When one bothers to look

She had never thought she would have a funeral for a cat. She was wrong.

Perhaps it was because she hadn’t grown up with one. She hadn’t wanted one. Oli had just shown up one day and that was it. She hadn’t asked for him, she hadn’t made him stick around. He had chosen to himself, for whatever reason.

There had to be a reason. She felt this now. When she never would have thought an animal to have a reason before. Oli understood things she couldn’t comprehend. And it was understanding, it wasn’t random.

Had he been old when he first came to her? She didn’t know. She only knew that after the first time she actually let him in the house, he curled up in a corner and went to sleep for the last time. Oli had been wandering around her house for six years.

And just like that.

She had a funeral.


His whole world was yellow.

The sun in the morning, the cabs that ran by the window, even his wallpaper. All yellow. Nothing could have prepared him to wake up to a pair of eyes as blue as the distant sea.

He nearly fell off the bed, just managing to catch himself. Mouth opened, ready to say or scream or anything, when she placed a finger over his lips. Somehow that managed to catch all of his sound inside of his body.

“I need a favour of you,” diana said.

How he knew her name was diana (no capitalization), he couldn’t begin to imagine. All he could do was nod.

“I need some of your colour. You have a lot of it. I need some.”

Still struck dumb, he nodded, not sure really what she was asking of him.

When she left, the sky was blue.

Emine (pt 2)

“I’m sorry,” Emine’s travelling companion said, after proffering water to help Emine swallow. “Did no one tell you what we do at the Heights?”

Emine shook her head, wordless.

“We run things for the humans that live there. Sometimes the dragons forget about some of our needs, so it’s good to have other humans around. Make sure nothing is forgotten.”

All Emine knew was that the country was very large. So large that she had never confronted the flying owners of it. It hadn’t occurred to her this would change. “We take care of people?”

“Yes. Humans tend to take one of three roles. You’ll be joining me down in the town, where most of the humans are. We run the place, really, no matter what anyone says. Then there are the Unbonded, who live up in the Alcoves. They are the ones we really have to watch over, because they have to do all of the things the dragons need.”

Emine nodded, digesting this new information. “What’s the third group?”

“Those are the Bonded. Those who have been chosen by a particular dragon. I believe a lot of people know them as dragon riders, because they are allowed travel on dragonback more often than the Unbonded.”

Swallowing, not food, but back the saliva produced by her nerves, Emine gripped what was left of the jerky in front of her. “I’m in the town then?”

“Yes, you’ll be in town. With me. My name is Sanni. Will you be all right with that?”

To be honest, Emine knew she didn’t have a choice. But Sanni still seemed really nice. Emine nodded and tried not to think about the Heights. They would be there in a month.

Everyone has a mad scientist

Should I explain what we are going to do today?
Failure to comprehend is irrelevant, you shall become of use,
if just your hands, not your head, there is much to produce
with it just there. Please, don’t try to hard to get in the way –
I have found the best place for you

Now watch out for the little details!
Importance is as importance does, you shall find yourself
becoming important in a different way if you knock against that shelf,
so do keep in mind what you put upon those scales –
I have found the best place for you.

Can you hand me over the vial there?
Do not hesitate, yes or no alone will suffice,
because if you cannot I don’t need to ask twice
to find something more useful than the open air –
I have found the best place for you.

Curious as to what all of this experiment consists?
Oh, it’s delicious, I think even you might admit it
though you may have some difficultly unless time doesn’t permit
and you find your assistance at the bottoms of the lists –
the best place for you?
I thought you knew.
Now. Follow through!


The person behind the papers was a twelve year old girl. Donald didn’t know how Lori managed, but he felt extraordinarily uncomfortable approaching her. Strange older men and all that. Not that he was old. He felt like it was just yesterday he was twelve. Well, sixteen. Sixteen was closer.

The girl didn’t hesitate either, seeing her poster in Lori’s hands. “Marie! Have you seen Marie?”

“You made these?” Lori asked. Her voice was kind, she was obviously good with kids. Donald was good at making their fast food, but that was about it.

The girl nodded. “Yeah. No one else seems to miss her, not even Dad.”

“Are you… related?” Donald asked. The girl had green streaked in her hair, much like how Marie’s picture had blue. But not the same race, definitely not. This girl was Asian. Didn’t mean one wasn’t adopted or something.

She shook her head. “No… she was paying rent to stay in the garage, now that Dad doesn’t have a car. But he doesn’t care that she’s gone. He says that she just wandered off. I know she didn’t wander off.”

Lori nodded. “We’re looking for her too. Do you think we could talk to your father about it?”

That was a relief to Donald. He knew how to deal with adults. They were all hiding something.

Too many axe-men

Nobody actually understood what was happening, but Mark and Tom agreed that it was something worth running away from. Rather quickly.

Tom had long since stopped thinking that Mark was hiding the truth from him. After all, how could he continue to hide something like this? The axe man looked the same as he did when they were teenagers. Except now Tom was in his mid twenties and Mark coming on thirty. So it couldn’t be the same person.

He was doing the same thing though. Mark pulled him around a corner and they caught their breath.

“I swear,” Tom managed to say, “if I thought suit fitting was going to result in this, I’d probably have told you to get another best man.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t have been so early,” Mark replied.

Yeah, none of the others were going to believe this, that was for sure.

What waits

Something was waiting for Riley in the dark.

“That’s not fair,” they said. “You know I don’t have good vision in dark places. Get out where I can see you.”

The form shifted, but didn’t acquiesce. Whether from shyness or stubbornness, Riley would just have to figure out themself.

“Look. I can’t help you if you don’t let me get a good look at you. You know?” It wasn’t like they needed to get home or anything, before their parents could see whatever their brother had gotten up to in the meantime.

A hand reached the very edge of the shadows, beckoning them closer. It dripped ash.
Steeling themself, Riley stepped in.

and each day, and each day a new typhoon will come in

They tempted her to ask, “at what point did this seem like a good idea?”

She knew the answer already. Three beers, ten minutes, and one unconscious person ago. She pushed herself off the floor, ignoring the fact that everything was going up and down. Of course it was going up and down. That’s what happened on the water.

Another fist was thrown. She stumbled to the side – both because of the bouncing waves and from the thought that she might fall to the ground again, but so would he. Maybe he wouldn’t get back up and that would leave her with only the entire bar minus two people in a fight.

The door stood still halfway across the room. It was really taking her forever to get there.
Stupid boat bars.

Emine (pt 1)

When she was ten years old, her family sent her to the Heights.

Emine might have protested more. Or cried aloud. However, at ten years she had long since become aware that she was the latest in a string of children her parents could not afford. While she wondered why they didn’t send away one of her less helpful siblings, she reminded herself that all of her remaining siblings had to be loved more than her. It was only sensible. (Even if she did not know why.)

She sniffled in the back of the cart, as quiet as she could manage. She had kept from crying as her parents bid her farewell. Now on the road, there seemed to be no point.

The woman sitting near her offered her some candy. Emine shook her head. “Sorry. I don’t like sweets.”

With a smile, the woman returned her candy to her pocket and pulled a stick of jerky out of her bag. As Emine chewed on that, the woman told her something she had never thought of. “You’ve come from a remote place. Ever seen a dragon before?”

That was right. The Heights were the centre of everything. The jerky stuck in Emine’s throat.