20
Jun

Much and Many: Or, the Death of Thomas Rust

by Ogiwara Saki (荻原咲)

 

Hawthorne was dead and Thomas was dying; here indeed, he thought, was the beginning of the slow passage of magic from England.

Well, it could not be helped. Hawthorne’s death was undeniably a shame as the Duke of Forget-Me-Not had been a stalwart general in the ongoing fairy civil war. His loss would be keenly felt by his allies. For Dr. Thomas Rust, formerly head of the Royal Society of Magicians, now laid up in bed with prickling chest pains, dying was a rather less existentially complicated matter. He was no half-fairy lordling. He was six and sixty, and his body was failing.

Continue reading “Much and Many: Or, the Death of Thomas Rust” »

24
Dec

Strange Lexicons

by Ogiwara Saki (荻原咲)
illustrated by beili

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/297809.html)

Picture this, Terrence always wanted to say afterwards, except he had no one to say it to. Guneet might’ve known — hell, Guneet couldn’t have possibly missed it, the way Terrence had slunk back to their flat smelling of sex and alcohol and Eli’s cologne. She could’ve asked, but she didn’t, but if she had, Terrence would have scowled and told her this:

Picture this, Terrence would have said. It was a party thrown by some asshole Georgetown trust fund inbreds to celebrate them graduating law school, and he only showed up because Eli was drunk and texting him, saying that he should come. Eli never asked for Terrence’s company when he was sober, Terrence would explain, and Terrence was kind of an idiot, so he went to this stupid party where Eli greeted him tipsy and giggly and full-moon happy, handing Terrence beers and telling him that he was a real lawyer now, which didn’t impress Terrence at all, which made Eli cranky. Cranky enough to crawl into Terrence’s lap and start making out with him.

Continue reading “Strange Lexicons” »

27
Aug

An Origin

On a hot dry afternoon in Lucknow, two naturally reticent men were seated across each other for afternoon tea, and after attempting to avoid direct eye contact for a few minutes, their resultant conversation, more or less, went about as this:

“The weather,” Edmund said.

“Yes, the sky,” muttered Mr. Korrapati.

“Is very—”

“Blue,” said Mr. Korrapati.

“It is,” Edmund said. He noted how crisp and clear Mr. Korrapati’s English was, but such things had stopped surprising him during his two years soldiering for the British Raj. He had been naive, when he first arrived, presuming that mastery of English somehow dissipated once one left the blue confines of the English Channel. This was very obviously not true, however. Mr. Korrapati’s elegantly formed vowels could put his own speech to shame. Not that he minded, really. It was not a competition, no matter what his companions thought. Plenty enough room for everybody to excel, English or Indian or otherwise.

16
Dec

But ever in the moonlight

by Ogiwara Saki (荻原咲)
illustrated by beili

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/264311.html)

The moon was bone-cold over the dark, murderous waters the night Simon Carrington died. It had been night when he began to die; it was night when he progressed full forth into the act; and it would be night when it was finished, as he lay blue and cold beneath the surface of the silent lake. His body jerked as his lungs struggled for air, but Rust’s firm hands held him with strength from knuckle to wrist as he drowned him. Simon’s mind tumbled inwards, and he gasped one last time, dying the only way he knew how.

Continue reading “But ever in the moonlight” »

24
Jun

Let X Be Y

“The length of the acclimatization shaft is the same as the length of your penis,” Justin said, and I knew that he was wrong. The length of my flaccid penis was a precise 3.5 inches, and while erect it was 4.5. The tubular shaft he was holding was at least five inches, which rendered his a generous but inaccurate statement.

I told Justin as much.

“No, I’m sure that can’t be right,” he replied, and moved for the measuring tape by his station. “Take off your pants.”

25
Mar

Glaive & Hill & the Matter of the Sapphic Society

The blood was splattered all over the floor, great gobs of it. It looked fresh, as if someone had been butchered but a few minutes ago and his or her poor carcass hauled into the lodgings, dripping fluids in a trail like grisly breadcrumbs. The red was still bright enough to affront the eyes of any civilized lady, which Mrs. Hazel Hill of 65 Guthers Road no longer considered herself to be, but it was the principle of the matter. No London woman should have to return home to find the remnants of a lurid massacre on her doorstep, not without giving her spirits bottle a very suspicious look.

“Mrs. Glaive!” she called out.

There was, as expected, no response. The eminent Glaive would hardly dignify her poor landlady with such a gift.

17
Dec

The Eye and the Eye

London, 1867

There was a peach tree growing at the crossroads of Church Lane near Northey Street. It had not been there yesterday. Dao Chen stopped in his steps and gaped, all the while carts of goods and passers-by swept past him in hues of burnt grey and brown. This was Limehouse on the East End, Limehouse of the wharves, and peach trees did not grow here, their roots tangling through the surface of dirty city avenues.

Someone jostled him, and Dao Chen did his best imitation of a stunned brick, never taking his eyes off the peach tree. “Oy, watch where you’re goin’!” his unfortunate new friend said. Dao Chen made a sound in his throat that was meant to be an apology but came out more as continued awe. Not towards the labourer who had just budged him from the road, of course, though Dao Chen was certain that the man, as every working man trying to feed his family, possessed some small talent that deserved awe. No, his reverence was reserved for the pink-hued tree with its soft delicate petals, blossoms spouting from its branches like little poems.

The man who had crashed into him took another look at Dao Chen’s face, and disgust seeped into his voice like sewage. “Chinaman,” he said, a single word that was definition, judgement, and insult.

29
Oct

The City of a Thousand Days

In dreaming of home, he wondered if home dreamt of him. He imagined it might be so, for the coins and the Caliphs called it Madinat al-Salaam, the City of Peace, and the people called it by its old name, Baghdad — but the poets called it the City of Dreaming.

23
Apr

La muerte y el jardín

He read his name on the list of the condemned. Opening his copy of La Nación, he found its dreadful heart, like crumbling kernels inside a sheaf of dried maize. If you asked him later, he would not be able to tell you just what emotion gripped him then, staring at the names of those Isabel Perón, President of Argentina, wanted dead. That list, that list, that concise and bloodless list of names, and his own among them, third from the bottom, smeared into the newsprint even when he rubbed his thumb over it repeatedly.

No use, he thought, and then the great clockwork gears of his mind turned, and he got up from his folding table very calmly. He went into his bedroom and packed his bags, and when he was done, he left the last of his rent in an envelope slid under his landlady’s door.

Otherwise inconvenienced, he wrote. Apologies.

24
Oct

Unidentified Friendship Objective

Four days after the photo of the chupacabra turned out to be nothing more than a rabid coyote with mange, Felix began talking about UFOs.

22
Aug

Sweet to Tongue and Sound to Eye

Around three o’clockish on a Thursday in October, James Wellesley lay in an excellent specimen of a claw-footed Chatterham bathtub, where he slit his wrists and waited to die. Unfortunately, the desired cessation of existence was not so accommodating, and he was forced to climb out of the tub and don appropriate clothing when summoned for supper two hours later.

20
Mar

Kiss Kiss Brains Brains

With the hard-packed snow melting off the graves and the fresh, loose soil that began to turn underneath, spring was prime time for a zombie rising. Winter was when the zombies were quiet, or as quiet as they ever were in the town of Middleton, New Jersey. Come spring and nearly every grave showed the telltale signs of movement and disturbance, signs that had alarmed Zoe in her early years as one of the town’s two resident zombie hunters. Since then she had come to recognize that while every grave in the cemetery had the potential to shift apart, revealing a thick-jawed, oozing flesh zombie, most would not. A small mercy, Zoe thought, because Middleton had been on the map since the early nineteenth century, which meant a history of a lot of dead people.

22
Dec

Where You Have Yet To Go

He didn’t return from the war a wreck. He didn’t return riddled with dreams of dust, sand, and glass. He didn’t return with a bullet wound in his leg or a voice in his head. He didn’t return a hero or a ghost. However, he did return home to an empty apartment, an uncooperative landlord, and all of the right words missing.

31
Oct

No Hero Manual Included

by Ogiwara Saki (荻原咲)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/152692.html)

The problem in most fairy tales is real estate. I’m being serious here. The story of the Three Little Pigs? Real estate problem. Goldilocks? Real estate. Little Red Riding Hood? Clearly, the only reason why an elderly woman would live alone in the woods is because all the good spots in town were taken. The problem of housing and location drives us as deep as food and sex, and I knew this well because my humble little musical instrument shop happened to be across the street from Hero’s Square, where all the returning heroes paraded around after their victories, drawing crowds and vendors and chubby-cheeked babies.

Continue reading “No Hero Manual Included” »

9
Sep

Strength, Gallantry, and Other Useless Bits

“HONOURABLE MOTHER, HOW COULD YOU?” Wan Lee shrieked. “YOU HAVE TAINTED MY INNOCENCE WITH YOUR CARNAL SINS!”

“Oh please,” his mother said from the other side of the webcam. “Get a grip on yourself.” She looked to Shou Yan as if he could put some sense in her son, but Shou Yan ducked his head and pretended to find his math homework extremely entertaining, never mind that he hated calculus and hated their calculus teacher even more. Auntie Lu tsked and said to Wan Lee, “You’re treating your shield brother properly, right? Poor Shou Yan looks overworked! There are bags underneath his eyes!”