YEAR NINE

Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a circle with the Storyfeather feather logo, a feather quill shaped like the letter "f" with a drop of ink hovering below its tip. The circle is bordered with dots and dashes and casts a shadow. To the right of the image, the words "Wheel of Fiction." At top right, the word "Year." Below "Year," the numeral "9."

NOVEMBER 2021 TO OCTOBER 2022


Every year’s short stories (mostly) follow a theme. This year, I will turn the Wheel of Fiction to help me decide what to write. There are thirteen spokes on this wheel. Eight are occupied by the eight themes from the previous years of stories. One is a prompt to turn the wheel again. One is a wildcard (hmm…curious). And three are covered only in question marks. I suppose I’ll find out what’s beneath those questions as we go along.

Screenshot of choice wheel made on the Spin the Wheel application. There are thirteen spokes or slices in various colors. They are labeled as follows, clockwise from the top: Objects of Power (the “of Power” is not visible), Prompts, Definitions, Turn Again, Elements, Creatures, S.T.E.A.M., Wildcard, Revisitation, (alternating question marks and apostrophes), Challenge, (alternating questions marks and asterisks), (question marks). The title at top reads “The Wheel of Fiction” and below that the words “Spin the wheel.” At top left corner is a flag icon labeled with the letter “F.” This represents a function of the application which interferes with true randomness by reducing the probability of receiving the same choice twice in a row.

ENTER A PORTAL below…
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To go directly to the story and start reading, click on the tag labeled “STORY” under the main button.
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Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Distant Proximity." Below the title, the tagline. "A technician monitoring the trajectory of a long-lost spaceship with an experimental engine finds a troubling piece of data." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Citizen Forsaken." Below the title, the tagline. "A tourist is stranded after a mysterious incident destroys all the paths leading to the tourist’s home, a seemingly identical city that once existed just beyond the surface of a mirror." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "A Realm Without Rain." Below the title, the tagline. "A visitor from another realm encounters an overwhelming and mysterious phenomenon that bears further investigation, rain." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Arcanomen." Below the title, the tagline. "Our ancestors possessed powers and protections that were lost upon the destruction of a machine that had only one function, providing each person with a name." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Kairos and the Phantom." Below the title, the tagline. "The terrifying night phantoms that haunt a once-forbidden wood are never seen by day, until one morning when an ordinary man encounters a phantom trapped in the sunlight." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "A Moth In The Nebula." Below the title, the tagline. "To escape their pursuers, a ship and its crew plunge into a nebula with a rare feature that they hope will protect them, even as it threatens to destroy them." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Stranded in Shadow." Below the title, the tagline. "When two friends hear a commotion in their new neighbor's apartment, they go to check, only to find the door open, and the apartment completely empty...well, almost empty." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "A Carnival of Cakes." Below the title, the tagline. "Three siblings created their own game to play each year at winter solstice, a game that has grown and changed as they have, sometimes in unexpected ways." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Lunarian." Below the title, the tagline. "Two astronauts investigate a faint but suspicious signal on the dark side of the moon, and encounter the being who sent the signal." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Angel at the Carnival." Below the title, the tagline. "A dog and a boy wander through a carnival. One of them is terrifying. One of them is sweet. Guess." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Vessel Vespertilian." Below the title, the tagline. "In the alley behind the factory where they toil, two friends discover something that may lead to their salvation...or to their doom." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Queen Niyami." Below the title, the tagline. "Troubled by the tragic tale of a queen, who suffered because of a quarrel between two gods, three children question and alter the story." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Last Magnificent Seahorse." Below the title, the tagline. "A humble seahorse reconstructs his form by studying his fellow fish, and emerges as the most magnificent creature to grace the sea." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Flight of the Stegosaur." Below the title, the tagline. "A stegosaur scientist uses her own body in her experiments to achieve a physical feat that seems impossible for a dinosaur of her kind…flight." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Shadow of Victoria Lockhart." Below the title, the tagline. "Rising star of stage and screen, Victoria Lockhart, traded kindness for cruelty out of necessity, giving rise to strange manifestations of her psyche." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "A Dream Unto Death." Below the title, the tagline. "When a young woman’s nightmares seem to be drawing her into the realm of death, her last hope may be someone who can do no more than observe and record her journey." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Transdimensional Top Hat." Below the title, the tagline. "Hoping to find some inspiration and direction in life, an aimless young woman buys a top hat at the estate sale of a magician." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Surgeon's Secretary." Below the title, the tagline. "A new secretary is assigned to observe a surgeon who believes he has discovered a method of proving the existence of the soul." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Last Night of Grief." Below the title, the tagline. "A philosopher, a mage, and a swordsman are sent on an impossible quest from which they know they will not return alive." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a square with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Desk of Professor West." Below the title, the tagline. "A professor at a small college has gone missing. His typically cluttered desk is found completely bare, drawers empty, except for a letter addressed to someone he’s never met before." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Durquin Adventure." Below the title, the tagline. "I’m trapped inside a rubber duck that’s about to be swallowed by a giant shark." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Encounter With Ship 47." Below the title, the tagline. "A cartography vessel mapping a sector of space that’s expected to contain nothing of interest encounters…something of interest." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Car Wash to the Cosmos." Below the title, the tagline. "An imaginative girl narrates in her captain’s log as she, her father, and her dog pass through a car wash…and emerge on the other side of the galaxy." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Monstrous and Curious." Below the title, the tagline. "A huge pterosaur appears out of nowhere, sparking wild speculation about the creature’s origin, and the meaning of its existence." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Flaming Jargonelle." Below the title, the tagline. "A thief and an investigator each try to convince the other to accept the truth about the unparalleled treasure that is the Flaming Jargonelle." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Garden of the Peculiar." Below the title, the tagline. "A person struggling with heartbreak is drawn into the history of a garden filled with morbid beauty." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "They Stand. They Watch. They Wait." Below the title, the tagline. "Two people investigating the shadowy figures that haunt a mountain cross paths, just as one of them may have made a major discovery." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Only Fools Prevail." Below the title, the tagline. "In a realm where the learned are held at the highest esteem, a fool is called upon to challenge a trickster." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Nine Gods in Masquerade." Below the title, the tagline. "The story is told of how nine little gods came to be honored at a feast where they dared not show their faces." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "A Proximite and a Human." Below the title, the tagline. "Two ordinary transport technicians, working their first shift together, are assigned to drive a high-profile prisoner." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Through a Sky Gray." Below the title, the tagline. "In a realm cursed to lie under a gray veil, one man accepts a job patrolling a neighborhood to watch for unauthorized breaches." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Silent Serpent Under Sea." Below the title, the tagline. "On the verge of death, a penultimate god leaves behind a terrible enemy and an unexpected legacy." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Grand Universal Singularity Resort." Below the title, the tagline. "A new guest services employee works a memorable first shift at the most exclusive resort in the galaxy." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Diamond Dreamt of Rose." Below the title, the tagline. "A cursed young woman seeks the aid of a queen who walks through dreams to reach a sister trapped in eternal sleep." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "River Fisher and Blue Dragon." Below the title, the tagline. "The unlikely encounter between a river fisher bird and a slug of the sea inspire both to strike a bargain to explore the powers and limits of their forms." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Alison Weirdly." Below the title, the tagline. "A young couple moves into their first house, knowing it is haunted by the ghost of a former owner, who seemingly died peacefully in her sleep..." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Brittle Star." Below the title, the tagline. "The captain and crew of a vessel-for-hire cautiously agree to help a banished merman prince find his hidden realm in exchange for a lavish undersea treasure." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Man Who Cried Bird." Below the title, the tagline. "A birdwatcher who’s determined to discover an unknown species stumbles upon a strange little sparrow." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Zone of Eternal Sleep." Below the title, the tagline. "The sleep-deprived parents of a sleepless baby stumble upon a potential relief on their way to a Martian superstore." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Ace of Pumpkins." Below the title, the tagline. "The Ace of Pumpkins is invited as the guest of honor to a peculiar dinner at the High House of Clovers." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "King Midian and His Glove of Gold." Below the title, the tagline. "An elven traveler grants a king a priceless power in return for an equally priceless treasure." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "The Golden Ratio Theater." Below the title, the tagline. "A recent college graduate dreams of operating a local theater that has a special and secret importance to planet Earth...and beyond." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Isle of the Fairy Ring." Below the title, the tagline. "A folklorist is swept up in a journey to find the proof that supports her seemingly preposterous notion about porcupines and fairy tales." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Strange Stellar Cab Ride." Below the title, the tagline. "A driver for a small interstellar cab company picks up a passenger, who keeps wanting to go to where she probably shouldn’t go." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Showdown at the Cinna-bar." Below the title, the tagline. "A crew assigned to repossess a precious and undefined item end up in the midst of a suspicious bar fight in a far-off sector of space." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Gaharalil." Below the title, the tagline. "A turtle of great renown receives a great gift, and with that gift, a terrible burden no other turtle has ever known." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.
Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, a rectangle with the digital drawing from the story post. To the right of the image, the story title, "Outer City Magician." Below the title, the tagline. "An uncertified magician, who’s not allowed to cast enchantments in the city proper, finds odd jobs to do in the outer city." Bottom right corner bears a stylized inkwell with a feather emerging from it enclosed by a square. All shapes have curved corners.