Thursday, August 29, 2013


Sarchi & Keating is an old firm, with old money behind it. There are wards against the dead burned into the floors and ceilings and carpet thick enough for feet to drown in. Keating himself had begged my aid, bent his pride enough to say they needed a magician. Seven businesses in the district have been crippled by bad debt and market implosion in the last week and he thought they would be next. I accepted payment as a favour owed and enter after hours because they'd never let me actually explore the place if staff were present.

They have security, a Servant from the outer edges of reality, some tentacled monstrosity that had once been one of their enemies. I leave it to Charlie for her to eat and test herself against and walk inside. There are other alarms and I tell them not to work at first, then force them when they resist. It only takes seconds after that to find the disturbance at the core of their problem.

Sarchi's office is the publicity office, all rich carpets, antique desk and bookcases lined with ancient volumes. About half of the were in tongues humans weren't meant to read, which didn't surprise me. S&K have a long reputation for helping – or dealing with – things that weren't human at all. Which means they should have figured out what was going on here long before hiring me, but there are always things no one wants to believe in, monsters so nasty that knowing about them would have given even a lawyer a sleepless night. Maybe even two.


The creature rummaging in the floor safe spins at my voice. It is small and green of skin and hair, sporting a perfectly tailored suit and a smiling of gleaming gold teeth. "Magician. Whatever Keating is paying you, I can double it."


"Well, shit." The leprechaun lets out a sigh and then gestures sharp with his right hand, speaking words of power. The room shudders and twists, bending inward.

"No." A magician is the world, when we have to be. The world snapped back into shape with the ringing of distant bells. "To bind and to banish, to stir and call to sleep: this is what a magician is, little one. You are greed, and greed does not go near deep enough to bind a binder."

"I am more than greed," he says in a voice like curdling milk.

"Revenge, too."

"You know what will happen if you bind or banish me, magician. The country itself might fall."

"That could be true. Why are you doing this?"

"Their money funded the redcaps. They are everything we are, twisted into everything we should not be. Blood money," he hisses, and the fury in his voice is more than enough to rip the economy of a country apart.

"And you have proof?"

He closes his eyes and opens them, his true name dancing behind them. For such as he that was truth enough; offer enough for me to bind him so greatly his power wouldn't touch the world at all when he died.

"What do you need?"

The leprechaun blinks. "There is a safe naywards of the building; I need access."

I walk back and poke my head out the door. I can't hear any destruction or feel the play of alien energies in the air. "Charlie?"

She comes walking down the hallway: the entire corridor is decorated in intestinal juices and smells of rotten eggs and rotting fish. I focus my will a moment and the smell and remains of the creature are gone from her; the killing look in her eyes lessens only a little.

"There were three of them." A gods claws glitter brightly about her fingers, furious hunger in her eyes. "Do you know what I just ate?"

"Just because you're a god-eater doesn't mean you need to eat them. Especially since they weren't gods. You could have scared them enough to flee."

"They didn't," she bites out.

I decide not to point out that I am half-considering fleeing and step back into the room. The safe is as unreal as Sarchi & Keating can make it but staff do need to access it. I open possibilities to the leprechaun, who wraps himself in the essence of an employee and gets to work.

"Magician." Charlie scowls. "You can't mean to –."

"Ms. Sarchi, I do." I don't turn, mostly because I have no desire to see what she turns into next. "I may be out of sorts at the moment, but I would have noticed if this place had more than one Servant guarding it. And Charlie would not eat it since she hates seafood."

"You think," the thing behind says in a voice felt more than heard, "we will permit this?"

"Yes. Because there are other worlds. You can start over. And because I just banished your Servant and Charlie wouldn't hesitate at eating a lawyer no matter how bad the aftertaste."

Ms. Sarchi's silence is a thing of grinding glass and bone. I just turn and smile, taking in shapes and forms without seeing them. Useful trick when facing off against mind-melting horrors. Also when watching children's cartoons.

The creature twists elsewhen and on itself and is gone a moment later; the leprechaun never even noticed, intent on ripping apart financial records. I leave him to it and walk into the hallway and down it. No entrails, no horrible smells, only Charlie looking dishelved and scowling at me.

"You said I'd eat a lawyer?" she snarls, but keeps herself seeming human with an effort.

"Never let them see you bluffing. Especially if you have no cards." I walk past toward the exit. "We're done here: want some sushi, my treat?"

"I don't like seafood," she says.

"You don't –? Really?" I get out between laughs, leaving her utterly baffled as we head outside. The laughter feels good, though the fast food place she insists we eat at smothers it rather quickly half an hour later.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday: Googleology

Via the monkey, with special dispensation to change it. So Charlie gets another fic, this one just under the 500 word mark.

No one ever said it was easy to eat a god. What people don't say is that it happens all the time. The Christians have transubstantiation, where wafers and wine and literally flesh and flesh, and most religions have some form of theophagy: kings ground up into mulch, grain was eating gods, stuff like that. Children drinking milk from breasts might be the same sort of act, when their parents are as gods to them. Like I said, it happens all the time.

Also, I used google. When you're travelling with a magician who says he's using you to scare people with, you read stuff. I've learned there's a video game called god-eater, also that Aztec gods sacrificed themselves to begin a new age. Not sure there's many religions where the gods themselves do such things, but the internet is a craptastic source to go on.

There are things I won't google.

No one talks about what happens after. You eat a god, things get better. Ta-fucking-da, as if magic tricks were real magic. As if things were simple. The monster in my closet was a god, see. My dad made him, the magician opened the closet door. I ate the god. Being a god-eater is something I can do. No one will tell me why, so there's that. But the first time went wrong. First times do that. I became what I ate, or it become me. Slipped inside. Is part of me.

I've eaten stuff since. It all went down. The god stayed in me like skin under my skin. Only not like that at all. It's an itch that only goes away when I let it out, and it is power, and anger, and strength. What's becoming a force of nature if not addictive?

There are things I won't google. Answers I won't look for.

If I hold it right, if I balance it, I get power and can still eat stuff: energy, magic, gods. Does squat for burning off calories; I asked him about that, and the magician just looked utterly baffled as if he didn't know why anyone would worry about such things. He keeps telling me magicians aren't entirely human. I say he's still a man, at least sometimes, and he just smiles and bows as if it's a compliment.

Thing is, he's becoming a friend. A good one, but if I had to choose between him and what's inside me? Between that and eating gods? I think I'd give it all up. I don't know what I'd become. But there was a monster in my closet and it watched over me. Became me. We protect each other. (Sometimes I say 'we' when I mean I.) No one ever said it was easy to love a god either, and I wonder what we're becoming. What I am can scare the world, and I'm a little scared to learn more.

There are things I won't google. Answers I won't look for. Questions I won't ask.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


[Sequal to Divers]

My name is Charlie. A normal one as names go, and my life used to be normal too. Oh, it would be broken if you saw my parents from the outside but broken is a kind of normal too. Or was until dad brought a magician home with stories of the monster in my closet. The magician walked into the closet and came out with the monster. He said it was a god and said it would die without me.

I ate it. More became it, I think, but eating gods is what I do. In the past two weeks I've learned a lot of crazy things and gone a little crazy myself. He says if I call up the god-monster-me too often I won't be human anymore. Some days I'm not sure human is something I want to be. Nothing new: every teenager thinks that, but I don't think most can act on it.

Here's what I know: he is a magician, and a magician is magic. It's a being more than a doing: he's pulled to things, and pulls in turn and most of it just happens with little more than a few words that have angles and depths words don't normally have, or a smile. I've never thought of smiles as being a poker-face until him. Magic is something he is; eating gods is something I do.

Yesterday was a god gone sour, reaching somewhere Other for power. I distracted it by being me. He bound it with his shadow and collapsed after. He barely woke this morning, and we don't have money to pay for another night at the motel after this one. Money would just fall into his lap if we needed it. Not me. So I leave him sleeping and go walking.

Magic answers need, but so do other things as well. Things not human, or playing at human. Creatures gods are walls against. He won't tell me what I am, not wanting to limit me (or just not to tell me; magicians are hard to read) so I just walk through the town. It's close to midnight, the prom of last night having given way to a dull silence. Power lines hum overhead but most of the street lights remain broken from what happened last night.

I walk and think about magicians, and magic, and needing help. I don't think about names: one doesn't need a magician to tell you names are power but I prowl the entire town twice in an hour until the shadows finally offer up –

I call up the god in me without thinking. I have claws, then, and armour, but I can't bear to use them and they slip away moments later like dreams I've never had. The man that slips out of the shadows as if taking off a dressing gown is tall and thin. That much makes sense. The rest: the smile, the eyes of honey, the cheekbones – the cheekbones – the curve of muscle and bone and steps, it's all something more. Past beauty and into awe. I can't hurt him. I can't even hate him. I can barely breathe. The god in me puts enough distance for that, anger adds another distance.

"What are you?" My voice is a betrayal, weak and cracked.

He smiles. It hurts wonderfully, and I know he can be a she with that smile, and other things beside. His voice is as warm as his eyes when he speaks. "A wanderer. Seeker. Traveller. Ower of debt."

Ower is odd, and I cling to the oddness. You spend your whole life thinking beauty is skin-deep, knowing that's always a lie, and then something like this proves that to be a lie. That's what this creature is like. I think his pancreas would be a work of art, if he had one. He's not a god. I think gods would worship him, and I don't know why.

"The magician." I don't make it a question, my voice hard even to my ears.

His smile flatters at some memory. "He is hurt?"

I say nothing.

He laughs then, and the sound seems entirely human, distressingly normal. "You have no idea how strong you are. Put away your claws, child, and I shall put away mine."

I let go of the god, letting the ragged edges of power slip down into my skin. It feels like a toothache in the bones for a moment. "We don't trust you."

He smiles and the smile is human, whatever else he is dialled back for a moment. His beauty is bearable but still not hateable. "It is not in my nature to be trusted. But I do owe your magician friend for not banishing me. I can speed his healing if he will allow it. But I cannot be trusted and cannot be a friend."

"Swear you will not hurt him. Swear it on something that matters."

The other raises one perfect smile. "Such as?"

Something bubbles up, words of a song I've never heard, echoes from the closet the monster lived in. My voice is not mine when I speak: it is rough, hard and soft at once: "Swear by the Cone and the Grave."

He pales and then offers up a tight bow to me. "Very well. I so swear," without a trace of a smile to him at all.

He says nothing at all on the walk back to the hotel save to shoot wary looks my way from time to time as if expecting to be struck. It doesn't make me feel at all strong, more like I've beaten up the cutest puppy in the world. I want to ask what the Cone and Grave are but keep my silence and open the door to the room.

The magician is awake, eyes narrow and hard, his smile tight with exhaustion in the bed.

"The Cone and the Grave," the creature says in a voice like ground glass, somehow sounding hurt.

The magician turns his head to me, his expression unreadable. "You should go."

I back out and close the door to see shadows and flesh melt together, neither voice sounding entirely human. I recite songs, my times tables, poetry drilled into me by English teachers. My voice is hoarse to my ears by the time the door opens.

The creature that emerges is slug-pale with claws of bone decorated in blood and a smile of sharp teeth and sharper hunger. Its breath comes in small pants, smile accompanied by a too-sharp tongue that darts out over lips. "Little god-eater."

I step back and to the side.

It smiles wider and is somehow beautiful in uncertain light, tail the colour of its tongue wrapped about its left leg.

I want things I have no words for and shudder back from them. "Leave."

It chuckles softly and walks past, turning human between moments of awareness before stepping sideways into the air.

The magician is in the bed when I walk back in, body covered in scratches and scars. "Dawn will heal me," he says, voice rough, not meeting my gaze. "Did he hurt you?"

"No," I say, willing it to be true.

"It's beautiful," he says, half to himself, "you could drown in such a creature and it would be everything death can never be, so perfect you'd die again just for it. You risked a lot for me." He closes his eyes and sags back into the bed. "Thank you."

I just nod and sit in the one arm chair; the dawn burns away all scars and blood as if they never were at all. And I find myself crying as the magician sleeps with no idea why.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


[Being a direct sequel to Queens, set an hour later; a third story from the same night will be posted sometime this weekend.]

On a prom night it is easy for the police to be turned aside. I walk down side streets with Charlie at my side and the police don't look at either of us; she called up the god inside her earlier and it casts echoes in the air around her still. They would notice, not knowing what they see: I turn their gazes away and follow twinges in my knees, throbs in a finger and odd lights that vanish the moment I see them until I reach the source of the disturbances twisting the world.

In the last hour I've found a key chair, two hockey cards and a car all from Outside, each pulled into the world. None were tightly bound to their hosts; each came apart at an application of cold will. I'm not sure how much of the anger rolling through me is from Charlie and how much is me now: I can see shadows twisting painfully as things lean on them from the other side. The street lights all flicker indigo when they think no one notices. The air tastes of burnt plastic and human hair and the one neon sign we passes five minutes ago has guttered out and died.

Things are pushing in on the world. I push back, drawing energy out of the prom and weaving it into the fraying of the world. Anyone with a fragment of sensitivity at the prom is going to have horrible nightmares but it's better than seeing them become real. I round one corner, another, and find the focus because the air is dead-grey above a dumpster. Basic green apartment model save for the homeless man balanced on the edge of it who leaps up and dives into it without looking back at us.

"When you said you wanted to find the person giving people artifacts from other spaces, you didn't mention they'd be dumpster diving," Charlie says, her calm thin and fragile. "That was an Olympic-quality dive. Into a dumpster. In the middle of nowheresville."

"I know." I look back. "Sit. Breathe."

"I'm breathing just fine," she snarls, and the snarl pulls her back a little. "Sorry," she says after that, her voice pale.

"It's okay. Just breathe. Focus on deep breaths."

She does so three times before meeting my gaze.

"I saw my first spirit at thirteen. Spirits aren't the same as ghosts: they're entities that occupy the world with us only somewhere to the side of normal. Elementals, would-be tricksters, little gods. It was all deadly shadows and white noise teeth and spent a week leaping out of mirrors at me to scare me witless before I realized I could bind it."

"This is a spirit?"

"No. A god, but not the kind a god-eater can eat." She says nothing, eyes narrowing. "As humans can become magicians, so can gods become something more. Or less, or at least other. Gods are, after all, so very hungry."

I turn back to the dumpster; the god has left it without making a ripple in the world, cunning as a shadow, something that looks like a brown wallet in his left hand. His appearance has not changed, all sallow-cheeks, rough beard, beer belly and receding hair. No one would even look twice at him, wonder why he didn't smell at all and by them his eyes would have charmed them into seeing someone else entire.

I shove the wallet back where it came from with almost no effort.

The god stops. Turns slow. "Magician. I am still of this world."


His gaze flicks over to Charlie, eyes widening as he sees what she is. I take the moment and stretch it, my shadow standing up behind the god.

I reach out, my shadow's fingers finding mine, and snap the circle tight about the god. Every street light for two blocks turns indigo and explodes. The sounds of the prom rush over us like a wave, music and laughter shuddering through the air. The god lets out a roar of fury and tears his chest open. There are many things in it.

Just seeing them hurts me. I can hear Charlie throwing up behind me in painful spasms.

"A god should not hurt a god-eater." My thought is too deep, a thing felt more than known as it wraps about the god. I don't bother with words, discard language entirely. The binding is hundred songs woven together, the banishing a thousand swords of light tearing into the god. I strip away all parts of it that are still of the world and banish the others.

A fingernail falls off. My left eye won't open. A magician is magic. Magic is the magician. I reach inside, pull hard and hold my shadow together, letting it hold me together, and there is only air a moment later. Air, a dumpster, Charlie staggering to her feet, air. Nothing else at all.

The sounds of the prom have retreated, like a wounded thing.

Charlie says my name, her eyes wide.

"I'm okay." My voice is slow, cracked. I'm hollow. Too hollow to be so full of organs. Organs. I hold mine inside with will, binding my shadow into myself. Hold myself together. The air tastes of sunlight, of magic, of songs not sung and whispers of dreams I could become. I close my eyes, force them away. "I think I need to sleep."

And thinking, I do. Charlie's shout is distant but the pavement is cool and kind as stone of the earth can be kind, and I sink into its embrace with a sigh.  

Monday, August 12, 2013


There are several ways to stop a speeding car if you know what you're doing and several more if you are a magician though the vast majority of those void the warranty. My method is simplicity itself: I step out in front of the red convertible speeding down the street and wait, ignoring the gasp of horror from the sidewalk as Charlie gapes at me. The driver twists the wheel hard, tires screaming like tin on a conveyor belt and the faux-limo jutters over the curb to come to a grinding halt, a horseho wrapped around an oak tree. Like I said, there's several ways to stop a speeding car but this one is the fastest and tells you a lot about the driver as well.

She stumbles out of the driver's door, face as red as her car, fury burning in her eyes. Her name is Cristal Moonbeam Smith but I don't hold it against her any more than I do her being seventeen or wearing a red princess dress to her prom. The golden circlet on her head is something else altogether. The moonlight doesn't fall on it and it casts a shadow all its own behind her, large and twisted with spikes, deep with hunger.

She begins screaming anatomically-impossible insults; I am not sure if it is her anger or the crown that allows her to march toward me across the lawn without falling in too-high red heels.


She stops at her name. "What are you, some kind of pervert stalker. I –."

"Your crown. Where did you get it?"

She looks blank for half a moment, then smiles the kind of nasty smile lawyers can only dream of owning. "You think I'm going to tell you? You want it for yourself, don't you? You want to be the homecoming queen: steal my dress, my crown, my night!"

"A homecoming queen wouldn't drive herself to the prom," Charlie says from the sidewalk.

Cristal takes in punk clothing and hair and dismisses Charlie as anything at all, her focus snapping back to me. "You're going to make your girlfriend into the queen, but the crown won't –."

"Magicians are many things, but not good dating material." No reaction. "Who gave you the crown, Cristal?"

"I said I'm not going –."

I hold her gaze, thread power into my voice. "Listen: you didn't run me over. Whatever the crown is, you're not that far gone in its power yet. Let go of it and walk away."

"And give up on being the queen?" She laughs shakily. "Lem will date me. The crown has promised me."

"Fix the car." Charlie favours Cristal with a smile that isn't wholly human; you can't be human and ignore a smile that sharp.

Cristal stutters out: "Pardon?"

"Can your crown do that?"

Nothing. Charlie looks at me and raises one eyebrow. I walk past Cristal to the car: the tree wants to be whole, the car the same. I reach into the world, pulling desire enough to bend time, raise my right hand and speak a Word. I don't normally waste time or energy on such things, but both the car and tree returning to their original states strikes Cristal numb.

I lower my hand, feeling it tremble a little, years of my life bled off. I can recover them with time so I'm not too concerned as I turn to Cristal. She stumble-steps back and the crown burns with a brilliant golden light the sun itself would envy, a light not from this universe at all.

"That's enough of that."

It burns brighter, fighting my will.


Charlie steps forward and opens her mouth wide, eating the light in a single gulp. There aren't many god-eaters in the world, and an alien crown is hardly about to resist her nature. She blinks a couple of times after and shakes her head. "Not a pleasant aftertaste."

I hold out my left hand; the crown snaps off her head and into my grip before it can anchor itself deeper into Cristal. It writhes, twisting into a shape with no angles and too many sides for half a moment. Go home, I think at it and it is gone a moment later.

Cristal makes a small animal sound, her eyes wide and breaking.

"I will not make you a prom queen, but I can let you be yourself as few people are, however that shines. Perhaps Lem will notice you."

"You'd do that?" Need flashes across her face and turns into something surpassing hope. She burns bright in inside-ways, lets out a small gasp and then begins to walk. No one will stop and offer her a lift; they would not dare, knowing no car is as real as she is for the next few hours.

"Isn't that dangerous?" Charlie offers.

"It's prom night: I imagine everyone will be drunk and a little bit scared,"

"So you rebuilt a car, destroyed a crown-thing and altered her in under five minutes."


She is quiet almost a minute as we walk back toward the car we're borrowing. "Payment for what?"

"My sister wanted me to make a prom king fall in love with her; I said no. I was two years a magician then and far from the pull of such things. She took a shotgun and fired it at me." I laugh, soft. "I didn't get the hint even then about how important it was to her. This pays that back, at least a little bit."

"A little bit."

I look over, but Charlie's face gives nothing away. I look away before I see too deeply.

Friday, August 09, 2013


And this week's Flash Fiction Friday, as follows:

No matter what they say about happily-ever-afters, fairytales are always tragedies. There might be exceptions: everyone agrees that Cinderella really did live happily ever after, but having your mother and sisters murdered will do that to someone. Prince Charming didn't dare say a thing back to her or stand up to her, so she got her happily for ever and after. That's how it goes.

It's like Beauty and the Beast: he got it. The Happily(tm) was his, mostly because of the amount of drugs he dumped into her food every morning. The thing is, see, we're talking two different people. We're talking different goals and how people change and forget to tell each other they change. And we're talking about power. About what people want from relationships. About what they're willing to give. Power shifts, so Happily(tm) has to shift as well and that's what makes ever-after so damn hard.

And even if it goes well, even if you mesh together so that you're co-dependant on your co-dependence and there's no room in either of you except for each other: say you do that, and eve die together hand-in-hand – probably in a suicide pact – we all still die alone no matter who we're with. There are roads we can only walk along, and not even the magic of Happily(tm) with an overdose of Ever-After bolted onto it can change that.

Even magic doesn't last, but someone we think Happily(tm) will and if that isn't a tragedy than I don't know what is. Now I know what you're thinking. You think it's different for fairies when it's really not at all. I fell in love with a Brownie. Everyone said: a Pixie and a Brownie, really, but we had magic enough to stand against scorn. Until I made her brownies for our anniversary. Nothing I said would convince her it was a cake, that it wasn't her family, that I didn't want to cook and eat her.

There was a Brownie living down the road and she moved in with him days later. Word is she's happy now, even if it's not Happily.(tm) I haven't put real Brownies in my brownies. I never did. But some day. Some ever-after day, I just might find a new Happily(tm) all my own.

Thursday, August 08, 2013


"Why is it," Charlie says, "that when you think someone is mysterious it just turns out they're an ass?"

"Because everyone is one?" I crouch down, playing a flashlight under a dumpster someone has spraypainted 'No Babies!' on in bright yellow. I hope she's referring to that, but expectation says it's probably me.

"You are a magician. Using a flashlight."

"It's a tool." I shove another bag of garbage toward her; she pulls it aside with a grunt.

"You could break the lock on the dumpster and we could throw all this in it."

"I could." I pull a piece of worn paper from my pocket as a low growl echoes from under the dumpster.

"You said we were looking for a lost cat."

"We are."

"That was a growl."

I hold out my left hand, paper and flashlight in my right. "You've been missing two weeks, Flutter. I'd run away at being named Flutter myself but you fell off a porch into the woods and got lost."

A low hiss answers me.

"It's always hard to find home again if you're never sure it was home at all. But they offered a reward for you, kitten, and even let a magician try and find out. Most people don't even let themselves believe in magicians anymore."

"Smart of them," Charlie mutters.

The kitten slips out from under the dumpster as if she had always meant to. Matted fur, some minor cuts and scrapes, thin and burning with anger. Flutter yowls up at me with the fierceness of a hunter and lets out a low hiss at seeing Charlie.

"She's not going to eat you."

The cats head snaps back to me.

"Why would I eat a kitten?" Charlie says through gritted-teeth calm.

"You ate a god. As far as cats are concerned, they're one step up from that."

Charlie says nothing to that; Flutter lets out a happier yowl and nudges my leg before leaping up into my left hand as I stand. We walk out of the back street into a light rain that doesn't touch me because I walk between the drops and doesn't reach Charlie because it wouldn't dare to.

It is only two blocks to the home Flutter was lost from; I take the long way around because even kittens – especially kittens – have their pride. Jody's father lets me into their building, his daughter yanking Flutter from me with a squeal of pure joy that reminds me of payment. He hands over the twentiees reluctantly, gaze searching mine, but Charlie's simmering anger is enough to push his questions aside.

I hand over half the money as we walk outside, only half surprised to find a police officer waiting for us. We've been in town over a day: I was a little surprised it had taken them this long to show up.

"Madeline Sharp." She hands over her ID as if expecting us to doubt her. "You've rescused four animals in the past seven hours, mister ....?"

I offer up my name and Charlie's as well. "We hardly stole them."

"Even so. People are talking."

"That is what makes us people."

"Does it now?" She doesn't lower her hand to her nightstick but her eyes offer up a small glimpse of things seen and never named, reports never written up.

"A magician is still human. Some of the time," I add. "And Charlie is mostly human."

"She won't stay that way."

Sharp indeed. "Who does? Even magicians change."

The officer grunts. "Two hours. You leave town by then."

"Done." I smile, unsurprised she doesn't return it, and walk back toward the motel we're renting at.

"I won't stay human." Charlie's voice is low beside me, the words almost a question.

"Most god-eaters devour a god; you merged with one. I told you it was dangerous to call up the god since it would become harder to put it down. Easier to be angry, and even easier to give into power."

"Is that why I'm travelling with you? So you can bind me if you have to?"

"A magician doesn't need anyone." I let the rain touch me, not looking over. "You didn't see it like that when we first met. I worked magic, and you saw someone in need of a shave and not a miracle at all. The magic in me doesn't need you; the rest of me does."

She laughs, half in surprise. "You think I am going to help you stay human?"

"Oh, no." I look over and smile. "It's far too late for that. I could make it so it never rained in this town again, or no pets were lost at all. I've terrified people by saving them, Charlie, and if you scare them they are less scared of me. That's one thing. And you can tell me when I go too far. Magic isn't power but from the outside it's easy to ignore that; sometimes from the inside as well. And," I add before she can speak, "there is not a magician in the world that doesn't desire an audience."

Charlie doesn't ask if Flutter would have come out if she hadn't scared the kitten more than I did, or point out I'm not telling the whole truth at all. She just digs the keys to the motel out of her pocket. "Get our stuff: I'll settle up with the staff."

"As you wish," I say with a courtly bow, and slip inside before she can find something to throw at me, having circled more than enough truths for one night and feeling strangely light on my feet as I head to grab our meagre belongings.

Being a magician is always more than being a magician, and sometimes only friends can remind us of that.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Useful Advice

The word "slump" or "slumped" has too coarse a sound to be used by a lady.

The word "stomach" should never be uttered at any table, or indeed anywhere else, except to your physician, or in a private conversation with a female friend interested in your health. It is a disagreeable word, (and so are all its associations,) and should never be mentioned in public to "ears polite."

A man that habitually rises on his feet to reach across the table for a dish, and pulls it to himself, instead of desiring the waiter to bring it to him, is unworthy the appellation of a gentleman. Ladies, of course, cannot be guilty of this abomination

If you are sick yourself, say as little about it as possible. And never allude to it at table, where you will receive little sympathy, and perhaps render yourself disgusting to all who hear you. At no time talk about it to gentlemen. Many foolish commonplace sayings are uttered by ladies who attempt to describe the horrors of sea-sickness. For instance this: "I felt all the time as if I wished somebody to take me up, and throw me overboard." This is untrue: no human being ever really did prefer drowning to sea-sickness.

All via The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners; or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book, a Guide and Manual for Ladies, by Eliza Leslie, 1864

Friday, August 02, 2013

This. So much this.

There is no love plotline in 
Housekeeping, because not every story needs one. No one expects Holden Caulfield to find love at the end of his self-explorative adventure, and we shouldn't expect every female character to either. Coming of age novels are supposed to be about finding yourself, not finding someone else. 

- "It's Frustratingly Rare to Find a Novel About Women That's Not About Love: Literary girls don't take road-trips to find themselves; they take trips to find men."
                                                                              (The Atlantic)