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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The Last Magnificent Seahorse

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Digital drawing. Floating in water among small bubbles, the mythical creature known as the hippocampus. Seen from left side, the front half looks like a horse, except that the mane is replaced with a spiny dorsal fin, and the hooves are replaced by fins. The forelimbs appear to be in mid-gallop. The back half appears like a fish with fins protruding from the sides. The tail arcs toward the front. The creature’s coloring is vivid and shimmering like a fish.

The foal peered out at the sea, the forbidding sea, and he wondered.  He wondered at what his mother had just told him.

“It can’t be true,” he said, swishing his tail.  He was still new to the world, but already he had a favorite thing to do, and it was swishing his tail.

“Why not?” his mother asked.  She had warned him not to get too close to the waves.  But she need not have.  He wasn’t going anywhere near that roaring, reaching, grasping beast that she called “the sea.”

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Storyfeather Year 8

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Year Eight is finished! As always, thank you to everyone who read even a single story. Thank to you everyone who liked or commented. Thank you for your time and interest, and for being a part of Storyfeather, especially Year Eight.

This was the Year of Revisitation, in which I went back to a story I’d already written and wrote a new standalone story based on a character, object, continuation of events, or some other (sometimes flimsy) link to the earlier story.

A lot happens in the eighth year stories.  While investigating a murder, a single-celled detective is led into a world full of bacterial filaments, proto-multicellular colonies, and a new concept called “love.” The most popular wrestling show in five galaxies is somehow in danger of being shut down, but then the wrestlers—including the show’s first human—jump into action to save it. In the 400th story, six kids explore the possibility that dogs have been trying to warn humanity about a terrible enemy in their midst…the vacuum machines. And a kitchen mishap leads to the accidental invention of the most powerful ice cream in the world.

I did something new and made a year-end trailer for The Year of Revisitation. It’s posted here, and it’ll be on the Trailers page for a few weeks.

Music: “Space Discoveries” by Andrew Sitkov

I’ve written over 400 stories now, and produced over 200 podcast episodes. And yes, I do feel mighty. I do wonder if I’m repeating myself sometimes (I probably am, but maybe it’s okay if it turns out to be fun). It was more challenging than I expected to revisit older stories. Part of the challenge was that when I first started writing, I often added too many elements to a story. I still sometimes do that, but I believe I’ve gotten better at recognizing and streamlining. There were times when I wanted to revisit a previous story, or some element from the story, but in a longer work. Perhaps, in the future…

This year, I launched a few new features in the hopes of making it easier and more fun to navigate through all those hundreds of stories, and find the ones you’re most likely to enjoy.

  • Trailers page: The trailers for the most recent stories and podcast episodes, and links to older trailers.
  • Portals page: Buttons with images and taglines for recent stories. The buttons (portals) lead to the introductory pages for each story, which contain the trailer and more information. My hope is that I can add to these introductory pages in the future (more trailers, behind-the-scenes info, etc.).
  • You can also listen to the three most recent podcast episodes from either the Trailers or the Portals pages.
  • Hub pages for the current story year and podcast season, to make it easier to scroll through and read the titles and taglines of the stories, and either go directly to the story, or go visit the introductory page.

    In case you didn’t know about all these pages, or just haven’t checked them out, the buttons are at the bottom of this post. I also ran a couple of showcase campaigns to highlight stories that shared a theme. I plan to continue this effort with more navigation tools in the next year. So if anyone has any suggestions or other feedback, please feel free to reach out.

Expanding beyond this site, I also launched a new online course to help anyone who wants to write short fiction, and I’ll soon be launching a new online store with merchandise that features artwork from the Storyfeather stories.

All of these new things are exciting (sometimes grueling) but the stories are still the core of this endeavor.

Storytelling is still my true love, still my destiny, still my path.  Stories have been my hope and my haven all my life. First, the stories of others, and then my own stories as well. This year, stories and storytelling have also been my anchor.

Year Nine is coming.  The Wheel of Fiction. The theme is a continuation of Year Eight’s theme, but with a twist (pun intended). Season Five of the podcast is coming soon. The journey continues! I hope you’ll come along.

I have stories to tell you.
Nila


Portal Button. Elongated rectangle with rings of colored light emanating from the center. Text appears over the rings, reading "Storyfeather Year 8" and below it in larger font, "Revisitation."
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle with rings of colored light emanating from the center. Text appears over the rings, reading "Storyfeather Year 4" and below it in larger font, "Creatures."

[Summarized Video Description: Trailer. Duration, 96 seconds. Music: “Space Discoveries” by Andrew Sitkov. Title card with the Storyfeather main logo and “Year 8” and the story title are displayed in front of the image from the story “The Union of the Spyglass.”  The logo and title card fade. A watermark of the word “Storyfeather” appears at bottom right. Images from various other Year 8 stories appear and disappear in a series of wipes and animations. The following words appear and disappear, “Galactic! Microscopic. Hand pies! Aliens! Quests. Mischief. The 400th story” The video slows down as the image from the four hundredth story appears, “Attack of the Vacuum Machine Army.”  More images and words appear and disappear, “Dreams. Visions. Other Realms. Horror. Magic. Myth.” The video slows again as the final image appears. The watermark fades as the logo reappears at center, and above it, the words “The Year of Revisitation.”]

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 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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Castle, Cave, or Cloud

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Digital drawing. A castle at center with three main spires flying pennants, battlements, and flanking symmetrical towers. The castle stands in front of a cave opening through which light pours. Moss grows along the cave walls. In front of the castle is a bank of clouds.

She remembered darkness.  And she remembered her name.  That was all.

Spark zoomed into a heap of advancing clouds, grinning and gasping at the sensations of cold and wet, reaching out to touch what could not quite be grasped.  She emerged on the other side, and spotted a colossal formation of rock and stone with three spires so high they topped the clouds.  A mountain!

Maybe there, she thought. 

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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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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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Portals and Trailers Are Here

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Hello,

First, thank you for your interest in Storyfeather!

I’m interrupting the regularly scheduled storytelling to present a couple new Pages I’ve just added, to help navigate through the (perhaps daunting) waves of stories crashing all around us.

The Portals page and the Trailers page will present more information about the stories, both new and old.

You can find the links at the top of this post, and on the main menu (to the left on desktop view and at the top of the page on mobile view).

PORTALS

You’ll find buttons that link to the latest podcast episode and the latest short story. Coming soon, you’ll also find links to some combination of the following:

  • Older short stories and podcast episodes showcasing a specific theme (a holiday, a season, a profession, most popular, least popular, my faves, etc.)
  • Random Button results—I’ll click the Random button, see where it leads me, and talk about that story or page
  • About and other

I’ll be adding an update to my About page soon, and have a few plans for…other stuff (she said, cryptically).

TRAILERS
You’ll find trailers of the most recent short stories and podcast episodes. The trailers for the short stories will reveal the genre and tagline. In future, I may add quotes from the story. The trailers for the podcast episodes will include an audio excerpt from the episode set against the episode art. And many of the trailers will include animations, transitions, or other minor visual effects.

Why am I making two different pages, instead of putting all of this onto one page?

The Portals page will serve as a landing page for people who find me from other places on the internet where I’ll be posting my trailers.

For some strange reason, I’ve only been posting trailers on Instagram, instead of posting them here first. Well, partly it’s because I didn’t know how or where to put the trailers on my site until now. I’m also trying out embedding a podcast player at the bottom of both Pages, which will allow visitors to listen to the three most recent episodes directly from the Page.

So, I invite you to take a look at the Portals and Trailers pages. And please let me know what you think.

You can comment below, DM me on IG at @storyfeather or reach out to me through email at nila@storyfeather.com.

Thanks!
Nila

Storyfeather Year 7

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Thank you to everyone who read even a single story. Thank to you everyone who liked or commented. Thank you for your time and interest, and for being a part of Storyfeather, especially Year Seven.

A lot happens in the seventh year stories.  An inventor builds a time machine out of a jukebox.  Three friends do their science project on a forgotten novelty invention, a self-peeling banana. A small team of marine explorers search for a mythical jewel that fell from the heavens. A family is haunted by a demon that is not satisfied with collecting the fallen teeth of their children. And a young drummer commits the crime of “creativity without a license.”

I’ve written over 350 stories now. And I posted my 150th podcast episode (I’ll soon be wrapping up Season Three, in which I’m narrating stories from Storyfeather Year Three).  Year Seven was a worthy challenge, but I’m glad to be moving on.  Sometimes I “cheated” and deviated by just writing a story based on a dream or a notion (and reverse-engineering some kind of prompt from that).  It’s easy to find writing prompts.  There are free apps and sites.  But what I found challenging was to find a prompt with the proper level of specificity.

Storytelling is still my true love, still my destiny, still my path.  And this year in particular, storytelling has been and still is my haven.  And my hope.

Year Eight is on the horizon.  Here’s to seeing what stories I’ll be spinning up (that’s a dorky clue to the theme).  I hope you’ll come along.

I have stories to tell you.
Nila