“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
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).
“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)
“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 Janpee stepped atop the Chakana, his sandals making dull thuds against the marble as he climbed to the top tier. He placed a red bead on each semicircle around the hollow square. They began to glow with the fading light, and suddenly the green splotches of the marble began to glow bright as fire. Once the tablets were all glowing orange, the Janpee collected the beads and threw them into the hollow center. He stepped down, and indicated for the four to ascend.
Patcha and Kooteeck followed Mawnco and Areesee’s lead, quickly climbing the slippery, but surprisingly lukewarm, tiers. Patcha gasped at the top when she saw that the hollow center now swirled with orange mist, like the silt of a fiery river. Areesee, without hesitation, dropped down into the mist, and disappeared. There was no sound to indicate a person hitting any sort of ground. Patcha felt her stomach clench. There was no sign of her at all. She had never seen magic of this sort in all her life, nor heard tales of it. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 6.5: The Fields of Innocence
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
Emerging one by one from the large mouth of the cave, they stood on the inward side of the mountain. As Klyra and Chroma blinked repeatedly, desperately, the scene unfolded in front of them. Like a rolling sea, a homogenous sea of treetops stretched just below them. The clouds spilling over the lower mountain pass to their right were letting a curtain of rain fall even as they watched, making it look like the gray bodies were smearing downwards. A few rainbows caught the yellowing light of the afternoon from behind the tips of the mountains, forming colorful bridges down into the treetops. A flock of birds took flight from just beyond the storm, and the girls watched as they began making their way around the gigantic bowl as large as their entire home island.
“The bridge is down there,” Yim said, starting her trek down a steep, grass-coated path towards a decrepit, fallen tree that was connecting the middle of the canopy to their mountainside.
“I kind of wish Flor was here to see this,” Klyra breathed.
“Yeah, if she was here we’d have time to stop and see it,” Chroma agreed, beginning to follow Yim down the less-dense path that was evidently too steep for anything to grow.
“I — I can’t believe my eyes,” Klyra said, not budging from where she was.
Chroma glanced behind her, and then back at the view of the entire inner island of Klima. “Yes, it’s far better than the sketches my uncle used to bring me. Our journey’s going to be full of sights like this.”
“Aren’t you the least bit impressed?” Klyra demanded, half-laughing. There were tears in her eyes.
Chroma glanced away. “Like I said, I’ve seen sketches before. Being a princess has its perks. Now come on, we’ve got a teammate to save, and we’ve got plenty of time to come back here. You need to watch where you put your feet.” … More The Hundred Foot Drop of Klima — Scene 7
“Red Spirit…” she cursed. “It’s a spirit!” Making sure that her family was not awake, she slipped both legs out of the window. She wouldn’t be able to lock the door downstairs from the outside, and she couldn’t leave her family vulnerable to Soikles — this was the only remaining way out. She maneuvered down the path her sister always took to sneak out at night during the Southern Season and swim in the river. She slipped clumsily and crashed to the ground, her elbone digging into the soft earth. She yanked it out. The Qhilla was now all the way in between the homes adjacent to hers; this was no ordinary creature. Patcha ran after it, and found herself hard pressed to keep up. Every now and then, she would blink, and it would be lost from sight.
She was some ways out of the village and uphill, toward the temple, when a nearby holler met her ears. She faltered for just a moment, and the Qhilla vanished. She cursed, knowing that she had to help instead of following the spirit. She shot off in the direction of the cries. It wasn’t long before her blood ran cold at the sight of Soikle tracks among the shrubbery.
A boy was cornered on the foundation of an abandoned store house. He had a sling, useless to him at such close proximity, slung over his right shoulder. He instead used his gloved left hand to wield a traveling stick coated in frost. The pack of tiny Soikles, each no larger than a Meesee, seemed to have just cornered the cloaked young man, who retreated as far back as he could on the foundation before reaching a wall. He leaped forwards again as some of the Soikles attempted to climb the base with their hairy black legs, swatting them with his icy staff to keep them away. … More The Flood Thieves Chapter 1: The First Record
Many of you have heard that there is only one story, and it keeps being retold in different forms. Is this real, and should we even care?
The side you take in this debate boils down to your definition of a “story”. Of course every combination of letters in the alphabet is different. But the “one story” theory states that every story ever told asks the question, “Who am I?” or “What is man?” or something along those lines. In a way, this is true. Every human wants to find herself, and every society wants to know its place in the world.
But in the grand scheme of things, that doesn’t entirely matter.
Today, we’re talking about the implications of “cliches”, and how many people believe that it’s impossible to have an entirely original story. … More Is there only one story?
Lead image from luizclas on Pexels.com There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. –Maya Angelou News: The first chapter of Alloland is now in the final editing stages! I’m also considering submitting some of my short stories and (gasp) poems to literary magazines. So keep an eye out for announcements … More February 2018 Newsletter