Archive for the ‘Alex Dally MacFarlane’ Category
Friday, May 2nd, 2014
Friday, May 2nd, 2014
Koda was supposed to have been out hunting for clues to the whereabouts of the ape-man of the forest. Another one of the Americans had come to her village with a television crew and there was money to be made.
The day wore on and she found herself deeper in the jungle than she had ever been before. She stopped to rest by a clear pool of water surrounded by lush greens of every kind. As Koda rested, the surface of the water came alive with color. Big fish were jumping, their scales scintillating where the sunlight found their scales.
Koda fashioned a makeshift line and hook out of vine and stick and ran it into the pool with the remains of her lunch as bait. After only a moment she had pulled out the most beautiful fish. She hurried home; her previous money making task eclipsed by this new found good fortune.
Koda sold the beautiful fish for a handsome price. She returned to the pool again and again. It turned out no one else in her village had ever seen the pool nor could find their way there, no matter how they tried. Koda’s fish, which she called Moalai, were in demand and became a source of fortune. Koda became rich. Her fishing trips to the clear pool were her source of comfort and connection to what was beautiful in the world. Sometimes she even saw the ape-man of the forest on the other side of the pool quietly drinking or just watching the fish. Over time she was courted by the sons of businessmen and fisherman from the coast. After many years she chose one and had a large family but always returned to the pool once a week to bring home a Moalai.
Koda and her family prospered for many decades. One day her daughter asked her if she was still happy. On her next time at the pool she did not take a Moalai. She walked farther into the forest, perhaps into the domain of the ape-man. She knew she would never return to her family again. In her mind she answered her daughter’s question of why? You love something until you can not or do not any longer, Koda thought. And then she disappeared into the woods, chasing good fortune.
Little hands tugged at my apron. “Mom? Mom? What’s for dinner, Mom?”
I dipped my spoon into the pot and gave it a stir. “Superhero soup.”
My announcement was followed by gasps and delighted squeals, followed by the sound of little feet pounding out of the kitchen.
Mark glanced up from his laptop and grunted. The kitchen table was his work desk until five. “Soup?” he said. I ignored him. He was a big man, and never believed soup could count as a meal by itself.
Since Layla’s little friend Raph was staying for dinner, I’d decided to go deep in my mom’s old recipe box and dust this one off. Layla liked superheroes just fine, but Raph lived and breathed them. This was a boy who’d once worn a Batman costume every day for the first two weeks of kindergarten.
Little feet came pounding back in. I glanced down to see two bouncing sets of curly hair, one black, one blond. “Can we watch?” said Layla. “Pretty please?”
I nodded. “I was just about to add the secret ingredient,” I said.
“What is the secret ingredient?” said Raph, bouncing up and down. “Some kinda weird chemicals? Somethin’ radioactive?”
I took the two steps to the refrigerator and opened the freezer door. “An ice cube,” I said, and popped one out of the tray. I held it up as if performing a magic trick, then dropped it in the steaming pot. It floated for a moment or two, then vanished.
The two of them looked confused. Layla started, “But–”.
I raised my hand. “Go wash.” They did. I tapped on Mark’s computer, then pointed at the clock. “You too.”
Despite Mark’s concerns, we also had cornbread and salad to go with the soup. “This is very good, Mrs. Kasdorf,” said Raph. I smiled.
“What else is in here?” asked Layla.
“Chicken. Carrots, onions, noodles, and some other things.”
“It’s chicken noodle soup?”
“No,” I said. “It’s Superhero Soup. Eat.” They did.
Finally they all pushed their bowls away. “Can we go play?” asked Layla. She and Raph were already to go.
“First, come with me. I want to show you something.” They followed me out into the warm April air.
“What’s up?” said Mark.
“This,” I said. They watched, jaws dropping, as my face frosted over like a December window. Then the snowball fight began.
The Daily Cabal has ceased; it is no more; it has shuffled off this mortal coil…
Well, at least until we return at some point, like phoenix. Or a zombie. Or, perhaps, some kind of zombie phoenix.
In the meantime, we’d like to leave you with an easy way to explore the stories so far.
Here’s a complete list, organized by author:
All Stories by Author
And here are story lists for individual authors:
Alex Dally McFarlane
Jason Erik Lundberg
Between densely gnarled groves, the ruins of Castle Noland rose on Spindle Mountain against the late sun like a needle one cannot spot in the carpet unless the light catches it or he treads on it. The mountain, though stunted, was steep and crumbled in Yul’s hands–a miracle it had lasted. It would not bar him from his lost father.
Castle Noland lacked drawbridges and doors, so Yul made one, knocking down bricks, some of which decomposed to powder. Sunlight streamed through the roof and holes in the mortar, illuminating dust motes. One beam shone on a white-bearded, white-robed old man stooped atop his throne: like God after the sixth day. The beam moved, and the old man regressed into shadow.
Was this the same man who sent the child Yul on quests: Track the Amethyst of Memory to the caves of Kaldan, wrestle the Ruby of No Regrets from the King of Cobramen, hunt down the Cape of No Tomorrows through the thorny jungles of Afterwine?
Yul had never put his mind to quests. He’d set out but–heavy-hearted–stopped to rest on a stump. Days passed like a clock’s pendulum. Soon hunger roused his head, and he’d slink home.
Yet Yul fetched the Ruby of No Regrets by trading plastic beads he’d dubbed the Necklace of Deathless Hours: “Hours slipped without a death if you gripped the necklace righteously.” True, it’d fail, but had they held it right?
The Ruby had never given Yul the confidence he needed to start his own life. Instead, Yul had worried over quests his father shipped him on. Late in his third decade, he, questing, paused at a village, where a gangly girl drew water. When he asked for a drink, she gave without reservation.
Twelve decades later, he’s returned, to bring Father to a new home among sheep and grapevines. Yul stood beside the old man: his white contrasting with the gleaming ruby ring lolling on the right, wrinkled hand.
“Hello?” The old man leaned forward, milky white eyes scanning the room. “That you, Spot? I’ve a doggy biscuit.”
Yul grit his teeth.
“I shouldn’t have let you go.” The last word was a sob.
Yul wanted to shake the man, ask if a lost dog was all he regretted.
The old man’s body shook violently. His ribs rippled beneath the robes, coming and going. “I loved you like a son.”
Yul wrapped his arms around his father, shushing and humming a lullaby.
Friday, May 2nd, 2014
Friday, May 2nd, 2014