Note From A Triceratops

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Digital drawing. The fossil of a triceratops, seen head on from a three-quarters profile, facing left, is either etched in a sandy stone slab, or is standing in front of the slab. The slab is etched with scratches and fern leaf stems.

You think you know our story.  The asteroid.  The extinction.  The line of descendants who succeeded in taking to the air in ways we never did, never could.

I stopped writing and dropped my pen.  I glanced up at the monitor that displayed a magnified image.  And shifted my gaze over to the already withering leaf mounted on the simple light microscope. 

It was my imagination.  It had to be.

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Unstable Blood

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Digital drawing. At center, figure seen from chin to mid-thigh, wearing a top with no sleeves, a shirt or blazer tied around the waist, and a watch around the left wrist. The ends of the figure’s short hair dangle just below the chin. The right hand grips the left at the elbow. The left arm dangles. Rivulets of blood trickle from a wound at the left shoulder. They trickle down the arm, but also float across the body and out from the arm. Behind the figure is a glowing background with spatters bursting out from the center.

Too much blood.  Too much blood is dripping.  He’ll smell it.  He’ll find me.

Once again, she stopped for a moment and leaned against a wall under the flashing red bulbs and the piercing alarm.  She inhaled and drew the blood back into her body through the poorly sealed gash that arced over her shoulder.  A dozen rivulets trickled up her bare arm.

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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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My Every Existing Memory

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Digital drawing. Composite image. Left bottom, a young man seen from his left side, from the shoulders up, with his eyes closed, with his hand in his hair. Faint words are visible in his hair. The word “Forward,” and below it, in reverse, the word “Backward.” He is in grayscale, while the rest of the image is in color. Behind and to his right is the façade of a diner seen from an angle. An “Open” sign hangs from the closed door. Four windows are visible. A sign above the door and windows reads “Singing Star.” Above the sign is a marquee with a huge five-pointed cartoon star hung in the center. The star has closed eyes with long lashes and an open mouth painted with lipstick. Beside the star are lines hung with musical notation symbols, flanked by more stars. Behind and to the left of the diner is a sign seen at an angle. The sign reads “Dr. V. Varma, Applied Transdimensional Theory, 8-9 PM, Auditorium.” To the sign’s left is a set of two theater chairs. A backpack lies under the leftmost chair.

“Memories are unreliable…”

Max paused, hesitated actually.  He’d rehearsed aloud what he was going to say so many times—despite not needing to remember the words—that he’d fooled himself into believing it all sounded reasonable.  But now, he was about to say the words out loud to another person, the most critical person he could possibly tell his truth to.

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The Unicellular Detective

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Digital drawing. Cartoon depictions of anthropomorphized unicellular organisms in a line. From left to right, three filaments of cyanobacteria, a Stentor, a paramecium with flagella who’s wearing a fedora, a slime mold, and a dinoflagellate with glasses.

There’s something you should know about me, and it’s not that I’m a plankton.

I mean, aren’t we all?  Plankton, floating around in the great pond.  Except, I don’t just float. 

See, I was born with some pretty powerful flagella.  What is that, you ask?  Flagella, they’re like…like long limbs, protruding from all over my body—hey, don’t make that face, they’re not gross.  At least, my parent told me they’re not.  Some days, I show ‘em.  Most days I don’t.  But they’re not just for show.  See, I’m a paramecium.  We’re only supposed to have cilia, short little hairs that let us kind of get around.  We’re not supposed to have flagella.  They let me do what most plankton can’t do.  They let me decide where I want to go.  Instead of letting the Drift decide for me.

What is the Drift, you ask?  Boy, you multicellular organisms sure are curious.

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What Is Permanent Damage?

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Digital drawing. Front view of the top two-thirds of a closed door.  A hazy glowing light emanates from bottom left across the face of the door. Scattered bits of redacted text appear over and around the door. The visible words are as follows: Science…in its current state. Project Manager. Project No. Existent…charge and…key…fakery. The first letters of “project” and “existent” are cut off.

Every day on my way to my desk, I passed by a door with the words “PERMANENT DAMAGE” written on it.  

No one ever went in or came out—not that I’d seen anyway, and I’d been working at the firm for about a year.  I asked people about the door, and the sign.  They said there used to be another firm occupying our floor and the two below it.  That door supposedly led to a defunct elevator that shuttled executives between the floors, leading directly into what used to be their fancy offices.  Or it led to a laboratory space.  Or some sort of obstacle course?  The rumors abounded.  Now those spaces were claimed by other firms.  The words referred to the project that resulted in the shuttering of the company.

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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