The late night and early morning drivers had kept the roads free of snow, but the lawns and trees wore their winter best. The sidewalks, not so much. The tramp of commuter-boots had turned the snow to ice trails or grey, slushy bumps. The lawns and carefully manicured trees were hidden beneath a layer of snow that was hard to look at, not because it was sparkling in the sun, but because the cloudy sky made it so uniform in color. The flags and tabletop umbrellas hung limp, the only movement was the occasional commuter, either driving or on foot.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
“No, no, no,” I whispered as my car used up the last of its gas.
I coasted onto the shoulder as the last of my car’s momentum dissipated. The landscape was silent except for my breathing. I got out of the car and looked down the road in one direction and then the other.
It was miles to a gas station. But I was broke anyways. I got back in my car. My head hit the steering wheel. A cold, uncomfortable tingling pressed down on my chest before spreading to my fingers and toes. I started shaking and sobbing.
Monday, November 26, 2018
The train galloped along. I’d long ago lost count of the number of times the train chugged, but the scenery was unchanged. It had been nothing but moors for hours. The other passengers towered over me, men with long, waxed moustaches and stiff suits. After briefly acknowledging one another, and ignoring me, they’d shaken open large newspapers and I hadn’t seen any of their faces since. The lunch cart came and went, ignored by the men, and I ate the sandwich my mother had prepared for me. Not sure what else to do, I leaned against the window and sighed.
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Whenever one of the white birds with the long necks and long legs left the water they would perch on a nearby branch and swallowed whole whatever fish they had caught. When they were full, they would spread their black-banded wings and stretch themselves up as tall as possible, pointing their long, yellow beaks towards the sky. Once the sun and habitually-warm breeze had dried their feathers, they would return to their nests to feed their eternally-hungry chicks. The baby birds were protected by their speckled camouflage and a vigilant parent who always remained behind while the other was feeding.
Saturday, November 24, 2018
I looked ahead just in time to see Azag’s foot plunge deep into slimy, sluggish water. Once he’d extracted himself, we carefully probed the wetlands around us with sticks, looking for a way forward.
“It’s all too deep,” he said. “And getting dark. We may as well go back to that last island; I need to dry out or I’ll get the rot.”
I grunted in agreement and we retraced our steps to one of the rare raised patches of land. Within a small circle of trees there was enough room to build a fire and put our bedrolls down.
Thursday, November 22, 2018
“Raise the chains one final time,” Yeolof cried, thrusting his sword into the air.
The windlass turned, winding up the great chains and raising the enormous gate. A soon as it was high enough, men began passing under it and rushing towards army waiting to meet them.
“I’ll see you on the other side!” Yeolof called to me before joining the men flooding into the field.
Once the men were in the plain, they assembled into a loose formation and charged the Sons of Lurio. They were under no illusion that they might win; it was an act of defiance.
Monday, November 19, 2018
Niona had been uncharacteristically robust during the last century and her worship had extended beyond the superstitious sailors and fishermen of the floating lands. Now it was common to see merchants wearing the talisman of the wave around their necks if they had business with the sea. Her burst of energy was beginning to fade however. As the divine lethargy overcame her, she was less and less able to stir her cauldron that controlled the winds and currents of the sea and errant storms and unpredictable waves began make water travel something that men faced only out of absolute necessity.
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Morg’s cloak flapped as he sprinted through the narrow, twisting alleyways. His injured leg made it hard to run; the mob was gaining on him. A blind turn brought him face to face with a stone wall. He started climbing. The sound of the pursuers grew as he slowly ascended, his demon arm smashing handholds on one side while the claws of his angorbor fingers dug into the space between the misshapen stones. He was just throwing one leg over the wall when he felt something strike him from behind. He slipped down and someone started pulling on his cloak.
Friday, November 16, 2018
The snowflakes drifted down from the white-clouded sky, abundant but unhurried, and covered the autumn ground. This first winter dusting fell on a land that was silent and still and where no wind blew. Animals and men watched the white transformation from the comfort of their dens, warmed by their families, fires, or both, and unwilling to disturb the slow turning of the season. When they finally did emerge, the soft snow was struck from roofs and shaken from fur. Parents watched as their young leapt and played in the pillowy stuff, sometimes chasing a flake that was still afloat.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Morg turned as the door opened. He didn’t recognize the physical shape of the being standing in the frame, but he knew him nonetheless. His eyes widened. He shot to his feet.
“You!” he cried and balled both hands into fists.
“I was worried you wouldn’t recognize me,” the man replied, stepping into the room.
Most of the skin on his face had been replaced with blue scales. His lips were black, framing a mouth full of white, pointy teeth. His wings were gone, replaced by a second set of arms that looked like they’d once belonged to a gorilla.