28
Oct

Returning

by Kuruma Ebi (車エビ)

illustrated by beili

There was something in the lake by Bleakhall House.

This was common knowledge in Roxburghshire, whose visitors were often told stories of dark shapes moving under the surface of the lake, of witch-lights that appeared over its surface and unwitting guests who had fallen in, never to be found again.

Continue reading “Returning” »

21
Feb

Terra Cotta

by Kuruma Ebi (車エビ)
illustrated by beili

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/328532.html)

D – 10

With Myung-soo, Yeol learned how to dream.

But first Yeol learned how to sleep. Not the optimally timed naps that he used to take just for the utility of it, but the heady sleep of a child, face slack and limbs everywhere. Indulgent. He learned all this in Myung-soo’s arms, against the warmth of Myung-soo’s body.

Continue reading “Terra Cotta” »

25
Feb

A Genealogy of Magic

by Kuruma Ebi (車エビ)
illustrated by Beili

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/299016.html)

There was no magic where Naoki came from.

Well. That wasn’t entirely accurate. Hanamigawa Ward in Chiba, where Naoki had grown up, was in fact covered in spells. The telephone wires that cut through the neighbourhoods were held up by charms that stood the utility posts straight and true in any weather. Most of the houses and all of the dozens of low-rise apartment blocks in the ward still bore traces of the first transformation spells that had formed their foundations. The Hanamigawa River, which flowed through the ward, was lined with kilometres of sturdy white fence wrought entirely from enchantment. Naoki’s father had helped to build it.

Continue reading “A Genealogy of Magic” »

28
Oct

The Master Cat Redux

For the longest time, Henry Lee had believed that nothing was worse than having to pursue a ruthless trained killer over rooftops while taking fire from irate gunmen. This, he now realised, was inaccurate. The greater ordeal was having to transcribe and translate a full radio transmission of said chase – as well as all fifteen hours of the subsequent interrogation.

They had given Henry a desk. A desk, an ergonomic chair, and a view of Grosvenor Square Garden that Henry frankly didn’t care for. He also had a computer with not two but three screens arranged at optimal angles to each other, the third of which served no apparent purpose apart from bathing Henry in the eerie glow of the CIA desktop wallpaper.

Will would have laughed himself to tears to see Henry penned in like this – sitting through recordings of some whippersnapper with college-level Mandarin floundering through Class B interrogations, spending his lunch hour making small talk in the cafeteria, or – God forbid – tending the potted plant by the window out of obligation. But Will wasn’t here. And, really, that was the root of Henry’s problems. Because if Will had stuck around, hadn’t let something as mundane as a bullet to the chest get the better of him, they would both still be on assignment in Shanghai.

24
Jun

The Accidental Killing and Other Stories

When it was ascertained by the Deputy’s men that the dead man on the hillside was a wanted criminal, Hitoshi the papermaker’s apprentice was declared a hero.

Shuzo, whose life Hitoshi had saved, just wanted to know where he had learnt to fight like that.

But first, Shuzo had a performance to give.

“Will you tell this story when you go back to Edo?” asked the village headman’s youngest son, ignoring the way his older brother shushed him.

“Perhaps I will,” said Shuzo, smiling down at him. The boy had been fascinated by Shuzo ever since the first evening that the villagers had gathered at the grounds of the temple to hear Shuzo perform rakugo. A bit too fascinated, perhaps; enough that his father had sent the boy’s brother along as well now, to prevent his son from being whisked away by this unsavoury entertainer.

“‘The Accidental Killing’ has quite a nice ring to it, don’t you think?”

29
Apr

on the natural healing of bone fractures

Kazuki was cooking instant ramen when Ryota arrived home.

“Really?” Ryota leaned against the doorframe of the kitchen, arms folded across his chest. “Tonkotsu from a packet? That’s very unlike you.”

Kazuki’s face was turned away from Ryota, but the tense line of his shoulders was altogether too telling.

“It’s been a long day. I felt lazy,” said Kazuki. He did not look up as he stirred the noodles lightly with his chopsticks.

For any other person, a lazy meal of instant ramen would normally involve simply boiling the noodles and chucking the contents of the accompanying seasoning packets into the water. Not for Kazuki.

There were mushrooms simmering in Kazuki’s saucepan. In another bowl, a soft-boiled egg was marinating in broth. Next to it was a plateful of neatly chopped spring onions and shredded nori. It was typical of Kazuki, really. Yet, in the four and a half years since they had moved in together, Ryota had never once seen Kazuki cook something from a packet if he could help it.

There was something wrong.