The Lunarian

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Digital drawing. Center, a woman seen from back, stands with hands clasped behind her back. Her face is turned so her right profile is visible. She has long hair, curled at the ends, and she wears a hooded dress coat. Her entire form appears silvery. Before her is a neon pink cloud. A glittering streak of light shoots directly up from the cloud, appearing from the top of the woman’s head. Dark hazy clouds rise from the background, and above, the hints of a starry sky.

Pike tilted his head up slightly, so he could see more clearly through his helmet.  He raised his arm and glanced at the detector in his gloved hand.  With his other hand, he pointed straight ahead. 

“That way,” he said.

Captain Tai drifted past him, holding her own arm up, so that the light beam panel on the forearm of her suit could illuminate their way.

The dark side of the moon was not just regular dark.  It was pitch dark.  If not for the trackers, and the back-up trackers, and the emergency back-up trackers, in their suits and their equipment, Pike would have at least hesitated wandering any farther into the unmapped region from which the anomalous signal seemed to be originating.  More likely, he would have talked his captain out of venturing ahead altogether.  Even more likely, she wouldn’t have needed to be convinced.

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A Moth In The Nebula

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Digital drawing. A spaceship shaped like a moth, seen from its starboard flank, flies along the border of a nebula. The colorful streaming gases of the nebula and the spaceship are both oriented at forty-five degrees from horizontal from left to right. Scattered stars twinkle in the distance.

“Status!”

“Countermeasures depleted,” the ship said.  “Shields holding…for now.” 

The ship hurtled toward the hourglass-shaped nebula.  The ship and the two crew members aboard all knew what that meant.  Already, it was getting icy in the cabin.

A missile sliced past their port side.  The ship veered just as the missile burst apart. 

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The Distant Proximity

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Digital drawing.  Two figures in silhouette stand in front of a car seen in three-quarters view from back.  The car’s headlights are on. The figure at left holds up a device.  They’re in an open field at night. The sky is full of stars. Before them appears a large glowing shape that extends out of frame.

“We’re receiving a Proximity alert, I take it.”  Jora walked in and leaned over the console, scanning the incoming stream of data.

“They really should have called it something else,” I said, as I started up the retrieval protocol.

“Yeah…”

“I mean it’s confusing.”

“Well.”

I swiveled my chair toward her.  “Does it mean it’s closer or farther away?”

Jora glanced over at me and grinned.  “If you don’t know that, how did you get assigned to this station?”

I shrugged.  “I’m sure the person who hired me knew what they were doing.”

She elbowed me lightly.  “I hope I did.”

I swiveled back to the console and continued handling the incoming data.  “You did.  Trajectory just came in.  It’s not headed to Earth…this time.”

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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.”]

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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