They Stand. They Watch. They Wait.

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Digital drawing. The silhouette of a person facing forward stands at center with arms to the side. The eyes glow with the color of the sunny halo behind the figure’s head and torso. The figure stands on ground that is cast in dark shadows. The ground fills the bottom fourth of the image. Scarce shrubbery is visible to the left of frame. A bush or small tree is visible at the right of frame. All in shadow. The sky fills the top three-quarters of the image and is streaked with sunset colors.

“What would happen if I accidentally looked at one of them?” Adira asked.  “Or if I spoke by reflex, before I could stop myself?”

She was the passenger.  With a sudden swerve, the driver pulled aside.  Ignoring the horn of the car that just missed side-swiping them, he gripped the wheel.  His shoulders heaved in a single breath.

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The Surgeon’s Secretary

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Digital Drawing. A woman seen from waist up, facing forward, tilted to the right, holding an open book before herself. Her right hand is visible poised over the book loosely holding a fountain pen. She’s wearing a shirt, tie, aviator’s coat, and glasses with round lenses that each completely obscure her eyes and reflect the silhouette of a woman in profile with her face and arms thrown back, her hair and clothing streaming backwards. A rainbow overlay of that same silhouette lies over the image.

“Here, you see?” the surgeon said, as he pointed with his scalpel.  “At the nexus of the heart and the brain?  Between the eyes and the throat, right at the back of the mouth, where the voice is on the verge of emerging?”

The secretary peered past the gleaming scalpel and tilted her head.  There was nothing to see at the moment, other than the expected anatomy inside the mouth.  The corpse that lay on the dissection table had been long vacated.  But the surgeon claimed that he had cut through at just the right time, the fleeting moment right after certain death. 

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One Wicked Warlock

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Digital drawing. At center, the shadows of two figures cast against a stone wall. The figure at left is reeling backwards, arms outstretched, left leg raised and bent, chest pierced with a long spiraling horn, neck entwined with a segmented whip-like tail ending in a stinger. The figure at right stands upright, face in profile, right arm outstretched, holding a vial out above the first figure’s face. The vial is filled with a glowing substance. A green glow appears at bottom right. The left and right frames of the image depict the faint outlines of brickwork.

There is a tall tower to the north.  It is made of stone that looks a common gray from afar.  But I have been close enough to see the stone shift hues, to glitter with the gilded veins of an otherworldly ore, to fade into a pale so utmost as to be nigh invisible.

A warlock once lived there, it is said.  Now the tower is abandoned.

But that does not mean is it safe.

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Maugre Death We Walk

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“There’s no need for this,” Morgan said, glancing over to his right shoulder, where a heavy hand lay on him, holding him in place.  “I came willingly.”

He was in the living room of the woman who had introduced herself as A.J.  The woman whom he suspected was responsible for the “resurrections.”  Morgan hadn’t quite figured out what term he would use for it in his story. Continue reading

The Thief, the Fairy, and the Raven

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The thief fell from the tower’s upper window.  She had lost her precarious grip on the pitted brick.  She remembered that she should roll herself up into a loose ball to protect her head and neck.  But by the time she remembered, she had already struck the first branch of the tree in the orchard below.  Then she struck another and another.  Scratched and thrashed and bounced about, she finally reached the ground, thankful that the soil was soft.  She lay there for far too long a moment.  The breath had been knocked out of her.  And she feared moving for fear she might discover that she could not. Continue reading

Detective Day

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Quill 140 Detective Day Image 1 FinalThe visions.  I’d had them all my life.  They’re tricky to read, like tarot cards.  Vague sometimes, like dreams.  When I was a kid, I would tell my mom, and she had this way of pretending it was normal while still keeping it secret.  By the time I became aware that my ability was unique, I knew how to hide it.  I started to teach myself how to control it, and soon enough, how to use it.   Continue reading