The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 12

“They have one bargaining chip, and that’s the alliance we want,” Chroma said, examining the vegetables they’d been given. Most were whitish or brown roots served cold, others cooked mushrooms. “That’s an all-or-nothing. Each side loses that bargaining chip as soon as they reject us, or the other side swoops in and takes it. That’s what gives us the power. They can’t deny us our alliance without losing us entirely.” … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 12

The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 11

Chroma held one edge of the tray and spun it lightly counter-clockwise. When the swing had twisted as far as it would go and threatened to spin back the direction it had come, Chroma thrust her hand out to grab it. She scanned the available fruits now in front of her and picked a plump purple one.

“I think the idea is that when you pick a bigger one, you’re less likely to bite off the whole pepper,” Flor told her. “And the game gets steadily spicier as we dwindle down to the small ones.”

“You seem surprisingly fine, Flor,” Chroma commented, “for having nearly died twice in one day.” She took the largest bite of the purple fruit as possible. Her face twisted in pleasure at the peachy taste, quickly turning to curiosity and then to panic. She held a hand to her mouth, as if about to spit something out, but ended up swallowing (both the food and large gulps of air).

More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 11

The Night Panther (Flood Thieves Chapter 7.5)

“The Bloodkoomas have been taken to where that life resides,” the Escopu growled. “If you find them and do not join them, they will kill you. If you do not find them, you will die. I can take you to the, and spare your life. Do you really want to die for mankind when its age will soon catch up to it? Don’t be stupid, Chosen Child. You have been raised to serve the gods and your ancestors, but soon they will all be powerless compared to those who remain alive. You can be a king in the new age. All you have to do is exactly what I say.”

Mawnco’s skin crawled at the Escopu’s words. He refused to even consider the possibility that they were true…except that the Escopu obviously knew where the Bloodkoomas were. … More The Night Panther (Flood Thieves Chapter 7.5)

The Flood Thieves Chapter 7: The Chase

“Shh!” Mawnco cut her off as they came to a sudden stop, and all at once everything was silent. Although they lacked breath, they did not dare give away any hint of shallow breathing. Absolutely nothing stirred, though the distant grunts of the searchers lingered.

“What do you think it is?” Mawnco said in the darkness as the starlight vanished once again.

“Think what is?” Patcha wondered.

“That! On the ground.”

“I don’t see anything because I don’t have a torch,” Areesee snapped back.

Then the cloud cover shifted again, and a sheen of light caught Kooteeck’s eyes. Mawnco was some ways ahead of where the three girls pressed up against the walls of a long-hall, standing over a small puddle that had accumulated in a muddy patch of ground where the cobblestones broke in the street. Kooteeck saw nothing special about it, and it certainly did not emit any light besides the reflection of the star-shine. Except that the puddle was a deep indigo color.

 “Calm down, Mawnco, it’s just a puddle,” Patcha assured him. “But there seems to be an inconsistency with what color it should be and what color it is.”

“The ink!” Areesee announced.

“And next to the ink…?” Mawnco offered hesitantly. The girls’ eyes wandered to see a large paw print beside broken glass. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 7: The Chase

The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 10

The next thing they knew, the dancers were bowing, adults were clapping, and young children were carrying bowls of stew out to Klimans all over the tree. Dozens of skillful, grinning young faces, overjoyed by simply being helpful. Many of them raced each other to see who could deliver the most wooden bowls to the various homes on a bough. Many children even intercepted the recipients of the meal by giving bowls to the residents of a platform that dangled between two branches, stealing the opportunity of the children on the other branch from delivering the food. Chroma chuckled as she watched. … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 10

The Flood Thieves Chapter 6: Atok

“I mean it’s incredible that the Lavakoomas could have such precision in making lines in the earth — and everything else they’re doing. I find it even more incredible that they could learn such a detailed system and utilize it flawlessly in such a short amount of time. But it’s very important to know if all of the Bloodkoomas are being held together. If they are, we simply need to contact all the others and tell them to investigate the nearest lake, and the rest can move in.”

“Except that they’ll never listen,” Areesee added, finally pulling Mawnco’s gaze away from the field.

Mawnco snorted, a tiny shadow of a scowl creeping across his upper lip. “I’ll make them listen.” … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 6: Atok

The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 9

The last rope bridge sloped downward, but not enough to bring it all the way to the forest floor. Instead, it sloped downward just enough to rest among the branches of a tree as wide as it was tall. The diameter from the northernmost to the southernmost leaves must have matched that of a small town. The massive tree formed an expansive clearing beneath it, holding back competing trees and blocking sunlight to the plants below.

Between its boughs, countless meshes of planks and organic matter formed platforms where people lounged, worked, and played. The central crook of the tree was in sight, and had been partially hollowed out and lined with stones to form a large fire pit, above with hung a collection of spits as long as a hull of the Gladiator.

The color orange was everywhere: in the watercups that grew along the branches of the tree; in the paint coating the wood and various wooden bowls, toys, and instruments of Klima; in every single person’s clothing; and in the large banners hanging from the side of each bridge leading to the town.  … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 9

The Flood Thieves Chapter 5: The Shack of Power and Games

Patcha dreamt that the Time of Chaos had arrived, and there was no Flood in sight. The dried-blood sky during the Time of Chaos seemed distorted like water, brittle like wood, and shiny like marble. Strange entities and gods roamed the sunless region above, made visible now that blue or black skies no longer separated Kai from Hanan. She was atop the Capital Volcano, with nothing but deformed skeletons surrounding her. The buildings themselves were rotting, and the ice and lava of the volcano rolled around her feet. Below her, rivers were dry, plants were decaying, and no animal, big or small, fierce or tame, was anywhere to be spotted. The only movement was of the black earth, beneath which the Lavakoomas were stirring. She saw great mounds of earth the size of entire villages move below her, guided by the Lavakoomas. The upturned earth, which smoldered with the fires of Uku, formed symbols that only Patcha could read. Each and every one of them read: Revenge. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 5: The Shack of Power and Games

The Flood Thieves Chapter 4.5: The Hwaca

You dare leave your fellows during the Time of Chaos? the voices boomed. Though they did not grow louder, their tone grew harsher.

We have to. There’s a quest. My sister’s been summoned.

Yet you have not, Kooteeck Mapa Ango Char. Does your family not need comfort during this perilous time? Are you so impertinent to suggest you know what is best for them?

No, Kooteeck conceded, deciding to remain silent for some time. But the Hwaca still did not respond. Please, Hwaca of Raua, I humbly ask your permission to embark on this quest. My sister needs my help. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 4.5: The Hwaca