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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.

There Lived A Crooked Creature

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Digital drawing: Portions of a creature. At right, fourteen eyeballs with triangular pupils framed by a mane of shaggy hair and held up by a segmented neck that looks like a series of polyps. The neck extends to the left and out of frame. Along the length of one polyp a mouth that looks like a tear with rows of small sharp teeth. Behind the neck is the creature’s body with cricket-like legs emerging from the side.

“We think the northeast corner of Laundry Room Four is a nexus to a demonic dimension, and one of its native creatures managed to lay a few eggs in our dimension, and now—“

“Whoa! Whoa, slow down. ‘Nexus to a demonic’ what now?” I glanced between the three kids standing before me, blocking my way to the aforementioned Laundry Room Four. 

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One Wicked Warlock

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Digital drawing. At center, the shadows of two figures cast against a stone wall. The figure at left is reeling backwards, arms outstretched, left leg raised and bent, chest pierced with a long spiraling horn, neck entwined with a segmented whip-like tail ending in a stinger. The figure at right stands upright, face in profile, right arm outstretched, holding a vial out above the first figure’s face. The vial is filled with a glowing substance. A green glow appears at bottom right. The left and right frames of the image depict the faint outlines of brickwork.

There is a tall tower to the north.  It is made of stone that looks a common gray from afar.  But I have been close enough to see the stone shift hues, to glitter with the gilded veins of an otherworldly ore, to fade into a pale so utmost as to be nigh invisible.

A warlock once lived there, it is said.  Now the tower is abandoned.

But that does not mean is it safe.

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The Infernal Bargain House

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Digital drawing. An oak tree at center whose six visible main branches spread in all directions, some dragging on the ground, some reaching upward, some reaching outward.  Diffuse patches of green in the background suggest leaves sprouting from the thinner branches.  A thin dark haze lays along the ground. A vaguely humanoid shadow floats beside the tree.

A gray shape darted past me to my right.  I turned to the ragged bushes entangled with dried weeds.  One of the stems shuddered and I heard a rustling.  But the overgrowth was too thick for me to see what was moving around in there.  Back home—my previous home—I would have guessed it was a lizard.  But here, in my new home, it could have been a rabbit.  A wild rabbit.

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Many Things Have Hatched

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Digital drawing. At center, an egg whose translucent surface reveals a reptilian creature curled within, facing right. The creature’s head in profile shows a closed eye and a mouth with a beak-like upper lid. Four small limbs protrude from the torso, on which scales are faintly visible. The creature’s tail curves back under its head. The egg floats in some kind of primordium with two tiny glowing bodies at top left. Glowing cracks with crystalline nodules run along the shell’s surface.

“Do stars hatch from eggs?”

The little girl glanced up at her aunt as the two sat on a fancy padded bench before the glass display. 

Her aunt smiled at her.  “Not everything that’s born comes from eggs.  You didn’t.”

“Then where did I come from?”

“I’ll…let your parents tell you all about that.  But if you want to know about eggs, I do have a story you might like.” 

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Didymedicus

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Digital Drawing. Two human figures wearing heavy coats. Bottom right, an older woman facing forward and smiling. She holds a rod of Asclepius in front of her with both hands. Behind her and to the viewer’s left, a young man holding a caduceus in his right hand, and flourishing his left hand up. His head is turned toward his left hand. They are surrounded by glowing colored lights.

The royal physician, Galena by name, examined the festering bruise just below the king’s ribcage.  The king lay in a sleeping stupor.  A state he had been in for three days, and yet it was only now, and only by order of the queen that the royal physician was allowed to examine her king. 

Galena peered down at the bruise, around the margins of which there appeared an oozing of bright purple fluid.

“I had thought him a fool, but a harmless one,” the queen said.

Galena did not look up as she answered.  “Is there such a thing?”

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The Eye in My Ceiling

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Digital drawing. Central figure, a woman, her top half, seen from below at an angle. She’s facing away standing in a room where the ceiling and parts of two walls intersect at her left, around waist level. The woman wears pants and a t-shirt and her hair in a ponytail. She holds a carving knife in her right hand, held down and behind herself. Her left hand reaches up towards a huge eye in the ceiling. Most of the iris and a small portion of the whites are visible.

I thought it was a reflection at first.  Not the moon.  Some streetlight or something, from outside, getting past my curtains.  I was too lazy, too sleepy to get up and deal with it.  But I do remember thinking it was strange. 

Isn’t the light too bright to be a reflection?  I thought, peeking up at the ceiling.

I do remember resisting the urge to rub my eyes.  I wanted to take a closer look.

Did I just see something floating in the light? 

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Matchstick and Mischief

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Digital drawing. At center, a mouse riding a motorcycle down a glowing pathway, facing forward, left paw on the pedal and right paw holding a lit matchstick. Objects float in the space around the mouse. At top left, a screw. Bottom left a sock. Top right corner, part of some device with buttons. Below that, a toothbrush. Middle right, a yo-yo.

“I’m Matchstick the Mouse.  And, hey, I’m actually a mouse.  Surprised?  I bet you’re wondering how I got my name.  You’re not?  Wait!  Where are you going?”

“Match, who are you talking to?”

“My fans.”

“Why are your fans walking away from you?”

Matchstick raised a furry brow. “Good question.”

“Is that the style you want for your chapters of our memoirs?”  Mischief reached for her satchel to pull out a pencil.

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The Misfortune of Repetition

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Digital drawing. At center, two little girls. The girl at left stands a head taller, with her right hand on her hip and her left arm around the other girl’s shoulder. She wears a skirt, a quarter-sleeve pullover, a band around her left wrist, and a barrette in her hair. The girl at right holds a book open in her right hand, and touches a page with her left. Sparkles surround the book. She wears a dress with a pleated skirt. The girls smile and gaze at each other. Behind them are lines of script with random letters bordered by a lightning pattern.

It was the turning into her fifth year, when Anushka would enter the next epoch of her childhood, the first learning years.  Being a child whose family was of modest wealth, there were a few minor enchantments that were gifted to her.  One was a book that could summon any one of a hundred different fairy tales within its pages with a simple chant.  Another was a pair of boots that could lace themselves.  And still another was a mysterious card placed within a vivid green envelope embossed with the golden letters of the giver’s initials.

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The Garden of Perpetuation

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Digital drawing. Three people seen from the back walking down a path that leads toward barren-branched trees in the distance. The figure on the left glances to the right, has long wavy hair, wears a coat with a purple carrot patch along the right arm, a satchel hanging from right shoulder across the body, and a belt on which hangs a pouch and an axe. The middle figure walks slightly behind the others and wears a cloak with the hood raised. Three black radishes are depicted on the back of the cloak with the leaves laying over the shoulder and one extending into the hood. The figure on the right wears a basket full of green garlic.

As it so happened, the Houses of the Black Radish, the Purple Carrot, and the Green Garlic all found themselves traveling the rough road that led to the garden of perpetuation. 

They traveled thus, the human envoys carrying vegetable plant seed on their persons and vegetable spirit within their persons.  As the envoys conversed among themselves, so too did the spirits of the vegetables.

“Root and bulb are we,” said the Radish, with sharp attention.  “No tubers do I see.”

“The tubers are well-loved,” the Carrot remarked sweetly.  “They have no need of the great garden.”

“So are we well-loved,” said the Garlic with mild bitterness.  “Or once were.  And will be again, I would wager.”

“But by then it may be too late,” Carrot warned.  “We would be gone.”

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