel like either. It didn’t belong to this place any more than he did. He would have preferred the wolf.Control by Leonca
He turned around, shook his gun at the reddening sky, and cupped his other hand to his mouth. “I know you’re out there! This is private property! I don’t wanna use this, but you’ll leave me no choice if I catch you hanging around here!”
A soft rustle from somewhere deep enough that the trees obscured his vision. He waited until he felt he was alone again, then trudged through the snow to see what he could learn about the intruder. There were prints made by boots similar to his, though smaller. The thought that he outweighed whoever it was offered little comfort.
He cast one last disgusted look in the direction t
Talking to YourselfWind drove snow over the trees with such force they seemed to step into the distance. The whiteness in the air covered everything until it was as faded as an old scent trail after a rainstorm. The snow was already deep enough to suck in a man’s leg past the knee if he wasn’t wearing snowshoes, but the figure trudging through it was no longer a man.Talking to Yourself by Leonca
Prankster wendigo had given up on snowshoes long ago in favor of simpler footwear. The straps challenged the clumsy fingers of his stolen human body, and he could never figure out how to move in them without tripping. He lurched onward with the tenacity of a wolverine gnawing through an inch of deer skull to get the gooey treat in the center. The pain in his stomach howled to his feet. He gave little thought to their control. His mind was focused on making the most of sensory information diminished by the storm. Sounds and smells were difficult to pinpoint. He almost felt as if the wind were a rival, come to mask the trails of pr
Becoming the TigerOctober 7thBecoming the Tiger by Leonca
Bob Cartman kept a tiger in a cage behind his house. He also had a big Rottweiler that lived on a ten-foot chain in the front of his property, and slept with a loaded shotgun propped against his bed. No one knew if he lived under a constant paranoia of being robbed or if it was the result of an overdose of the natural desire to display his machismo. No one bothered to ask.
The tiger was a massive male of the Siberian variety. In his ever-abundant creativity, Bob had dubbed him Stripes. The dog didn't fare much better. His name was Killer.
Stripes was a friendly cat, when he was in the right mood. Bring him out a piece of chicken and he would come up to the bars, rubbing his face against the cold metal and moaning an enthusiastic greeting. Bob liked to complain that he wasn't vicious enough, that he lacked the killer instinct of a ferocious jungle beast. He found many faults with Stripes in fact, from the cost of feeding to the habit the creature had of keeping him up
Lie to meI smile and I'm all teeth underneath,Lie to me by Leonca
white bones beneath bulbous lips,
careless quips and sinking ships
when something slips.
Hair of the cat that scratched you-
it's never new but always true.
I watched it stew until it grew
into something different.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder
what does the blind man see when he holds her
and tells her his heart smolders
for her face?
Honesty as a policy
is not for me;
I could never see
eye to eye with it.
You can lie to buy my affection.
I will not try to hide my affliction
and you needn't be conflicted
when we can be so happy together.
Bailey's CakeSusan hummed to herself as she set the oven to preheat for Bailey's birthday surprise. OK, so maybe it wasn't going to be much of a surprise with her sitting there watching, but it's the thought that counts, right? She paused in her preparations to lean over and give the black and tan German shepherd a scratch behind its silky soft ears. Bailey panted and thumped her tail against the floor, always eager for more attention.Bailey's Cake by Leonca
Susan thought about her while she greased the cake tin. Ten was a big year for a dog, especially one of Bailey's size. She had been such a good friend for all their years together, it was hard to imagine that someday soon they would be parted prematurely. She couldn't ignore the ever-thickening sprinkling of white hairs that graced the dog's dark muzzle.
No, this is too depressing, she told herself, think of something else. Anything else.
The cake. If she could just focus on that it would drive all those unwanted thoughts away. She looked at the dog bir
|Things that I especially like, whether it is because they are very well done or just because they make me laugh.|
|The eternal work in progress|
1. Name three of your favourite books and tell us a bit about them.
Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett. I love the idea of Death fighting to allow humans to preserve what makes us human. My favorite Discworld character, and probably my favorite book in the series.
Eugene Peterson’s Message translation of the Bible. Really engaging to read alongside a more literal translation.
Wuftoom, by Mary G. Thompson. This is one of the most amazing examples of world-building I’ve ever read. Even though the society you get to know is in many ways unsympathetic, you just want to learn more about them and see how they will adapt to the changes in their world.
2. Name three of your least favourite books.
Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. My Goodreads folder for this one is “Why did I spend money on this?” Folk tales are analyzed to death from a narrow perspective that feels implausible and sucks to fun out of them.
Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier. I found the characters shallow and boring. I was the only one in my class who wanted to see them go to jail for their crimes.
The Thing on the Shore, by Tom Fletcher. This one disappointed me because Fletcher has a great, distinctive style and skillfully builds suspense. Then the characters get progressively more unpleasant and it ends up being one of those “life sucks and then you die” points of view. If I want to make myself depressed I can just watch the news. It takes less time and I can actually learn something.
3. Name some books you've loved since childhood.
Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China, by Ed Young. I discovered this one in the school library in grade school and bought it a few years later. The art is dark, eerie, and beautifully textured.
I did enjoy the Harry Potter series, though my memory isn’t great on the details. My mom read some of those in two days. It’s like her superpower.
The Wolving Time, by Patrick Jennings. An exciting story about a 13 year old werewolf and his family trying to survive during the Middle Ages.
4. Name a book that disappointed you.
Shapes, by Steve Vance, a sequel to his much better werewolf book The Hyde Effect. The first was pure horror, creative and scary. The sequel takes a weird sci-fi turn. At one point a woman is mutated by the shapeshifter virus and melts into an amoeboid shape with her breasts as the only recognizable feature. The heck, Vance?
5. Name a book that surprised you.
Monster, by A. Lee Martinez. I picked this one up at a bookstore because of the title. I usually like to know something about a novel before I buy it, but in this case taking a chance didn’t turn out to be a mistake. Martinez’s fantasy/comedies are goofy fun.
6. Name a favorite graphic novel/ comic/ manga.
Calvin and Hobbs. A fun celebration of weirdness and creativity.
7. Name a favourite non-fiction book.
Gulp, by Mary Roach. From urban legends about butt fat dumplings to a medieval nun who claimed her rear end was possessed by Satan, Roach always has something interesting and bizarre to offer.
8. Name a favourite poetry book.
I haven’t read any poetry books, though I do own a lot of short story anthologies.
9. Name a book you'd like to see made into a movie.
Where the Chill Waits, by T. Chris Martindale. This is one of the most faithful adaptations of the Wendigo myth I’ve seen. No, I still don’t know why most people think a Wendigo is a deer zombie. The story has well placed humor, a bunch of likable characters, and some deeply creepy scenes.
10. What are you reading now?
The Last Continent, by Terry Pratchett. It’s funny, but it has two things that always make a Discworld book slightly lower on the favorites list- the wizards, and references to movies I’m not interested in seeing. Pretty much any wizard beside the Librarian who isn’t given a name just kind of blurs together into a big crowd of whiny and lazy. I do love Rincewind though. Saving the world by running away from things cracks me up.
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It's GourmetThe squid writhed in my hands, its skin flashing from white to violent red. It choked its tentacles up my forearms, its beak gaping open and closed. I slid my thumbs to either side of its voiceless screaming and cracked the thing’s cartilage skull. The squid’s skin faded from red to pink and finally to a lifeless white. I removed my arms from the mess, now just a stack of tentacles on my cutting board, and wiped my bloody arms on my apron. “There’s got to be an easier way.”
“There is.” Yur said beside me. He could have passed for a human—but who really wanted to?
I threw the squid’s body into a bubbling chili that could have stood in for any number of species’ excrements. The fact that I could spot floating artifacts of the previous week’s meals didn’t help the comparison. I snatched a lid and capped off the pot before the squid’s gelatinous body began to
Victory Keep: Chapter 1Edgar stepped into a clearing and found a centaur suckling her child. He threw his hands over his eyes.
'I am terribly sorry, madam!'
'It's all right.'
Her tone was scornful, but with better things to worry about, Edgar did not take it to heart. He uncovered his eyes. She was feeding the child like a mare, not a woman, so he felt no need for embarrassment. He stooped down a little, trying to determine the gender of the young one. As with foals, it was easy enough to tell.
'What a delightful little boy,' he said.
The mother smiled. 'Thank you.'
'Do you mind if I sit down here for a few minutes?'
'I am very tired.'
The centaur made no reply. She stood with arms folded and her back legs slightly apart, gazing out into the forest. Edgar was disappointed. The significance of the situation had not escaped him, and he hoped she would talk to him.
The first thing to do was find somewhere to
The Monster in the TrailerHidden among a jungle of brick, deep along a trail of stone lays a monster in a building with wheels that have never moved. This building is frequented by hundreds of daring visitors all trying to get their moment with the monster. The daring visitors cringe at their forced daily meetings, they hate his gripping tasks, and fight against his deadly ventures. But there he still dwells, waiting, plotting, and thriving for people like me.
It wasn't until the sweltering summer of 2004 that he first cast his red eyes among me. I glared at his balding head, his white teeth, and his crooked smile afraid. I had failed the challenges of the winter and spring and was forced into a meeting with the beast. They said it was to be redeemed, they said it was for my own good but I knew better, no, I thought I knew better.
Twenty-six other victims met him on that sweltering day twenty-six others who couldn't
The Bad SpringerThe Bad Springer
My species is probably best known for being very orderly. Springers, in general, follow rules very well and are somewhat OCD. Most of our professions generally end up falling under soldier, lawmen, or something similar. The origin planet for Springers, Secco, isn't exactly the friendliest place in the world, what with the Morlichs and the twenty foot sandwurms. So with that, Springers are a tough, quick, and moralistic species in the universe.
I guess that makes me the worst Springer in existence.
To be honest, most of it can be chalked up to the fact that I wasn't even born on Secco. I was born on Zarok, a moon base far from the galaxy Secco rested in. Originally it had no atmosphere, but twenty years of complex machines pouring steam and oxygen into the atmosphere had made it livable.
Then one hundred years of peace made it a tourist hotspot.
A sudden thirty yea
Morning TeaMorning Tea.
Sunlight streamed in through the high windows making up three of the sunroom walls. The midmorning light had brought the flowers out; they had opened fully in pastel shades of blue, purple, pink, pure white and soft yellow. With a mothering smile she sat the small watering can down and went into the kitchen to lay out shortbread biscuits on ornate plates and prepare the tea.
That done, Dotti went to her room at the far end of the narrow hallway. She changed into nice dress, pale purple with clean white lace along the hem and bust, and patterned white stockings. Carefully she ran a brush through her hair and sprayed on some product, gently teasing it into place and adding volume with her hand. She had time to check her makeup before there was a knock at the door. Quickly, she selected a pair of shoes from the bottom of the wardrobe and went to answer it.
Smiling, she pulled it open and greeted her visitor. "Please, do come in."
Stepping back, she allowed th
|I will try to offer critiques on a wide variety of things when I have time, but my main focus is likely to be prose.|
Current Residence: Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA|
Favourite genre of music: Classic Rock
Favourite cartoon character: Calvin and Hobbes, David Xanatos, Goliath, Elisa Maza, Anton Sevarius, Jonathan Crane
Personal Quote: The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. (Psalm 28:7)