Being a Complete List of Those Works, Chronologically

Winter Things

The snow fell in voluminous silence–burying, freezing, killing. The season of long night had crept upon them. Months of noiseless darkness and cold, where the sun itself was a bleak and pale smear in a gray sky for what blamelessly little time it stayed in that dreary heaven.

The black-green mass of the looming pines stood an unnaturally quiet vigil beyond the wooden palisade of Fort-du-Eaurouge; within their vexing boughs hid crowding skeletal legions of white birch, whose barren spears peaked above the ragged tree line.

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An Offering for Crocodiles

He drew unnaturally even circles in the coarse, wet sand at midnight as the moon shone full and white-as-silver down on both he and the death-silent river that slept nearby, its ancient shores blanketed by reeds and rushes.

It was dangerous to be here at night alone, not just because of the lurking crocodiles that hunted from the dark foliage, who thought less-than-nothing of snacking upon a man’s flesh, but because of the need for solitary seclusion to do the work he was about, lest it fail utterly…worse than fail.

A set of careful sidelong glances up-and-down the lunar-limned shadows of the shoreline, as far as eyes could see in the moon’s pale light, revealed nothing and no one to interrupt or view the black-and-secret rites of his need–rites first performed by antediluvian man to leering shadows stretching across cavern walls.

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Fishy Weather

I hate it when it rains fish.

July comes around, it rains fish. Guaranteed. Every year. So you get used to the fish storms in July. Or you’re supposed to… That’s what some people say anyways.

But I honestly don’t know anyone who doesn’t grumble and complain about getting fish in your boots, or smacked in the forehead with a mackerel, or glancing up and getting a trout in the eye. I just pull my hood over my head and stomp home, or to school, or wherever I’m going, since you can’t take the bus during fish season.

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It’s been aching and eating at him. Feels like there’s just a hollowness underneath the skin and in the bones. Sitting up, standing, walking, moving his arms…it’s all an effort, like dragging lead weights.

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The Strange Case of Bebary Bee

The strange case of Bebary Bee began with one of the most mundane and innocuous objects: a spoon. Bebary Bee, like most good geeks, had gone to see the Matrix when it came out in the theaters, and like most very confused geeks, believed it revealed an astounding truth to him about the true reality of the world, which led shortly to his jumping off the roof of his school building and falling four stories to his early and untimely death in the misguided belief that a spoon (and old Uri Geller videos on YouTube) had shown him the truth of reality.

But the case of Bebary Bee didn’t end with his death. It started with it.

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The Faint Prince

Arumya was a warrior-prince of the great city of Davish, whose fighting legions were known for their discipline and virtue. When he rose to become king, he would lead the armies of Davish as his father led them now.

There was but one problem. Prince Arumya fainted at the sight of blood.

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(…For You, NaNoWriMo (Be Afraid)…) Public Display of Shame

Public Display of Shame I-V

This will not be funny. Oh, it’s meant to be, but it won’t be. It will be black and dreadful, full of morose angst and terrible failed attempts at clever wordplay and so forth, like puns that aren’t because I don’t really know how to do puns. Except for here and there. And that’s just blind luck.

It will be absurd, or so I will tell the legions of fans screaming outside my door…the ones in my head, who are keeping me from writing this novel. It’s them or the migraine. You see? Already, it is terrible. It will be a terrible, terrible fifty-thousand words.

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Misha’s Rest

The dust had been swirling all day in small cyclones that lifted off the barren path outside her hovel, spiraling into the air and adding to the haze cloaking the distant purple mountains. Had the local priest of the shrine been visiting, he would have thought it a bad omen and said the desert spirits were agitated. Misha simply frowned and kept her passing superstitions to herself; she had enough to worry about.

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When Kritha Met Misha

From worlds far across the desert sands they met, the dark girl with pale skin burying something in the ground, burning feathers and sticks that held a stench about them like that of carrion baking under the hot sun, and sooty, gray-white smoke rising up from their ashes to swirl in the breeze like tiny, angry spirits with terrible, fanged faces.

Perched above her in the branches of a strong desert tree — his graying once-red feathers hidden amid the patchwork green leaves, a tattered ghost of age and all the conflicts visited upon him during his time beneath the olive sky and black sun — the bird-man watched quietly. Much more quietly than the noisy girl below kneeling in the white sand, chanting and breaking, cursing and burning and pleading like a child sacrificing to the long-dead spirits of the desert wastes.

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Waking the Dead

“We have a problem.” It was the kid.

“What’s that?”

“Ossun’s gone missing.”

I lifted my head slightly to look out at the span of orange-twilight sky beyond the tent flap, and squinted at the painful light. I was spending too much time sleeping in the tent. It was the damn savanna heat. “What do you mean? Eaten by a lion? What?”

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Cellular Drift

Grabbing the cell phone was a last second decision. He almost walked out the door without it. He had his wallet, shoes, jacket, keys. Just a quick run to the store to pick up some condiments they needed.

He never made it home for dinner.

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Solar Farming

“The biggest solar farm ever is due in 2013, but wouldn’t it make sense to make homes with solar panels? Am I missing something here?” asked Keith.

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Sing, poor Elvasa, sing like the wind across the dunes, sing to the bones of your father, and carry him with you all your life, until your children bear up your own bones unto the winds…

The song died away, drifting slowly away across the red evening darkness towards the blue edging upon the horizon and becoming lost in eternity. The gathered tribe drifted away, the ritual completed as Elvasa admired the shining ivory blade he now held, turning the thin crescent over to admire each side of the weapon…and to remember…

“Your father is with you now forever,” the old bone-singer’s voice broke into his reverie, and Elvasa looked up from the new blade into his milk-white eyes. The voice trembled with age, but there was still strength and tenor in it, subtle shadings of skill that remained eternally young lurking beyond the aged flesh. He wondered how the old man knew where to look without eyesight.

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In the Walls

You can’t have the lights on, it must be dark — your eyes must be blinded. That’s the only way to find them, because you can’t see them. They move at the speed of light, never standing still long enough for any fleshy human optics to glimpse, running through the wires. But you can hear them, humming and oscillating in the dark.

That’s why it has to be dark.

There’s an old pop culture claim that says when one of your senses is lost, your other senses compensate. I don’t know if that’s true, but it seems you can hear better when your eyes aren’t distracted by light and color, shape and motion. You become more attentive to the signals your ears are sending you.

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Do Not Go Gentle

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

My mother’s voice wavered as she began to read the poem aloud; her voice flowed thick from her throat but quick through her lips, slowly filling the room as her lungs found the air and with it strength.

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Tales of the Almighty Doppleganger

“I’m all ears,” he said, and slyly changed form into the Kelvarhian Wahls Beast, which did indeed consist entirely of ears.

It was also completely and utterly extinct, for simple reasons of biology far too obvious to repeat here.

Elder Chess

They were part of a game — a strange variant of chess discovered on a secret and disturbing corner of the world-wide web — played with friends who were as repulsed and fascinated with the strange forms upon the board as I had been when I had decided upon its purchase.

I kept them under a glass case, carefully locked away every night, the strange pewter figures sprawled across a plain of unsteady blocks of black-and-white abutted by red and nameless colors that seemed to shift position when one wasn’t looking.

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The clouds curdled thick and gray in the sky; somewhere, a patch of brilliant blue shone.

“You’ve been corrupted by the forces you seek to control,” he shouted hoarsely at the back of the figure atop the rise ahead of him, who in turn stared out across the city below and sky above.

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The Dog

He had put all his anger into the black dog. Every ounce, every trickle, every whisper; he filled up on it and put it into the dog, away from him.

As such, he didn’t like to think about what was out back, out in the broken little house that stood at the far edge of the long, narrow lot. He didn’t like to think about what spent its days hidden in the dark interior, behind rotting wooden planks, beneath loose, age-curled shingles.

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The Lost Ship

I will not die…I will not die…I WILL NOT DIE..! The words, which would have been screamed if he had the air or the time, echoed in his head as the plasma burst surged through the ship’s bridge — an instant, blinding, killing flare that left utter darkness in its blazing wake.

It was up from this darkness he swam some unknown time later, eyes miraculously opening, body aching with a thousand agonies, but moving, not seared to atomic dust as he should have been had the plasma struck.

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Today, I came back to myself after two weeks. I don’t know where I was or what I was doing, only realized the vague disquiet that had been whispering its existence into my ear had been truth all along — I had been going through the motions for two weeks.

But how does a man find out where his soul has been for two weeks when he discovers it returning from having gone missing? It is not as though it returns with memories and recollections to add to those of the shell’s empty weeks of shambling through what we term life.

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The Seven Suns

It happened that long ago the people of Lim Xhe would labor in their bountiful fields beneath the brilliant light of seven suns that soared through the heavens each day, for the gods had created the world with seven suns in the sky that there would be light everywhere. But the people complained for the fields were too hot, as each of the seven suns shone with light and heat upon the bare backs of the men.

But what could they do? For the gods had made seven suns in the sky, and it was not their place to change it. Even if they knew how.

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Upon a Distant Star

Ghalek stared out across the red sands and broken orange-brown rocks at the thin white band set across the desert’s breast, and the shining spike rising up into the sky above it, the glittering hues of the god’s shields dancing in the empty, white sky above it. The bloated corpse of the black sun sagged on the rim of the world behind him, painted crimson by the dust hazing the air and throwing long, sharp shadows that stretched towards the distant city like grasping claws.

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The Ogres & the Stars

I was barely seventeen when I decided to cross the black deserts of the Kai and brave the deadly midnight dunes of Kirrel, said to be full of lying ghosts and hungry, vile beasts.

No longer a child, dressed now in sacred star-patterned robes of blue and white worn by the men of the Kaihk, my parents wept as I left with all I owned upon my back — and little it was. There was nothing more they could do but curse and weep at my foolishness, for I was a man and they could no longer protect me from my dreams.

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Dilbert Doesn’t Care About Science Fiction

Dilbert has a problem.

But it’s one he doesn’t know he has.

Dilbert doesn’t care about science-fiction.

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Black Flames

Thirteenth-Jaguar-Sun did not like the smell that lingered in the air.

It was like the smell of the great temple fires that burned at the foot of the temples to Child-of-the-Bloody-Moons when the winds shifted and blew their black smoke down over the city: it was the charnel smell of flesh taken by flame, the smell of sacrifice, of bodies given over to the eternal fires by the priests.

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Dancing in the Dark

The following is a handwritten scrap torn from a journal. It is unattributed.

There are colors dancing in the darkness that no one can percieve. Tonight, only, I saw the deeper blackness drawing all things into it and shied away from depths blacker than space, blacker than the caverns beneath the Earth.

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The Thousand-foot Step

The red-orange haze of the far horizon as it curved away north and south bled into the pink-and-white of the sky, the sun boiling red and angry hot in the sky above like a drop of shimmering crimson blood on the flesh of the air.

And near the edges of the sky, separated from each other by celestial arcs, hung three small objects: two were pale white and washed out in the brightness of the daytime sky, lumpy and irregular, their shadows the color of the sky. The third was little more than a metallic glimmer in the heavens, though its brightness would grow in intensity as dusk approached. These were the three moons.

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Across the Void

He was a spark of consciousness in the machine, a glimmering pinpoint of brilliant light wrapped in tubes of dark, cold emptiness and lifeless metal. But he was an important spark. He was the heart of the mechanical beast drifting through the black universe.

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Yellow Skulls

Insects buzzed like thick clouds in the air as we rode up to the grassy, yellowed hill. The white sun burned down upon us from the cloudless blue sky above. The heat was oppressive and dry.

A rocky, winding path led between the craggy hills of dry grass and dusty stone. We followed it around the side of another of the nondescript hills, this one courted by a large pile of broken stones resting upon its side…except our passage by revealed this hill wasn’t so nondescript after all.

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Dragonfly & Cricket

He sat upon a shelf of rounded stone exposed among the verdant grasses of the hillside, staring up at the pulsing flickers of quiet lighting chasing one another through the clouds and painting the sky with an ever-shifting series of unfocused light and dark shapes.

The light show had been going on for hours without a single cry of thunder, just the light filling up the heavens in broad, bright sheets, nearly drowning the swaths of stars that shone through the tattered and oft-broken canopy.

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Red Sun

…After the Wars of Extinction, the Cleansing Wars, the Champions of Rajaat became the all-powerful sorcerer-monarchs of Athas, overthrowing their master when it was found that they, too, would become victims of his desire to return Athas to the near-mythical Blue Age…

“So, do you think we did the right thing?”

“Destroying the world?”

They looked out upon the barren dust, the heaped corpses their armies were piling onto a massive, smoking funeral pyre downwind. Carelessly tossing bodies of comrades and enemies alike onto the blazing, stinking pile. The billowing black column of greasy smoke could be seen for miles. Centuries ago, such a scene might have disturbed either of them.

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Misha’s Rejection

His fingers had withered to gray, brittle sticks, worn down by years of rape and defilement, of rampant excess and the sickness that comes with too much power left unchecked and unopposed. This punishment extended to the rest of his body as well, which was equally withered and decrepit. He wore skin the pale color of the diseased, skeletally emaciated except for the bloated paunch of his naked belly, his back bent and cratered with ridges of bone and thin flesh.

“Why do you hate me so?” the decrepit man queried, his voice a strained whisper of age, the whole done without gesture and immersed in a slack wantonness.

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Raven Swallows the Sun

In the second Year of Dragons during the reign of the illustrious Emperor Flying Cloud of Silk, of the tenth century of the Noble Dynasty of Sleeping Water, a great festival was held in the province of Exalted Daughter of the Moon in the capital city of that province, and citizens came from all corners of the province to celebrate. Among them were many who had never been to a great city before.

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Night had crept cold around the mountain, wrapping the air in an icy blanket and sucking the day’s heat from the barren stones on the heights. Thorsur slapped his numb fingers against his thick, bare arms and breathed a cloud of white from between clenched teeth. It did little to warm him on this night.

He sat in a crevice long ago formed from rock slabs fallen off the mountain side, without the warmth of a forbidden fire, and stared down into the dark valley below. Somewhere in that black mass was a forest, cloaked by night, and his village, visible only as inviting, burning-orange sparks in the enveloping darkness around it. High above, the night was clear and the stars shone blue and white, glittering crisply in a sky that seemed brighter than the land below, a dark blue opposed to the earth’s inky black.

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Fifteen Steps

To be published in The Writhing Dark ebook anthology in 2014.

Sun, Ship, Siren

They blamed the sun, so jolly and yellow, too full of itself and too bright, hanging up above the world. Well, that is what the most-bitter said, for the sun was beautiful and bright, and brought joyous color to the world, like the emerald green of grass and the endless blue of the sky. These were colors no one wished to miss, brought out only by the sun.

Still, everyone blamed the sun, the beautiful sun, for drawing the sirens up out of the depths to sing their terrible, beautiful songs and keep little girls from sailing their toy boats across their swimming pools on sunny days.

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God of Blood and Rain

Patience had never been a virtue – not one of his in any case.

He let the fine, dusty red sand sift through his fingers to blow away in the weak and inconstant breezes that teased the thin air of the deep deserts. The black sun hung above him — a quarter of its journey away from the blazing, dry heat of noon — sucking the last vestiges of moisture from the air and soil, eating the pale sky in its endless, cyclical fury.

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The Smell

The smell in the bathroom was hideous, as though something had died in there…well, perhaps not quite that bad. Unfortunately, the janitor only came in once a week, and there was no one else I could complain to; this was the evening shift, the seven-to-midnight drag, so I would be alone in the building until sometime just prior to midnight. Hours to go.

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He was going down under the mountains, down to find the roots of the earth from which the stone peaks grew. Down where it was said fiery dragons dwelt, gnawing on the roots of the mountains, stealing away precious metals and gems to hoard and hide in cavernous galleries.

The old women told of a world his people had lived upon before they lived here, where the dragons had gnawed away the mountains and the earth had crumbled into the sky, leaving endless clouds and winds, with not even a rock to stand upon or a pebble to throw. They called the lost world Iapater. Some said if the dragons gnawed upon the mountain roots long enough, this world too would crumble apart and fall into the sky.

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Mun and the Giant

The almost invisible line floating above the glass-smooth water suddenly tensed and jumped, the dark pole it was attached to bent and quivered as something on the other end fought like mad to escape.

“Caught yourself a giant,” Mun commented to his companion, who lay at the foot of a tree on the pond’s bank with his double-horned, fur-lined helmet angled down over his eyes, arms crossed over the stained leather vest wrapping his slowly rising-and-falling chest.

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