La Belle Eliza

by Koizumi Shinme (恋墨新芽)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/35087.html)

We could see the dust cloud from a long way off, and I wasn’t ready yet. Eliza kept moving between the window and my side, touching my shoulder lightly with one finger, then turning back to watch the progress of horses and wagon. Too fast. Too soon.

Vivito,” she whispered in my ear, the old nickname, and then with a final twist and jab the maid pronounced my hair complete, braided and coiffed for the long ride. “Hurry, hurry,” Eliza said, jostling me on the arm. Those were the words her mouth formed, but the tone of them said ‘don’t go’ and ‘I’m sorry.’ “Come, suola.”

Continue reading “La Belle Eliza” »



by Koizumi Shinme (恋墨新芽)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/23541.html)

The maidens must learn to spin and weave as their mothers do, but they are not women yet, and need not spend the whole day at it. They have made games of the lightest kitchen chores (for the servants do the rest), and they have appointed themselves the gatherers of flowers and a hundred small, medicinal plants that grow in the great river valley.

Their mothers have taught them well. They know which roots become the slick cream that relieves itching, and which ones for burns; which underbark tastes sharp and sweet, and which rushes will hold their tips long after being cut (the better to apply kohl with as the women across the sea do, instead of with clumsy sticks like girls in the neighboring kingdoms, boorish barbarians all).

Continue reading “Buttercup” »


World Enough, And Time

by Koizumi Shinme (恋墨新芽)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/14188.html)

I: Tarn

May, 1857

The wind was a soft sound in his ears, distant but real, and the world existed as a steady rocking. Not the long, low sweeps of a schooner, but the rapid side-to-side sway of a train in good working order running over well-laid track.

It made Lord Cecil ill.

Continue reading “World Enough, And Time” »


The Tao Master

by Koizumi Shinme (恋墨新芽)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/10953.html)

In olden days the Tao masters were much revered in the capitol, where daily the fears of the highborn were averted only through the vigilance and skill of a few powerful men.

One such man was Seimei, who, coming out of his home one morning in early autumn, chanced to see a nobleman passing by in a carriage, followed by the shadow of a crow. Immediately, the Tao master plucked a blade of grass and blew on it. The grass became an arrow that shot forward and pierced the shadow, which fluttered to the ground as a piece of paper, cut neatly in two. The nobleman’s retinue froze, startled. The man himself lifted his curtain to see what was the matter.

Continue reading “The Tao Master” »



by Koizumi Shinme (恋墨新芽)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/8740.html)

Outside, a Gulf wind blew the rain into sheets like some old B movie effect, lines of water rippling and splatting against the storm windows, gusts rattling the back door where the latch still held, barely, fingers of damp wind trying to sneak in where it was warm and dry.

Inside, the storm-dimmed light of late afternoon was enough to see but not to read. Michael sat hunched over the coffee table, book spread before his knees, its fine black print wavering in the light of three short candles, each labeled ‘pine’, their slightly different smells warring in the back of his mind as he read of Maria, of Galileo, of letters sent through time and desperation between two minds who might as well have been mirror twins rather than father and daughter, the way the bright and dark lines of their lives intersected.

Continue reading “Wintering” »