Queen Hazel and Beverly looked at each other without speaking for a long time. Silence rang through the throne room like an old song that you can’t quite remember the words to, but the melody haunts you.
Queen Hazel and Beverly stared at each other long enough that the present melted away, the years fell aside, and they were no longer women in their thirties, weighed down by decades of life. They were two young girls who had just discovered someone who understood them. Continue reading “Queen Hazel and Beloved Beverly – Part VIII”
Before they were all the way past the village, Beverly realized she’d traded screaming pain in her feet for splitting pain in her thighs and behind. She wasn’t used to riding horses, and she wasn’t at all sure she liked it. But at least they were moving at a good clip.
The scattered buildings on the fringe of the village passed swiftly by, and the black mare carried Beverly and knight up a craggy passage to the first of several fields of poppies. Beverly looked at the flowers, passing by in a blur, and half expected them to release a dizzying fog that would put her, the knight, and the horse all to sleep, as if they were merely characters in The Wizard of Oz. In that metaphor, who would be the wicked witch? Was it Queen Hazel? Or was she the wizard? Continue reading “Queen Hazel and Beloved Beverly – Part VII”
When Beverly reached the first building — a small cottage, not dissimilar to the one she stayed in her first night, with the family of bears — she stopped, leaned forward with her arms braced against her legs, and heaved until she caught her breath. Then she looked back. She couldn’t see Rocky and Ginny, so she wasn’t sure if they could see her.
Help from Ginny or not — and she had no right to expect any help from Ginny — it was time for Beverly to take the next step. She needed to ensconce herself in a crowd as soon as possible. They’d passed so many knights in the last two days… She dared not face one alone, without Ginny there to protect her. Continue reading “Queen Hazel and Beloved Beverly – Part VI”
The horse ran away before the knight and Ginny were done tangling with each other, and Beverly found herself pulled away, led by Rocky’s gentle paws. The raccoon guided her away from the fight and into the nearest bushes. More shrubs to hide in. Beverly didn’t think her life would ever make sense again.
Beverly jostled awake as Ginny changed her gait. The wolf slowed to a stop, and Beverly gazed through bleary, sleep-crusted eyes at the dark forest all around. She saw small lights, moving amongst the greenery, casting shadows and twinkling as leaves blocked and unblocked their light.
“Where are we?” Beverly asked. “What’s happening?” The lights made her think of the Christmas lights strung up year-round, across the shrubberies in her parents’ backyard. But in this world, they wouldn’t be anything so mundane. Besides, they moved, more like fireflies than anything stationary. Continue reading “Queen Hazel and Beloved Beverly – Part IV”
At first, Beverly was terrified of falling off or squeezing her knees too hard into Ginny’s sides. But the wolf didn’t object to her tight grip, and eventually Beverly relaxed into the uneven rhythm of the wolf’s steady gait.
The three of them traveled in silence, under the lightening sky.
“That thing you did with the colors,” Beverly said. “In the sky? With your paws?”
An excerpt from Queen Hazel and Beloved Beverly. If you’d prefer, you can return Part I or skip ahead.
Beverly stared at the raccoon — the talking raccoon — trying to figure out if this was a dream. She’d had very life-like dreams before. Usually, they were about finding her calico cat who’d gone missing a few years ago, or else all of her teeth crumbled inside her mouth, while she tried valiantly to keep them from falling out. Those two dreams had happened to her so many times she’d learned to recognize she was dreaming if Patches came home, and she tried to simply enjoy it until she woke up. Same thing if her teeth started crumbling, except less happy… she simply had to wait it out, and when she woke up, her teeth would be fine. Continue reading “Queen Hazel and Beloved Beverly – Part II”
An excerpt from Queen Hazel and Beloved Beverly. If you’d prefer to read in e-book or hard cover form, learn more here, or you can skip ahead to Part II.
Some moments in your life feel sewed together; a strand of consciousness pulls tight, and the memory of a single moment — unimportant yet somehow never-to-be-forgotten — surfaces in your mind.
When Beverly lay on the floor, hands clasped behind her head, the pose always brought her back to a moment from her childhood when she’d lain in the same position, staring up at the skylight in her best friend’s house, watching the clouds drift by. Continue reading “Queen Hazel and Beloved Beverly – Part I”
An excerpt from Otters In Space 3: Octopus Ascending. If you’d prefer, you can start with Chapter 1 or return to the previous chapter.
Emily’s world had ended before.
A prismatic kaleidoscope of lives had hung around her. Strings of seed pearls; each pearl an entire life waiting to unfold; an entire life she had created.
Before Emily had laid her eggs, she’d been a chef like she was now. That was her first life. And she’d shed it entirely, like a snake’s old skin, when she’d felt the urge to lay her eggs. She’d retreated to a nursery cave — like the ones in Choir’s Deep, except Emily had lived in a much smaller octopus city, much deeper in the ocean. Their ways were different. More ceremonial, less metropolitan. More bound by tradition, but it was a tradition Choir’s Deep octopi scorned. Continue reading “Otters In Space 3 – Chapter 30: Emily”
Blackness. Beautiful, soothing blackness. Not the infinitely deep blackness of space, nor the red-green blackness behind closed eyes, but a swirling fractal cloud of blackness. Watery blackness. Ink. Enough ink to be from a dozen octopuses.
When the water cleared, all the octopuses were gone. Kipper doubted for a moment that she’d seen their yellow eyes at all. Then she saw subtle crinkly curves in the gray metal walls. It was like an optical illusion — if she focused her eyes just right, all the walls were covered with clinging camouflaged octopi. If she let her eyes unfocus even a little, all she saw was plain metal walls. Continue reading “Otters In Space 3 – Chapter 29: Kipper”