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Stories abound.  They are everywhere.  Some stories are massive and glorious like a monument, a structure of marble and stained glass.  Some are humble and simple like a puff of cloud or a puddle of water.  And some stories–most perhaps–are somewhere in between, small, but complex, more than first meets the eye…like a feather.

Everyone has stories.  Here, I will tell you some of mine.

Welcome to Storyfeather.

A Proximite and a Human

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Digital drawing. At middle, a human man sitting on the ground, facing forward, turned slightly to right of frame, wearing jacket pants, and boots. His left leg is draw up and his hand rests on his knee. His right leg is extended but partially bent. A bandage is wrapped around his right thigh. His right palm is pressed to the ground beside him, supporting his weight. His face is looking down. Two characters hover beside him at the level of his head. At left, a sphere. Near the bottom of the sphere are two recesses with domed tops and flat bottoms. Within the recesses are smaller spheres, giving the effect of eyes. Next to one eye, from a circular recess, a jointed appendage made of rods and nodes extends down. Liquid leaks from two of the recesses. At right, a face divided into three parts with one eye, one nose, and a mouth on each part. Each part is elongated. Eyebrows appear both above and below each eye. Straight wrinkles appear at the forehead and on each nose.

“We’ve chosen you because you’re just a couple of ordinary transport technicians,” the unfamiliar transport chief said.  “And for one other reason.  Proximites and humans are both relatively fragile species—no offense—when it comes to space travel.  But here on solid earth…well, you’re still fragile, but you have certain qualities that come in handy should there be any problems with this particular prisoner.”

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Nine Gods in Masquerade

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Digital drawing. An empty masquerade mask facing forward with several asymmetrical elements. At center bridge of nose, a seashell motif. At left of image the top corner of the mask appears to be burning in a sparkling flame, and part of the mask appears to be vaporizing. At bottom is a small chainmail section from which there hangs a row of teardrop pieces dangling from thin strings. Within each eye hole is a star-filled sky motif. The right eye hole is framed with a tiled or scaled border. The left eye is surrounded by a vine motif. At right of image a feather and wing motif drops from the bottom of the mask. Along the side and extending up in a branching tree. A few leaves sprout from a few branches. Two flowers are set beside the tree and above the left eye. A dragonfly-like insect is perched at the base of the tree with two insect wings extending out and two feathers emerging from the bottom.

The story will be told by the young and by the old, many times this night, of the nine gods in masquerade.  And it seems to me, that most of these storytellers have only pieces of a greater puzzle.

The masquerade is an ancient custom, they say.  They all say that.  And that part is right. 

It’s the one night when the gods, in disguise, walk among the mortals, they say. 

Ha!

We all know there’s no such things as gods.  Only ancestors, some of whom knew more and better than we do, and some of whom knew less and worse.

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Only Fools Prevail

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Digital drawing. A composite image of two faces with a soft diagonal border between them, cutting from bottom left to top right. At top seen in left profile is a face looking down and having a pleasant almost smiling expression, short curly hair, and a high loose collar with edges curling down. At bottom is a face in three-quarters profile facing right, looking forward with a distant almost dreamy expression, short wavy hair, and a straight collar.

Once, there was a realm where scholarship was much admired and much desired.  A trickster fairy appeared one day and kidnapped the king, leaving behind a riddle that even the youngest child in the castle could solve before sundown.  The king’s highest advisor presented the answer.  The fairy, being bound by his own promise, had no choice but to return the king.  But he tried again, and again was thwarted by the learned and agile minds of the king’s subjects.  Yet he tried again…

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They Stand. They Watch. They Wait.

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Digital drawing. The silhouette of a person facing forward stands at center with arms to the side. The eyes glow with the color of the sunny halo behind the figure’s head and torso. The figure stands on ground that is cast in dark shadows. The ground fills the bottom fourth of the image. Scarce shrubbery is visible to the left of frame. A bush or small tree is visible at the right of frame. All in shadow. The sky fills the top three-quarters of the image and is streaked with sunset colors.

“What would happen if I accidentally looked at one of them?” Adira asked.  “Or if I spoke by reflex, before I could stop myself?”

She was the passenger.  With a sudden swerve, the driver pulled aside.  Ignoring the horn of the car that just missed side-swiping them, he gripped the wheel.  His shoulders heaved in a single breath.

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Garden of the Peculiar

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Digital drawing. At center, offset slightly to the left, a flower with three petals shaped like teardrops, one petal at top, two petals below, each with long tips that extend out of frame. The coloring at the base of each petal when combined resembles the face of a monkey. Behind and to the right of this flower are bright and shadowy overlapping outlines and silhouettes of a stem with branches that terminate in skull shapes. Behind and below the flower is a smaller flower with a monkey face tilted to the right, its monochrome color fading into the background. Behind to the left of the main flower, depicted in glowing monochrome is a flower that appears like a figure wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a flowing cloak. Behind this glowing figure to the left is another silhouette of the skull shapes.

I’m a terrible person.  And terrible things appeal to me.

Branches terminating in skulls. 

Transparent petals whose vessels glow white as bleached bone in the dark.

Bright yellow leaves whose soft serrated edges exude a dark red liquid that drips and pools and stains the ground like the signs of a crime scene.

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Car Wash to the Cosmos

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Digital drawing. View inside the cabin of a car from the front passenger window. Foreground, a girl and a terrier sit in the front passenger seat, both facing forward and seen in three-quarters view. The girl, seen from shoulders up holds her left hand up to her lips. Her eyes are raised in a thoughtful expression. A braid falls over her right shoulder and over her seatbelt. She has a star sticker on her right cheek. She wears a headband with two antennae ending in balls with rings around them. Her right hand, just visible is held against the chest of the terrier who has front paws propped against the window edge, and mouth open with tongue lolling out. A man sits in the driver’s seat, both hands resting on the steering wheel. His face is seen in profile. He’s glancing over at the girl and dog with a worried expression. Moon roof is open and displays a starry view of outer space. The driver’s side window shows darkness with streaks of slight. The middle panel between the front seats shows glowing lights where the gear shift would be.

“Captain’s log…we are passing through the waterfalls of Zarqlok.”  Meena placed a finger on an empty space on the dashboard console, pretending to press a button.  A cascade of soapy water passed over the front hood of our car.

“Of what-lock?” I asked.

She glanced over at me, then faced forward again.  “D.A.D. unit appears to be malfunctioning.”

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Encounter With Ship 47

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Digital drawing. Five silhouettes against a window, all face a luminous spiraling phenomenon beyond. At top left, a human in a chair that’s hovering over the heads of the others, in partial right profile, with left hand raised to the window. Below, from right to left. A caterpillar-shaped being sitting on the window ledge, with two antennae raised to the window, tail dangling from the ledge. A being with a squid head, with five tentacles held up against the window, standing on what appears to be three knobby or segmented legs. A human standing with both hands pressed against the glass at head level. A being shaped like a central stalk with fuzzy hair at the top, two pairs of loops protruding from the sides, and knobby plumes rising from the loops. A wall to the left displays some glowing lights and panels.

“It’s my favorite chief mechanic,” the captain said.  I looked to my left and saw her smiling as she glided toward me.

“I bet you say that to all the chief mechanics,” I said, feeling the tablet tucked under my hand slide a little as sweat suddenly appeared on my fingertips.

“I do, but I only mean it when I say it to you.”

I chuckled.  We joined up and started down the main concourse, both on the way to our duties as the first shift of the day started.

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The Durquin Adventure

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Digital drawing. A rubber duck facing forward, offset left of center. The duck sits on a layer of bubbles. There’s a chain around the duck’s neck, pulled taut forward, moving out of bottom frame. On the duck’s left flank, the partial drawing of a chemical structure is visible. Behind the duck tilted to the right thirty degrees, a shark with mouth open emerges from the water and bears down on the duck.

I’m trapped inside a rubber duck that’s about to be swallowed by a giant shark.

How did I come to be in this predicament, you ask?

Good question.  I’d like to know myself. 

But there’s no time for that now.

Because if that shark doesn’t swallow me and Durquin—that’s the duck—in the next three seconds, we’ll both disappear into an abyss of bubbles for all eternity.

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