Cliff’s Rad Blazer

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Digital drawing. A weatherman facing forward and standing slightly left of center before a screen showing a generic map. He has on a fancy-looking blazer patterned with sparkling stars and colorful nebulas. He holds his hands to the blazer’s button. His left eyebrow is arched. On the weather display, bottom right, a snow flurry is moving in. Top left, an overlay of temperatures. Top right, a cloud under which raindrops and cats and dogs are falling.

Sporting a magenta and lime blazer, Cliff Blazer gave his nightly weather report on the local news channel.  The screen before which he stood displaced animated clouds dripping over the landmasses representing the closest three counties. 

“Rain is in the forecast, folks, and a lots of it,” Cliff said. “It’s going to be raining cats and dogs, so don’t just bring your umbrellas, bring your treats, your toys, and your litter boxes.”

Cliff signed off, threw the broadcast back to the main anchors, and strode toward his office.  A little bit of paperwork and he was done for the day.

His boss’s assistant poked his head through the doorway. 

“Got another one for you, Cliff,” he said, and gestured to his left.

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Noctemfaere

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Digital drawing. Center, a winged horse facing viewer, seen from chest up, mane falling to its right. Partly extended right wing is shadowy and hazy. The left wing is raised and stretched out, and the feathers are defined. Emerging from the horse’s sides under its wings are two more flying horses whose forms are translucent. The horse on the left flank extends a wing and raise a leg. The horse on the right flank extends a wing and raise’s two legs. A glowing mist streams down from center top.

When I was child, I wanted them to be real.  But even as a child, I knew they were not. Not in this world.  And so far as I knew, this world was the only world there was.  The only real world.  But for someone who’s never been anywhere near a real horse, I had a keen yearning for their mythical counterparts to be real.  And for me to find them, meet them, be accepted by them, and in my deepest desires, be favored by them.

I learned all their stories. 

And the stories were more vivid to me than the dry and distant history of my own kind.

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The Margin Alien

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Don’t spend too much time looking around, I told myself.  Just find Andy, fix the harness, and come on back.

My brother had said the place was amazing and the people were great and that he couldn’t wait to take us there, once he was sure it would be safe.  

But I couldn’t let that dazzle me.  Especially since a small part of me wondered if he’d somehow gotten enthralled into staying longer than he’d intended.  Maybe he’d lost track of time.  I glanced over at the kids, who stood thirty feet away in the doorway.  Andy didn’t allow himself to lose track of time anymore, unless someone else was taking care of the kids.  And the state of his bedroom, his garage…

Remember why you’re going there.

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Five Days of Felines

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Portal Button. Elongated rectangle with curved corners. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Text over the rings reads "Five Days of Felines." To the right of the text is a glowing silhouette of a cat's paw.

Greetings! Nila here, interrupting the regularly scheduled story posts with a showcase.

There are hundreds of stories on the site and a good number have been made into podcast episodes. The showcase is one of my recent efforts to help readers and listeners find the stories that they might be most interested in.

Between 5/11/21 and 5/16/21, I highlighted five cat-themed short stories right in this post.

In the full post, you can see the trailer for each story, a brief description of the story and how it came about, and links to the stories (and podcast episode when applicable).

I’m open to suggestions for future showcases. If you have one, please feel free to comment in this post (or you can email me at nila@storyfeather.com)

Here’s the main trailer. Please do check it out!

Genres: Fantasy, Fable, Mystery, Mythology

Main trailer narration is a clip from the podcast episode for “The First Days of Moonlight”

Music: “Palaver” by ROZKOL

Scroll down for details and separate trailers for each story. Or click the button to jump to the bottom of the post where you can get quick summaries at a glance, and go straight to the stories.

[Video description: Trailer. Duration 55 seconds. Music plays: “Palaver” by ROZKOL.  Center image of a cat’s right eye, surrounded by a burst of fur. Over the eye, an elongated rectangle with curved corners, circles of color radiating from the center, and text lies above, reading “Fives Days of Felines” with a cat’s paw symbol to the right of the words. The image recedes and a series of six images from the featured stories appear in sequence. First, the silhouette of a seated cat, three-quarters view, facing left. Second, the same image in four quadrants.  Third, a robed figure with a cat’s head and arms upraised, standing under a full moon. Sparks of light stream down from the moon into the open mouths of cats in the foreground seen in silhouette. Fourth, a diffuse shape suggesting a cat’s head with a glow around it and bright red eyes. The head shakes, then fades. Fifth, a cat with patchwork fur sitting down on all fours with tail wrapped around itself and looking over at a mouse who stands on hind legs. Sixth and last, the face of a tiger staring forward. The final image expands slowly, and shifts color. Text boxes appear throughout at bottom in time with narration: “We’re fascinated by cats, aren’t we? Cats on the internet. Pictures, videos, memes. Cats in our homes. Ancient civilizations shaped statues of cats out of gold, ebony, and bronze. They have been associated with magic, with evil. They sometimes seem aloof and uncaring. Sometimes charming and playful. Sexy. Dangerous. Mysterious.” A watermark of the site URL appears at bottom center throughout, fading at the end when the poster image appears. Over the tiger’s eyes, the word “Storyfeather” appears. At bottom appears text, “A showcase of five short stories featuring cats.” Below the tiger’s eyes at a slight upward angle from left to right, a banner displaying, “May 12 to May 16 2021,”]

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The Alien in My Headphones

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Digital drawing. Overview of a wooden desktop. Clockwise from top right corner, most of a cup filled with a brown liquid. A cell phone displaying a checklist with a few items checked off. A hand with a bracelet visible, holding a pen perched over a folded-over notebook. A crumpled sticky note. A pair of over-ear headphones. A cylindrical container filled with colored pencils. A partial view of a pair of glasses folded up. A folded-over notebook with notes written on the top half lying over a document affixed with a binder clip holding a note where the sentences are partially visible under the headphones.

I settled the headphones over my ears.  When I inhaled, I felt a little lurch in my stomach.

Every time I turned them on, I was afraid I’d lost the signal.  And every time I turned them on, I was afraid I hadn’t.

This was getting out of hand.  This…investigation that I’d gotten caught up in.  But if it was a prank, it was—I was going to say “epic,” but that word gets overused.  It was…extravagant.

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All the Magic Left the World

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Digital drawing. Various winged animals in the sky positioned at a diagonal from bottom left to top right. At bottom left a snake emerges from glowing clouds. The snake has two arms and is holding them out. The left arm appears to be disconnected. Outspread wings appear from just behind the snake’s head. Behind, above, and to the left of the snake a giant turtle swims through the air toward the viewer with outspread wings emerging from behind the forelimbs and smaller wings emerging from behind the head. A spider crawls on the turtle’s shell. The spider bears eight wings. Behind the turtle at some distance an elephant descends. Faded feathers fall from the elephant’s wings. Behind the elephant, the glowing outline of an owl’s head in three-quarters view, facing left, is just visible.

Three spheres comprised the world.  The waters, the earth, and the skies.  Upon first glance, it would seem that every creature lived in its own sphere.  The creatures of the waters lived in the waters.  The creatures of the earth lived upon or beneath the earth.  But the world was not so sharply divided.  And one of the spheres was not truly inhabited by any creatures.

The creatures of the skies did not live in the skies.  They soared and fluttered, sometimes for long stretches of time, but a time would come when they need descend and perch.  

Some creatures lived where these spheres meet.  Some creatures lived part of their lives in one sphere and part in another. 

Once, in a long-forgotten age, every creature could live in every sphere.

This was so because of an energy, a force that spun around and through the world.

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