Family Gatherings

Sci-fi City Downtown by JadrienC

Sometimes you have to ‘enjoy’ company that you don’t, really. Lalantree knows this as well as anybody.

To give you a sense of just what I am dealing with, Loddi once asked me if I would rather lose my heart (and dignity) to a psychopathic baker, or flee the civilized world, giving up everything from clean pillow shams to NutriPills, only to waste away in boondocks replete with SABs1 and smugglers.

In my humble opinion, the baker of Loddi’s bipolar love was not psychopathic (I still buy rolls there), but merely possessed of poor judgement, seeing as she countenanced his Gothic style of flirting in the first place. Furthermore, it is well known that the Carwallian smugglers (the only smugglers within 50 lightyears to whom Loddi could have possibly been referring) live very well in their off-planet colonies, though the latter are admittedly remote places. Politics may be laissez-faire over in the Esten Economic Zone but they still don’t want blatant crime polluting the fine views and real estate values of the elite.

1Substance Abusers: a blanket term.

Read On.


Image from JadrienC.

Winter Ways

They were kissing, finally, and laughing and fumbling all over each other. Not caring for the moment that they were teammates, and yet bonded by their time on the ice.

She gives a gentle laugh, and she would have kept reading. But he breaks in.

“Maybe that’s why you keep picking up stories like these. You know you’ll never have the camaraderie that they do.”

It’s sudden and cruel. She has dropped the book and is already curling around her tears.

He has more to say but she can’t bear to listen, not at the moment. She knows that she won’t pick him up again for some time.

Riddle of the Sixth Day

No lack of justice fair to blind

My heart still beating trapped alight

In fires of Goliath’s lay

Mine the scorned watcher’s plight

I am in silence; my fellow men

Care nothing for all that has been

And that is, and that will be

In suffering their comfort’s ken

Not to speak and yet to bleed

Rent, until past selves recede

And then diminished, though it were

For no less than human flourishing

Yet I dare not cry indignity

At what greatness deals in apathy –

My anger would be lead to plead

Until they turned their backs on me

Were it that my heart would let

Me know their callous peace, and rest

If for a moment, if for a day

And the ever-present taint forget

Through thoughts and words and varied shades

Of all we share and all we trade

It dogs me where mirth should abound

Calm uphold, and surrender fade


Elizabeth Cook, 2016

Image: Nocturne in Black and Gold – The Falling Rocket by James Abbott McNeill Whistler


Length of Stone

They didn’t listen
When I tried to keep them from the stone
It ground along its groove
And at the sounds within
They mistook dread
For wonder flickering in my eye
Shuffling, he came out as promised
Outwardly hale and yet
I smelled the rot on his wrappings
He smiled at them
And I knew that his smile was
A skull strumming threads of flesh
He would turn to me next –
Realizing this, I evaporated
Back under the hangings
Milha said,
He could follow you, you know
But it had been a long two years
Walking behind him
Now, I held the length of my stride
Dearer than unsought miracles
I tied my bundle tightly
And went out into the desert
Elizabeth Cook, 2016

The Loidial Trade in Medium-Sized Domestic Animals

An excerpt

Unlike the cosine, which has grown tarnished and shriveled with the oxidation of centuries, the Law of Large Numbers (LLN) has kept remarkably well. As I crept through my apartment over the course of the next few days, expecting a black and orange and mud-coloured assault at every step, I recited the Law to myself.

The LLN states that, when one has the results of a large number of trials from a sample that is representative of a given population, the average of said results should be close to the expected value of the population entire. This sample average will tend closer to the population average as more trials are performed. Since the average number of humans killed or injured by klars per Old Earth Lunar Year (OELY) in the past few decades was precisely zero, and this constituted a good number of trials, the LLN would have me believe that I was safe. I should have gone forth boldly, and stopped slouching so much.

But under these circumstances – as close as I thought I would ever get to experiencing the antique ‘horror’ genre, in which I have precisely zero interest – it was difficult to convince myself that klars had not simply been saving the lives of the same number of human as they killed every year, thus ensuring a neutral profile for the species entire. Having an invisible beast with untrimmed, inch-long claws in one’s living quarters has this sort of effect.

Read more of Part 2 >>

Begin with Part 1 >>

The WeIrD World of Lalantree

…[he] sometimes pretended interest in my cosine functions. Namely, the ones which were plotted based off of his burnings. Because he really just wanted to talk about himself, and I remain deeply disturbed that we once snogged for upwards of two minutes.

Somewhere, in a galaxy and a future far, far away, Lalantree is running a grumpy commentary on the weird world she lives in. Most of the people there seem to be inoculated against absurdism and they enjoy cushy existences, unaware of Lalantree’s scathing inner dialogue.

Not that it would matter much if they knew what she was thinking.

Last time she was sitting in on an abnormal chair burning. Now, on the e3groupblog (where people whose names begin with E have colonized a pinprick of the internet) she is relating how she grudgingly acquired a pet.

She herself probably won’t thank you if you read about her latest adventure – but I will!

Even if statistics couldn’t tell us how to establish pronoun-equality, so that we might move on to the ideal gender-neutral terms for which social scientists wept, it could tell us that if we alternated between x and y for the foreseeable, infinite future, things were practically equal.

And practically was good enough.

Above quotations taken from the five-part story: A Chair Burning, and an Unfortunately Outspoken Girl