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 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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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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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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The Union of the Spyglass

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Digital drawing. Composite image. Center, a floating island wreathed with glowing clouds, surrounded by a wispy net of light. Behind the island, a circle encloses a partial view of the moon at top and a night sky. Encasing the circle is a square, showing the same view of the sky. Top right corner shows bolts of lightning. Top left corner shows colorful sparks of light. Along the bottom stand a row of twelve people seen in silhouette from the back, each person holding one hand on the shoulder of the person standing next to them. This square is flanked by thin panels. The right panel at bottom depicts a partially constructed ladder beside a support tower. The left panel shows a spyglass or telescope angled to view the floating island. A final set of panels flanks the rest of the image. The scope extends into the final left panel. Thick gray fog or clouds appear at bottom. At right middle, three smaller floating islands are chained together with bridges. The sky above displays colored gases. At left, a net of light extends and expands from one corner of the island. A larger overlay of the circle showing the sky and moon sits to the left of the whole image. A smaller overlay sits to the right.

Not in the beginning, but early in the history of the world, many mortals suspected that the ones who called themselves gods were shirking their duty of properly governing the world.  Some responded by entreating the gods.  Others by railing against them.  

But a few decided to try answering the question of what it was that the gods spent their time doing if they were not doing what was expected.  

It was known that the gods lived far above the earth and somewhere below the stars.  Their abode was not visible to mortal eyes, but if human sight could be extended, perhaps human eyes could see the comings and goings of the gods, and follow their course to where they landed in the mortal earthly realm. 

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