Claire pulls her blankets tighter, burrows a bit deeper into her bed's comforting warmth.
She pointedly turns her back on the window.
Her patience breaks.
"Will you stop already?! I'm trying to sleep here!"read more
"Call me Ishmael" the doll said, though its path had never led it to the ocean and it had little regard for water. It thought that it was clever even so, and Ishmael was a better name than the one its witch had given it when he stitched its wings.
Ish (which was what the other dolls called it, and which it held was because they had no flare for the dramatic) was a aeronaut aboard the great ⸢Remembrance of Her Unwilling Blessing⸥. A sky-ship one hundred and sixteen meters from bow to stern, with a wingspan thrice that! The culmination of a witch's craft, powered by banks of witchwork hearts driving it forward and pumping reality away with their every bone-shuddering beat! Vast and powerful, held together only through the unceasing effort of a dozen lobotomized witch-houses ...read more
At 9:34 PM, the party in the red hall was asked to pause their activities and take part in a minute of silence to honor those who died to make their meal possible.
By 10:20 PM it became obvious that the estate was in danger of becoming understaffed.read more
"There! Do you see that?"
An endless twisted thread; a mat writhing beneath the surface. Sprouting bodies receding into the rotting soil; corpses blossoming into ghostly light. Ribs crunch beneath Abigail's feet; a smile lights her face.
Her companion tarries, unwilling to venture in; Rob's mothers told him so many times to stay away from the burial pits, not to risk whatever ordinance might yet be buried among the numinous dead.read more
"Oh!" Kassie exclaims, her trowel half-buried in warmth, "Mx. Squirmy Wormy! I didn't realize you were here!"
The worm bleeds, not especially politely, as Kassie pulls her trowel back out. Its bifurcated halves squirm; its eyes brim with pain.
"There's no need to be rude, Mx. Wormy!" Kassie lowers her voice, eyes flicking across the variegated heap. She's pretty sure none of the others can see her; all she can see of them is wingtips blazing with light. "It was an honest mistake."read more
Mouse never returned.
The rest of them—Stance and Tide and Ashes and Sparrow—always knew that it was a possibility. The ruins were dangerous, they knew that well enough; the unquiet dead, the ancient traps ...
But Mouse was supposed to be better.
She was the best of them.read more
Rot, beautiful though it is, is merely one extant form of decay. Deep processes continue beneath the earth's crust in the same way as they do within any corpse, differing only in magnitude and result—
"Almost there, just another good hit—"
A pickaxe crashes against stone; the wall crumbles. Light breaks through for the first time in longer than the emptiness within can remember. It's dazzling, overwhelming—a dim lantern's glow magnified and refracted, burning through the countless crystals that line its walls—
"Holy shit! Hey, come look at this!"read more
Mouse creeps through the ruins on wary feet, careful of each step. There is so much here that she does not understand; so much that she has always been taught to fear. Etched plastic and fallen glass, the reaching bones of long-dead godlets—
Stillborn, or so she's always been told. Pathetic things reaching up towards the unattainable.
It doesn't matter to Mouse, not really; that was all long ago. All she needs to know is how to slip around whatever ancient hunger might yet linger within them—and that's so easy!read more
The ground is warm beneath Doll's back as she lies in the fire's ruins, its erstwhile host's half-frozen blood splattered all around her. Her skin is pristine; her witch's wrath was careful when that pitiful storyteller finally turned its teeth on her.
She enjoys the warmth with the same sad hunger as she might regard her last meal before execution, were she a thing which could die. There's precious little of it left in the world, and the false-sun's baleful eye leeches more away with each passing day.
It's finally quiet.read more