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Micro-fiction Publications

Tale Foundry: Sacred Geometry

Original Post on Tale Foundry

The Sacred Shape of Xuralys
By C.W. Spalding

In the age of eight aspects—fifth age of goddess Xuralys, tenth eon after shape disfigured chaos—Ruvoque took up a dirk. Chaos was held a bay, but not overcome. For all creatures must lose the shape of Xuralys; and return to the sableblood sky as nothing more than rot. Thus Ruvoque went to the Tetrahedron for sacred geogrification.

“Even the shapeless takes on shape,” he intoned.

The tip of the incense snarled and spit smoke; its dying stank of ginger and limes.

“And even the shaped must one day dissolve,” Gala said to finish his prayer.

He glanced at her: silver robes and silver eyes. She met his gaze and jerked her chin toward the table. Hurry up, you’re falling behind again you dolt. He fought down a smile as he turned to the altar and the starlight trapped in its runepyre.

“But in this we make the exchange,” they said together.

“In this we shrug further into our shape-” Gala began.

Ruvoque finished: “And bind up the chaos.”

The starlight burned from red to white, contracting on itself like a scream. And its light turned to liquid fire; as tangible as water but as sharp as a thousand dirks and three times as deadly. Ruvoque took a steadying breath, catching Gala’s eye again as he shrugged his own silver robes up his arm. Gala had already done the same and clutched her own dirk in her hands so tight her knuckles turned white.

“We make our bones bright,” Gala whispered.

“We make our bones bright,” Ruvoque echoed.

They drew the dirks across their arms and thrust the open wound beneath the dripping ball of starmelt.

***

When Ruvoque woke up, he had been carried up and left on the mountain. He pulled up his sleeve, looking for the cut. But his skin had no mark. Had he then failed? No. As the daystar crested the peaks around him, he saw the shape of his skin had changed and run over with fire of its own.

“The sacred geometry,” he breathed.

Now to find Gala and the starmelt and perfect their shapes.

Categories
Micro-fiction Publications

The Wanderlogue

Wren wrote everything. She told herself stories before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She said them under her breath and she said them in her head. She said them in her language and in someone else’s. But however she said them, they always ended up in the Wanderlogue beneath her pillowcase. 

The Wanderlogue helped her remember and allowed her to forget.

“I walked along the riverbank and met a lovely swan named Golly?” Elijah sneered.

“Put it back,” Wren said.

But his hand squeezed its spine and he said: “This is stupid.”

“Put it back,” Wren pleaded.

“Or what?” he said.

“Lija, put it back!”

“I won’t. It’s mine now,” he said.

And he hopped off her bed, shoving past her and locking himself in his room. Wren went after him and banged on the door until her mother screamed for her to “be quiet, you stupid girl” from down the stairs. Wren looked at the door with tears prickling her eyes.

“Give me back my book,” she said, her voice wobbling through the door.

“I won’t,” he said from the other side.

And then Wren heard the worst sound in the world: the sound of shredding pages. She grabbed the doorknob again, this time jiggling it while screaming. And she didn’t stop until her mother came and gave her a spanking. On the other side of the door, she could hear the Wanderlogue being dismembered, one page after the other. And, sitting on her bed with an aching bum, she felt her stomach rolling around like an armadillo in her belly. She drew in a cry-stutter breath and hugged the pillow to her chest.

“What’s the matter?” Golly the swan asked from the shadows beneath her bed.

“He’s ruined it,” Wren coughed.

“Well, that’s no trouble at all,” said Ts’orak wetly from the darkness. “We can take care of one little boy.”

“I don’t want to take care of anyone,” Wren sobbed.

But there was a muffled “oof” from the room next door. And Ts’orak let out a giggle.

Categories
Micro-fiction Publications

Tale Foundry: Work Hazard

Original Post on Tale Foundry’s Page

The Oven
By C.W. Spalding

On the oven hung a sign which read “Do Not Enter.” Petre passed it every day as he loaded up the trolleys. The wheeled devices were so heavy, running in their treads like a train on a rail, and each one was chocked full of uncooked morsels of chicken. Each trolley was filled, pushed in, sealed up, and then set to bake.

“You about done?” Wurman asked.

“Just ’bout,” Petre replied.

He wiped the sweat from his brow on the sleeve of his plaid shirt and placed the last basket of legs on the cart. Wurman turned away to his own baskets; his quota was not nearly finished.

Man, it was hot. And loud. The industrial fans did little to quell the intense heat of the ovens’ baking.

“I’ve gotta piss,” Wurman said.

He was already behind.

“Hurry back,” Petre said warningly.

Wurman went hobbling off and Petre turned to push in his cart. But as he put his shoulder to the edge of the trolley, it didn’t budge. That was odd. He grunted with effort, pushing with his hips too. Still nothing. So, he glanced into the dark long tube of the oven.

There must be something on the rail.

When he stepped inside, the oven was cool. The tube was stale with the smell of grease. It muffled the monotonous roar of the factory. As Petre peered into the darkness, he pulled out his mini-flashlight.

Oh, there was the source of his troubles. A stray basket which must have fallen off the night before lay wedged with its corner in the rail’s divot. Quickly, he went inside to grab it. And he chuckled as he picked it up. Stupid thing.

But then he heard a rumble and he turned to get a face full of trolley as it was pushed in.

“Wurman?! Wurman!”

He could see the door, over the trolley. He cried out. But not louder than the factory’s noise. The last thing he saw was Wurman smiling, having done a good deed for his friend Petre, as the door… swung shut. The oven hurred to life.

Categories
Micro-fiction Publications writing

Tale Foundry: Creature

Leviathanslayer

Its teeth were like half-eaten apples: yellow and highly compostable. So Wynless buried them between the petunias and the lilies. As fertilizer. They sat, thirty whole, thirty needling teeth no larger than her pinky’s tip. And sprinkling them over the naked dirt she saw them wriggling through the soil like mealworms. The flowers grew up even as she scattered them. The bulbs got swollen, bloomed, and died before her very eyes.

Its stain-glassed eyes, though shriveled and smaller than her own, she hollowed out. Those she set over the flames of her candles at night to snuff them out, and they glittered like the death of a storm beneath the touch of a hot wick.

Its still-soft claws, dark and unnicked, she ran through a bracelet wire around her wrist. Its foot beans she plucked and crushed into an emerald paste which proved barely enough for a tube of her lipstick. Its wings she treated into leather for fingerless gloves, so small was the swath that remained.

The bony plate of its tail she heated for a tea-sized spoon and the vertebrae of its back served only to read the clattering fall of her future soon to come. Its quicksilver scales she pulled off its skin, forced up away from its flesh using her own bloodied fingernails for leverage. Each one no larger than the size of her own nail, each one bright and new as the moon when it’s heavy with light. From those silvery scutes she made herself a corset, she had only enough to lace the scales as bones across it, bones as hard and unforgiving as the crackling frost of her own, frozen-over soul.

It would have become Leviathan, the dragon of profundity. It’s name was Hutchley, who had worn away its egg-tooth off the tip of its snout beneath her back porch. Wynless was the Leviathanslayer, inheritance of infinity; Wynless was the Hutchleykiller, traitor of the honest heart.

And thus decorated with the many pieces of an odd little creature, she wove a prayer to the steel-domed sky.

Categories
Micro-fiction Publications writing

Tale Foundry Post :)

His Eye

Catching Jakaugh’s eyes had always been an unfair contest for Riley. How could she catch his seven when she had only two? And yet…

“Are you sure?” Riley asked with anticipation.

He blinked, one eye after the other, no two closing at once. She usually looked at the two that most easily matched her own, the pair as red as river clay. But today she glanced at them all: the pair over his brows which glimmered the same shade as blood from a papercut; and the pair which sat in the hollow of his cheeks which had the shimmer of spilled ink; and the one which sat at the root of his tongue, which she could only just barely see as he’d opened his mouth when she set her fingertips on his lips.

That one she’d never seen before.

That eye he’d never shown to anyone.

He swallowed, his throat bobbing against her other hand, but he did not move as she put her hand in his mouth and grabbed for the eye to pull it out. Riley had never done something so horrifying, but it was much easier than she’d expected. She dug in her nails around the eye, feeling the hot rush of blood, Jakaugh’s head jerking against the wall. But then the terribleness of it was over, and she pulled the thing out and let it set, still warm, in her hand.

Naked except for tatters of tongue, the eye stared up at her. Its iris was the color of her own soul, and its pupil was wide and dark and flat as the whole night sky. Seeing it, Riley forgot about Jakaugh’s rattling cough. She saw only the eye, and its reflection.

“Do you believe me now?” Jakaugh asked wetly.

Well, his eye seemed to tell the truth. It seemed as pure and truthful as the sunrise. It reflected her own face as though it were the face of a stranger.

“I guess,” she mumbled.

“Then-”

“I know.”

She closed her hand and kept closing until the eye popped and flowed out through her fingers.