Plugs

We’re changing things up a bit this week, giving you updates on cabalists you haven’t seen here in a while mixed with some microfiction pieces that are even more micro than our usual fiction. Click here and here to read yesterday’s update, here for yesterday’s story, or just click “previous story” further down this page.

Where are they now: Angela Slatter

Angela is a force to be reckoned with, with one book of short stories, Sourdough and Other Stories, just out and another, The Girl with No Hands and Other Stories, coming soon. In addition to the usual sorts of posts, her blog is also home to an ongoing series of short interviews, and you can find her guest-blogging occasionally over at Jeff VanderMeer’s Ecstatic Days.

You’ll find a listing of her short writing (fiction and more) here.

Dear Diary

Today I caught a little god and put it in a jar before it can become a big god and hurt little people.

Mom says I’m a brave girl for ridding all those worlds of their gods. She also says to be careful but I don’t see what’s so dangerous about the little gods.

Mom wants to take my jars of little gods to the swindler’s market to sell, but I hide them from her and feed them scraps of magic. Sometimes I steal souls for them from Aunt Rue’s cookie jar. The gods grow and grow until their faces are smash up against the glass of their tiny jars and then they grow until their spines are all twisted and then they keep growing until they die.

I have 117 jars, so there are 117 godless worlds.

Today I dropped a dead god into a little world. The little people scurried around like ants, trying to grab pieces of the dead god. They fought for the toes and for the Word and for the Book and they carried away the chunks of godmeat and killed anyone who came close. I felt bad and tried to tell them it was only a stupid dead god but they didn’t listen to me. If Mom finds out she’s gonna kill me. I hid that world where she won’t look.

Sue said she’ll teach me to hunt angels. Angels make good earrings. If you’re careful and don’t kill them when you grab ‘em, they keep wriggling their little wings when they’re hung from your ears and last like forever.

Dear Diary: please forgive me for not writing more, but I’m running off to hunt angels with Sue.

(Being an account of the true events culminating in the disappearance of Ms. M—–, of Lawrence, Kansas, May 15, 1987.)
“There’s a giant squid in the pantry.”
“I thought you hated calamari.”
“No! It’s alive. Or, well, I think so. It’s making a creepy noise. Anyway, get rid of it. Please?”
Aron sighed, tossed the newspaper on the floor, and levered himself out of the armchair. He opened the pantry door, but he didn’t see anything unusual, except that awful domestic burgundy Cele’s mother had brought. Certainly not a giant squid.
“I’m sorry, Cele, there’s nothing here.” He wasn’t sorry. He didn’t like squid.

This is the final piece in the Hollow Men series. Although this could be appreciated alone, three others have appeared (now revised):  part I, part II and part III.

The way to the land leviathan half-submerged in sand was dry and empty.  At dawn I dug a shallow trench and draped a cloth over the top to bury myself under.  At dusk I cut succulents for their amassed water, gathered my gear, and marched on.  Ahead the glowing eyes of the leviathan winked sleepily beneath the lamplight of the moon.

My heart panged slightly as the memory of a breeze rustled distant poppies, of the glorious waxing-moon colloquies on the probability of existence, the purpose of purpose, and the electability of those electing to use nonexistent words.  Yet I could no longer lay with my hands pillowing my head and chew the stems of bittersweet clover, much as I longed to sense the heat of a companion’s elbow seeping into mine.  The world swelled with too much.

As the hours waned into morning, details of the leviathan’s general features spread apart.  It was no longer a lounging leviathan but a ramble of crumbling buildings left in ruin.  When light pooled at the horizon, what had been eyebrows rose into an archway of tiny wedding bells weakly, brokenly tinkling their march.  The leviathan’s eyes became nothing more than mundane dimension portals.  The images portals drew me closer.

The scenes were vaguely familiar, changing each time as the eyelid of one screen slid into another:  me as a child rolling all the way to the bottom of the screw, there the giant man I’d assembled crossed deserts and mountains in a few strides, another a bridge spanning the screws.  One corner of my mouth drew up.  I touched the portal screen to visit these alternate realities, but a tough if thin film separated me from penetrating the eye.  It hardened further under my palm while I pondered the dwarf’s warning, the silliness of such dreams, and the water leaking from my eyes.

My eyes closed, and I dreamed of piecing together a giant to help me build bridges.  The screen softened, my hand slid through, and I toppled.

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