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Been writing Hugh Mann's backstory up as a script. Here's a couple of tidbits from the plan.

sorry its an image without a descript. I'm just really tired atm


2 little bits from the prologue of the second book in Don't Lose Hope! Ka'harja is 11 here. Just a bab!

I cut out the middle bit because I just want to show off these two scenes, specifically, of Distro being a better mother than Kay'oten.

cw: child abuse mention


‘Not that way,’ Distro let out a laugh. ‘It’s not time for bed yet.’

‘Ith not?’ groaned Ka’harja. He wasn’t sure what else there was to do; gathering firewood had been his last chore for the day.

‘Not if you want to learn how to make potions, it’s not,’ Distro winked at the boy.

‘I’m too tired to read,’ Ka’harja told her. ‘I’ll do twi-th ath much reading tomorrow. I promith.’

‘I was thinking about a more hands-on exercise.’

Ka’harja’s heart skipped a beat. ‘You’re going to let me make a po-thon?’

‘Unless you’d rather go to bed—’

‘—NO!’ Ka’harja didn’t feel tired anymore. ‘I WANT TO MAKE A PO-THON! What po-thon am I going to make? Invi-thability? Levita-thon? Explo-tionth?’

‘A herbal tea,’ Distro told him. ‘Cottonflower.’

Ka’harja’s heart sank. ‘That’th not a po-thon.’

‘Cottonflower tea is the most important potion you will ever learn to make,’ Distro frowned. ‘And it’s the one potion I expect you to never charge people for. Do you understand?’

Ka’harja gave a huff; and then, when he caught Distro’s frown, he nodded.

‘Do you remember what cottonflower tea is?’ she asked.

‘It’th the one for nurlakth,’ said Ka’harja. ‘When they get the thelf-feeding thickneth.’

‘Good lad,’ Distro raised a hand, hesitating when the child flinched. ‘Don’t be scared. High-five.’

Ka’harja swallowed, and slowly raised his own hand— And let out a loud giggle as Distro smacked their palms together.

‘That’s my boy!’ she cheered, ruffling his hair and giving his ears a playful tug. ‘Now, into the pantry with you!’

Ka’harja rushed to the kitchen, opening the pantry door wide and slipping inside.

He almost gasped; he’d never been allowed in the pantry before, and he couldn’t believe his eyes as they trailed along the shelf-covered walls. It was like a rainbow of plants and poultices.

~~~

‘What did I just say about talking back?’ Distro asked. ‘Did I say to do it? I think not.’

‘I know you don’t real-ly mind,’ Ka’harja grinned. ‘If you did, you’d hit me, juth-d like my real kekik would.’

‘No, I wouldn’t!’ Distro snapped. ‘Don’t talk that crock to me! And don’t you dare compare me to a Har’py.... And what’s this talk about “real” kekiks? As long as you live with me I’m your mother. Plain and simple.’

‘Not by blood,’ mumbled Ka’harja as he began to tear the leaves into small pieces. ‘You’re juth-d looking ath-ter me.’

‘Exactly! That means I’m your mother,’ Distro yanked the leaves out of Ka’harja’s grip and began to snip them into neat squares with scissors. ‘I don’t know what you think mothers are supposed to do, but I’m telling you now; a real mother is the one who loves you most. Nobody will ever love you as much as a real mother will.’

‘But my real moth-der doeth-n’t loth me—’

‘Nonsense! Of course I do,’ said Distro as she scooped the leaves into a ceramic cup. ‘Now, do you remember what to do after cutting the leaves?’

Ka’harja shook his head and Distro let out a heavy sigh.


It was rumoured that valenor originally bred basilisks for war under their king, Bas Ski Liska; who released them into the Rendi as revenge for the death of their god Vale Nor. Until King Cran’s rule, when he confirmed that there was no record of a King Bas, many valenor bragged about creating such beasts.


The Taking

Another short story I finished not too long ago. I wasn't originally going to post it here but why not? If you want the properly formatted version (w/ italics and all) you can get that >>here<<

A little under 2,000 words :)

cw: violence


It had been a long, long time since the nameless one had been in the presence of Ashta Low Mountain.

When they had first met she had been too young to remember his face; just a babe, fresh-born from her mother, Ishkin Sky Watcher.

It had been far too easy for Ashta to steal her. Her mother was weak from the birthing and her father, Kamker the Stray, had been crippled from his fall off High Cliff. And from what the nameless one had heard the soother had been young and without a protector.

Ashta had killed the adults and taken the newborn before she‘d been given her name; and with no remaining family there was no one to read her name in the stars after she’d been saved.

She was was glad she remembered none of her time with the man. The four months had left her skin too scarred to hold Sky Watcher ink, though soothers from Sunrise Beach had come to help with special pigment purchased from seces. They had travelled the entire territory to bring her the dye after her tribe’s own didn’t hold.

It had been a gift the Sky Watchers had never been able to repay; though the people of Sunrise Beach had never asked them to do so. It was a kindness without expectation of return. And now, thanks to that kindness, the nameless one’s tattoos marked her as a maker; and though the ink had faded from black to grey over the thirty years she’d served her tribe it still held its pattern firm and strong.

She was grateful for that.

There was a shout, and the crowd looked up to watch as protectors strapped Ashta to Caller Ziat’s judgement stake.

He had finally been caught while stealing poultry from the people of the Red Forest. A pathetic crime to end his reign of terror.

But at least it was ended.

Fearful gasps and mutters rippled through the gathering as Ashta slowly raised his head and the nameless one pushed her daughter, Inntin Sky Watcher, safely behind her back and away from the evil man’s gaze. Luckily his glare didn’t fall on the nameless one or her family. Instead it dug into Caller Ziat’s own scowl.

‘Ashta of the Low Mountain,’ Caller Ziat spoke loudly, their voice projecting over the cliffs so that those standing lower would hear. ‘You stand before the five hundred and eighty-three leaders of the Lim’tar tribes and their people, at the peak of Caller’s Mountain where the Ancestor stars may pass their judgement. There is no tribe on Lim’tar that you have not wronged. Your crimes are many, and you have yet to deny a single one as your own. Do you wish to deny them, now?’

Ashta responded with a snort and turned away from the Caller. The crowd flinched as he looked them over, and the mutters started again.

‘You have left deep scars on my people,’ Caller Ziat continued, their voice a hiss. ‘Scars I can never forgive. You understand what is to happen to you?’

‘I’m not scared of the Taking,’ Ashta smiled, now. ‘There is nothing you could take from me that could kill me. Not truly. I shall live on, forever remembered. Forever feared. A whisper parents tell their children to keep them placid. I will have power. And I will have legacy. Strip me of my belongings, and strip me of my flesh. Strip me of my life. I will never die.’

Caller Ziat bowed their head and whispered a quiet prayer to the Ancestors. The nameless one didn’t hear all the words, though she was sure she’d heard it before.

‘Temela of the Deep Valley!’ Caller Ziat raised their head, speaking loud enough to make the crowd jump. ‘You may Take, first.’

The crowd parted down the middle, and Temela Deep Valley stepped forward. The nameless recognised him, she realised; found on the edge of the Sky Watcher’s territories years ago, bloody and bruised and terrified into silence. He’d been a child, then. Much like her. It had taken over a year before he’d finally muttered his birth tribe’s name to a soother and been taken home.

The nameless one had missed his company. They understood each other in a way not many others were able.... As she caught his eye they shared a solemn nod and she knew he was thinking the same of her.

He looked better, now, after near-forty years. He bore the marks of a protector and he no longer limped or flinched. Instead he stood strong over Ashta, and looked down at the man with a glare that did nothing to hide his anger.

‘Aah, I remember you,’ Ashta’s grin grew all the more wicked. ‘Your mother’s name was Kitkin, wasn’t it? Her and that familiar of hers put up quite a fight.... But they both tasted wonderful.’

‘You’re disgusting,’ Temela responded, stepping forward and pointing an accusing finger when Ashta simply shrugged. ‘You’re a vile creature which is only pretending to be alk. And I want your wings, so you can never be mistaken for one of us again.’

Ashta laughed, then. And stretched his wings wide. ‘Well, then. Come and take them!’

Temela drew his knife, and as he did the nameless woman felt Inntin squeeze her hand. She turned and quickly ushered her daughter through the crowd and down the rocky incline. She felt her Chosen, Breen Sky Watcher, trail behind closely; and when they finally made it to the back of the crowd the nameless scooped her daughter up and pressed her into Breen’s arms.

‘Papi,’ Inntin muttered, burying her face into her father as Ashta let out a agonised shriek.

‘I know. I know,’ Breen kissed the girl’s head. ‘We can go home soon. I promise.’

It didn’t seem a promise likely to be fulfilled, the nameless one thought as she turned towards the screaming. She could see Caller Ziat, standing on their platform, but Ashta was hidden behind the crowd. Just as well; the Taking was only just beginning, and Ashta had harmed many people. This was not going to be a pleasant thing to watch. The less Inntin saw of it the better.

The woman would have left her child behind, if she’d been able. But until Ashta was dead she couldn’t bare to let her daughter leave her sight.... A feeling that was shared by many, she realised, as she glanced around the crowd and saw others pull their youngsters close.

Ashta’s death would ease the anxieties of parents from every tribe in the territory. And perhaps it would help those from the Low Mountain regain their footing in the tribe hierarchy. It wasn’t their fault Ashta had become such a monster; they had tried as hard as the other tribes to stop the man, and had done more than anyone to help those he had hurt.

She sighed, bowing her head as Ashta let out another scream. She would be asked forward soon, when the Caller Ziat thought it was her time. And then she could Take retribution. Though, she didn’t feel she needed it. She was old, almost retired, and she’d made peace with herself long ago. Whatever she took from Ashta wouldn’t heal her. No piece of severed flesh could bring back her family or heal her scars.

Though, she raised her head again, peering over the crowd. Perhaps there was something else she could take....

A whimper from her daughter, and the nameless one turned back to her family.

Inntin was more important than revenge.

‘Come, love,’ she sat on a nearby stone and beckoned her daughter to join her. When the girl crawled into her lap she pulled twine from her pocket. ‘Let me show you another tassel knot.’

~~~~

It was long past sunset when Caller Ziat raised their hand and beckoned to the back of the crowd, where the nameless one sat in a circle of children.

‘The maker without name, from the Sky Watchers in the far mountains,’ they called, drawing the attention of the group. ‘Step forward. It is your turn to Take from Ashta, and to seek healing from the Ancestors.’

A kiss to her daughter and her Chosen, and the nameless rose to her feet. The crowd parted to let her through as she walked, and she made it to Ashta quickly; though she didn’t rush. There was no need to. She knew what she wanted, now.

‘You,’ Ashta breathed, smiling through bloody lips. ‘Do you still drink goat’s milk? Or did they wean you?’

‘They weaned me,’ she responded, returning Ashta’s smile with one of her own. ‘Though, I do still indulge myself during spring, if there’s left overs after milking.’

Ashta snorted, and glared up at her with his one remaining eye. ‘I found your family just in time, don’t you think? Another day and they may have named you.’

‘Probably.’

She caught a twitch of Ashta’s lip as he scowled, and she was satisfied to know he hated her indifference. ‘Was it hard, growing up without a name?’

‘Yes,’ she responded honestly. When Ashta smiled again she crossed her arms and returned it. ‘Don’t think to mock me, old man. You don’t know what I’m here to take.’

‘Oh? What is it, then? Tell me,’ he laughed, and looked around the crowd. ‘Tell them all! What do you wish to cut from my flesh? My ear? My foot? My heart?’

‘Your name.’

The man’s face fell. ‘My... what?’

‘I want your name,’ she repeated, standing tall and addressing the alk around her. ‘I Take Ashta’s name as my own, and forbid it to be used in mention of his crimes. When our descendants remember Ashta, they will remember painted pottery and alpaca-fur tapestries. And when they speak of this nameless man’s acts, they will forget they were that of one man. His horrors will be mistaken for the acts of many, and so will seem like simple crimes.... I Take his name.’

‘You bitch!’ the nameless man pulled against his post and let out a hideous hiss.

‘So be it,’ Caller Ziat announced. ‘You have chosen to Take his name, and so it is yours. You may step back, Ashta Sky Watcher.’

‘No! I’m Ashta!’ the man on the post screamed. ‘Ashta Low Mountain! Give me back my name!’

Ashta bowed her head low to the Caller, and stepped back into the crowd without another word.

‘Give me back my legacy!’

‘Leep of the Sunrise Beach?’ Caller Ziat ignored the man below them. ‘Come. Take justice from the nameless, and seek healing from the Ancestors.’

Leep Sunrise Beach stepped forward, now, and Ashta recognised her as one of the soothers who had helped to tattoo her. And she remembered the man’s crimes; two murdered sons. And as Leep glared down at the man, Ashta knew she would not be kind to him.

‘Doesn’t he ever shut up?’ she growled, yanking out her knife and gripping the nameless one’s face in a hand and forcing open his jaw. ‘Lets see how well you scream without your tongue.’

-End-


There was a shout, and the crowd looked up to watch as protectors strapped Ashta to Caller Ziat’s judgement stake.

He had finally been caught while stealing poultry from the people of the Red Forest. A pathetic crime to end his reign of terror.

But at least it was ended.

Fearful gasps and mutters rippled through the gathering as Ashta slowly raised his head and the nameless one pushed her daughter, Inntin Sky Watcher, safely behind her back and away from the evil man’s gaze. Luckily, his glare didn’t fall on the nameless one or her family. Instead it dug into Caller Ziat’s own scowl.

‘Ashta of the Low Mountain,’ Caller Ziat spoke loudly, their voice projecting over the cliffs so that those standing lower would hear. ‘You stand before the five hundred and eighty-three leaders of the Lim’tar tribes and their people, at the peak of Caller’s Mountain where the Ancestor stars may pass their judgement. There is no tribe on Lim’tar that you have not wronged. Your crimes are many, and you have yet to deny a single one as your own. Do you wish to deny them, now?’

Ashta responded with a snort and turned away from the Caller. The crowd flinched as he looked them over, and the mutters started again.

‘You have left deep scars on my people,’ Caller Ziat continued, their voice a hiss. ‘Scars I can never forgive. You understand what is to happen to you?’

‘I’m not scared of the Taking,’ Ashta smiled, now. ‘There is nothing you could take from me that could kill me. Not truly. I shall live on, forever remembered. Forever feared. A whisper parents tell their children to keep them placid. I will have power. And I will have legacy. Strip me of my belongings, and strip me of my flesh. Strip me of my life. I will never die.’


Snippet from part 7 of The Necromacers :3 It's almost finished! Just 2 and a half more parts to go! This was a very fun style experiment (and a hopefully very sad story)

cw: implied abuse, miscarriage


‘I don’t feel okay,’ xie admitted. ‘I don’t think I’ll ever feel okay.’

‘I promise you will,’ Distro’s lips met the seces’ cheek, and she gave xer a tight squeeze. ‘I promise. It gets easier in time.’

Jaisa’s gills let out another mournful squeal. ‘I... I....’

And then xie trailed off, xer eyes focusing on something far away, and neither Distro nor Coi’Lili said anything else. Instead, Distro rested a hand on Jaisa’s knee, and Coi’Lili collected his things and quietly made his way inside.

They sat for a long while in the quiet garden. Well past midday, until the air grew chill and the sun began to set orange and pink behind the palace wall.

And then the garden gate gave a creak, and Distro turned to meet eyes with Penel. The felinic was carrying her canvas and brushes slung over her shoulder with a thick leather strap, though when she saw Distro and Jaisa sitting together on the bench, she abandoned her things at the gate before making her way over.

She watched Jaisa carefully with each step; though xer vacant expression didn’t change.

Xie didn’t respond to Penel’s greeting. And xie barely blinked when the girl sat beside xer. The seces just stared ahead at nothing, worrying the hem of xer fraying shirt to tatters.

Penel’s brow furrowed as she craned her gaze over Jaisa to speak to Distro. ‘What’s wrong?’

‘Xie lost xer baby.’

‘Oh...’ Penel sunk into her seat, her eyes trailing to Jaisa’s hands as xie continued tearing at the cotton seam. ‘Oh. I’m so sorry. That’s terrible.’

‘No,’ Jaisa finally spoke. ‘That’s not.... That’s not even the terrible part.’

‘Later, honey,’ Distro comforted, moving her hand to Jaisa’s shoulder. ‘You don’t have to tell us a thing until you’re ready.’

Jaisa nodded, taking a deep breath and turning back to the garden. Xie muttered something as xie continued to tear at xer shirt. And then repeated it. Again, and again.

And the fifth time, Penel finally heard what xie was saying.

‘Forgive him,’ Jaisa breathed. ‘Please, Scara, forgive him.’


A little rough, and I definitely want to fix it up a little, but I'm glad to finally be writing the scene where Gavin comes out to Dale ;u; Dale hesitates for all of 5 seconds before his Good Dad Insticts kick in.


Things had been going so perfectly since his birthday that Dale could barely believe it. He couldn’t believe Talia had said yes. Especially when he’d only asked her twice, and on the same day.

But that second time... it had just felt right to him. And he supposed it had to her, as well.

She’d cried on the way up the stairs that day.

It was strange, how things had turned out. Everything was so different— But also, so much the same.

The biggest difference, really, was that Talia had been happier.

Their relationship hadn’t been a magical fix and she was still having a lot of trouble being open with him.... But she was definitely happier. And right now, that was all he could ask for.

This was only the second time she’d let him stay over in the three months since they gotten together. He’d have stayed over every night, if she’d let him. Or had her stay at his house— Which she still wasn’t comfortable with.

Dale was distracted from his thoughts as Talia stretched and stole the blanket, and he had to bite back his laugh as he stole it back. He tugged her close against his chest, catching a glimpse of the alarm on her bedside table and quietly cursing that he only had another ten minutes with her before it went off. Though, as he heard Gavin’s feet hit the floor in the other room, he realised he wasn’t going to get it.

Dale had barely let out his sigh before Talia’s door creaked open and the light from the hall shone in.

‘Gav, it’s not even seven yet,’ Dale muttered. ‘Don’t you want to sleep a little longer?’

‘No, I’m awake,’ Gavin replied. ‘I.... I want to talk to you about something, Dale. It’s important.’

‘Alright,’ Dale took a deep, throaty breath, and forced himself out of bed. He stretched, then stumbled down the hall after Gavin. ‘Guess I’ll make breakfast for everyone, huh?’

‘That’d be nice,’ Gavin said, pulling a chair from the table to the kitchen. ‘And we can talk while you do?’

‘Yeah, course,’ Dale yawned as he went through the cupboards. ‘Bacon and eggs?’

‘Yes please. Scrambled?’

‘Sure,’ Dale pulled out what he needed and, with another yawn, started cooking. ‘So, what did you want to talk to me about?’

‘Well... it’s about...’ he hesitated. Then sighed. ‘Dale, you had a lot of girlfriends before my mum, right?’

‘Yeah, a few,’ Dale replied. ‘Why?’

‘Well... I want to know.... How do you ask someone out?’

Dale felt himself chuckling. ‘You have a crush?’

Gavin gave a nod, a blush creeping over his cheeks as he looked to his feet and kicked out at the wall. ‘I’ve been watching you and mum, and I think how I feel is the same.’

‘Ah,’ Dale gave his own nod. ‘I see.... That’s cool. What’s her name?’

‘No— Not a girl,’ Gavin admitted. ‘It’s Jacob.’

‘Jacob?’ Dale paused. ‘Connor?’

Gavin nodded, though he still didn’t meet Dale’s eye.

‘Oh, well, that’s fine,’ Dale shrugged, and quickly scraped the food out of the pan and onto a plate. He headed to the table, ruffling Gavin’s hair as he passed. ‘Jacob’s pretty cool, isn’t he?’

‘Yeah,’ Gavin gave a smile, and finally looked to Dale as he dragged his chair back to where it belonged and started serving himself breakfast. ‘Yeah he’s cool.... Do you think I should ask him out?’

‘Why not?’ Dale turned to the hall as he heard Talia’s alarm go off. ‘He seems nice, what have you got to lose— Hey, save some eggs for your mum, right? She’s mean when she’s hungry.’

‘She’s mean anyway,’ Gavin giggled.

‘Yeah, but you’re not spending the day at work with her!’ Dale retorted, gently smacking the boy’s hand away from the food. ‘Eat what you’ve got already, you little brat!’


Stars can be very manipulative. Everyone keeps underestimating her because of her disability, so she said "screw it, I'mma use this" and learnt how to twist words around so nobody can argue with her.

Luckily, she (mostly) uses this power for good; like stopping her grandfather using her stepmother's old name.... This time it's pretty obvious what she's doing (she's usually at least a little bit subtle)


‘It’s Distro,’ Distro corrected with a huff.

‘Distro, yes, sorry,’ Rorlbar sighed. ‘I still don’t see why you changed it.’

‘I just liked this name better,’ said Distro. ‘There’s nothing wrong with changing your name.’

Rorlbar simply shrugged.

‘I changed my name!’ Stars beamed. ‘And I love my new name a lot. It’s very nice. Kekik Distro’s new name is also very nice.’

‘It’s just hard to get used to,’ Rorlbar shrugged. ‘I’m her father, I’ve used Koktansi for years—’

‘—My kekik started using my new name the day I asked her to,’ Stars cut in, sounding a lot less pleasant than before as she put down her fork and rested her hands on the table. ‘You’ve had over ten years to get used to kekik Distro’s new name. If kekik Distro wants you to use her new name, you should use it. It’s very uncomfortable to be called by your old name when you don’t like it. And if you’re her yalfit, you should want her to be as comfortable as possible. You want kekik Distro to feel comfortable and loved, right?’

‘Well, yes of course—’

‘—Good,’ Stars said firmly, her ears flicking up as her eyes narrowed. ‘So you agree? Using her new name is best and you’re not going to use her old name anymore?’


Hey! Just added chapter 13 to A Man Worth a Million! :D Dale and Talia have FINALLY gotten together!

Ya'll can read the draft so far here: https://cjadewyton.com/my-writing/kladstone-romances/

It was good to hear him laugh so much.

And just as she thought about it, she heard him start laughing, and wondered what joke she’d missed as Dale turned into the apartment’s parking lot and slotted into one of the spots.

She’d only half-undone her seatbelt before Gavin leant over the seat and planted a kiss on her cheek.

‘I’ll meet you inside!’ he decided, reaching into Talia’s pocket for her keys. She didn’t have time to suggest otherwise before he was out of the car and halfway into the stairwell.

‘Gavin wai— Ugh,’ Talia leant back in her seat as her son disappeared.

‘There he goes,’ Dale’s voice floated into the car as he pulled open Talia’s door for her. ‘Fast little bugger, isn’t he? Nyoom.’

‘Nyoom,’ Talia repeated, though a little flatter than Dale had said it. ‘Sometimes I wish he’d slow down. Just a little bit.’

‘Aw, but then he wouldn’t be Gavin, would he?’ joked Dale. Then he offered Talia his hand. ‘Come on. You alright?’

‘Yeah, I...’ Talia hesitated, then took his hand and let him pull her up. ‘I’m fine. I just....’

She lost her train of thought.

And when Dale waited patiently for her to continue she felt her cheeks start to burn, and she looked away and pulled her hand back.

‘Talia?’ Dale’s voice was soft as his hand took hers again and gave it a squeeze that trapped butterflies in her stomach. ‘Hey.... Look at me?’

She dared to turn back, and as she met his soft, kind eyes she felt the butterflies trying to push out of her throat.

‘Talia,’ Dale managed, his voice cracking with the same emotions that had paralysed Talia. ‘Please be my girlfriend?’

And the butterflies escaped her as a laugh.

She didn’t mean them to.

But they escaped her, and she found herself choking on giggle after giggle as she collapsed back into the car and covered her mouth with her hands.

She had known that the question was coming, but she hadn’t expected it to sound like that out loud. She hadn’t thought he would say it like that.

So simple.

So straightforward.

She couldn’t breathe.

It was too much.

‘Yes!’ she managed. ‘Yes! Yes! Yes, Dale! Yes!’


‘Are you real?’ she asked.

Scaychie hesitated. ‘What?’

‘Are you real?’

‘I.... Uh, yeah.’

‘Oh, good!’ the woman stood up straighter, tucking her wings behind her back and pushing her hair out of her eyes. ‘Sometimes it’s hard to tell. You know?’

‘N... no,’ Scaychie answered, feeling her brow furrow at the strange woman.

‘Oh, well...’ the woman’s ears flicked back. But then, they flicked back up and she smiled. ‘I’m Keeyata. What’s your name?’

Scaychie just eyed her.

When she didn’t reply, Keeyata’s ears folded back down, and she stepped forward, gently placing a hand against Scaychie’s shoulder before pulling back and letting out an anxious laugh. ‘Oh, ah— Hah, you are real!’

‘I said that,’ Scaychie grunted.

‘Yes, but you may have been lying.’

Scaychie just shrugged.

‘Uhm...’ Keeyata shuffled again. Then offered another nervous grin. ‘I’m Keeyata. What’s your name?’

Again, Scaychie stared. And again, Keeyata edged forward.

‘Am I speaking?’ Keeyata asked. ‘Out loud?’

Scaychie sighed, and nodded. ‘Yes. Yes you are. My name’s Scaychie.’

‘Oh, that’s a nice name,’ Keeyata’s grin grew, before she held out a hand.

‘What do... do you want something?’ Scaychie asked. ‘Why are you...’

She trailed off as Keeyata slowly took her hand and gave it a timid shake.

‘What... is this?’ Scaychie asked.

‘Hello,’ Keeyata said, giving another shake. ‘Mother Tarasi said this was polite.’

‘How... is touching my hand polite?’ Scaychie grimaced. What kind of... weird custom was this?

‘I’m not sure,’ Keeyata responded. ‘I never understood it. But Mother Tarasi said to always do it when saying hello. Because it’s polite.’

‘Mm,’ Scaychie felt herself frown as she pulled her hand away. Then she leant forward and butted her head against Keeyata’s. ‘Well, uh.... Hello. I guess.’

‘Wh—‘ Keeyata’s eyes widened and she stumbled back, as if Scaychie had butted her hard. ‘What the fuck?!’

‘I was saying hello,’ Scaychie snorted. ‘That’s how dassens greet each other. Were you raised felinic or something?’

‘No, no, Mother Mairas was dassen,’ Keeyata replied. ‘But my brother and I are from Canis! With wolvens?’

‘Yes. Wolvens,’ Scaychie grunted.

‘Was that really how you say hello?’

‘Yes...’ Scaychie trailed off as she spied Linzor a little ways off.

Keeyata seemed to notice her tense, and glanced to see what she was looking at.

‘Oh! Linzor!’ Keeyata ran to her brother. ‘Linzor!’

‘What?’ Linzor growled.

‘Scaychie showed me how dassens say hello! Can I show you?’

Linzor rolled his eyes and gave a huff. ‘Fine.’

She headbutt Linzor so hard he fell over.


Little avio, little avio, for your second mother you must behavio


‘What?’ Scaychie was taken aback. ‘You want me to… babysit?’

‘Yes. I would appreciate it,’ he said sweetly, nipping Scaychie’s cheek. ‘It has been quite a few nights since Eish’lee and I were able to be alone together. Setani’Selina is asleep in her resting place, try not to wake her when Geoff’Selulu gets tired.’

‘Why me?’

‘No other girl is making milk,’ Tru’man replied with a shrug. ‘At least, none I trust with my children.... And I thought you would enjoy a night away from Linzor.’

Scaychie couldn’t argue. A night away from the Orange Beast sounded like a gift from the gods....

‘Milk!’ two voices cried out from Scaychie’s arms, and her gaze shot down to look at the wiggly little boy.

‘Oh, yes, he’s figuring out how to use his speaker,’ Tru’man chuckled, nipping his son on the nose. ‘You’re very talented, aren’t you? Behave for kekik Scaychie.’

‘Yalfit!’ Geoff’Selulu responded, his voice echoing as if he was speaking for two people as he tried to grab his father’s hair. ‘Kan!’

‘Yes, kekik Scaychie will let you kan,’ Tru’man dodged his son’s tiny hands and grinned at Scaychie. ‘He wants to eat.’

‘I’ll feed him,’ Scaychie reassured. ‘You go.’

Tru’man nodded and turned, putting his arm around Eish’lee as they wandered into the distance.

‘Kekik?’ Geoff’Selulu’s voice broke. ‘Kekik kan? Milk? Kekik going?’

Scaychie tapped the bump on his throat gently. ‘Scaychie gives you kan.’

‘Milk!’ he said, in his usual voice. Then he opened his mouth wide and a second voice, higher than before, escaped him. ‘Meelk!’

‘Yes, milk!’ Scaychie replied.

‘Milk!’ Geoff’Selulu cried out before nuzzling against Scaychie’s shawled-covered chest with enthusiasm. ‘Now!’


‘You want to talk about what happened?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Talia. ‘I guess we have to, don’t we?’

‘I suppose we do,’ Dale replied. ‘Well.... First things first; do you like me?’

Talia looked away, focusing her gaze on the school yard and scanning the building for signs of students. ‘Yes.’

‘Do you want to date me?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘You don’t know?’ Dale asked, his fingers tapping on the wheel again.

‘I’ve been trying to decide all day,’ Talia admitted. ‘That’s why I didn’t want to talk about it sooner. Because I’m just not sure. It’s... overwhelming. And I’m sorry. I wish I had an answer.’

‘Hey, it’s alright,’ Dale replied, and she felt his hand rest on hers. When she turned, his gaze was soft, and kind, and full of love, and it made her heart wrench sideways and upside down. ‘You don’t have to be sure, yet. You can think about it.’

‘You’d wait for an answer?’ Talia almost scoffed. ‘That’s.... I don’t know how long it’ll take me. What if it takes me a week to decide?’

Dale shrugged. ‘Then I’ll wait a week for the answer.’

‘God, I want to strangle you! Stop being so sweet!’ Talia groaned. She caught a glimpse of Dale’s grin as she turned and dropped her head against the window with a huff. They both sat for a while, staring at the nearby buildings, before Talia let out an exasperated breath and turned back. ‘Dale?’

‘Yeah?’

‘Thanks,’ she managed. ‘For being patient with me. I appreciate it.’

‘It’s alright,’ he replied.

Then the bell rang, and less than a minute later students were pouring out the doors into the yard.

‘Here they come,’ Dale said.

‘Oh, no, is that Jacob?’ Talia groaned— And then felt herself relax as Jacob waved goodbye and veered off in another direction. ‘Oh thank god. I did not want him being involved in this conversion.’

‘Yeah, talk about awkward,’ Dale gave a half-hearted laugh, which became much more genuine as Gavin pulled open the car door and leapt in. ‘Hey, Gav, how was school?’

‘Was alright,’ Gavin replied, throwing his bag in the foot-well and pulling on his belt. ‘What were you doing in mum’s bed last night?’

For god’s sake, Gavin! Talia almost screamed as she watched her son through the rear-view mirror. Have some tact!

Thankfully, Dale chuckled. Though it was awkward. ‘Just chilling.’

Gavin’s brow furrowed, and he looked confused as he stared at Dale. ‘Chilling?

‘Yeah, chilling!’ Dale repeated. ‘Nothing wrong with two people just, you know, hanging out!’

‘In bed together?’

‘Yeah!’ said Dale, his voice cracking as he blushed. ‘Just two good friends. Hanging out.’

Gavin looked at his mother. Then to Dale. Then back and forth again before he rolled his eyes. ‘You asked her out, didn’t you?’

‘Yes,’ Dale admitted.

‘Like you said you would.’

‘Yes.’


Pretty sure I've posted this before, but I think it was back with the old post types and I'm gonna guess the formatting is all messed up so 😅 just gonna repost instead of looking for it!

A sadder scene from my book


‘I didn’t want this,’ she managed.

‘I know,’ Dale replied. ‘I’m sorry.’

‘I didn’t want Gavin,’ the words just came out, and she felt so guilty as she heard what she was saying... but she couldn’t stop as she continued, ‘I wanted— I tried— My parents didn’t let me get an abortion! And then— When Evan— When he broke up with me they said— They didn’t— Want— An unmarried mother in their— Their house—’

‘—Breathe, Talia,’ Dale reminded her.

I’m a terrible mother!’ she blurted.

‘No you’re not,’ said Dale.

‘I almost gave him away!’ Talia sobbed. ‘I was— I was going to give him away! But then I saw— I saw his face and I— I couldn’t! I couldn’t....’

Breathe,’ his voice was so soft Talia wasn’t sure he’d actually said anything. ‘You’re okay. You’ve done a good job.’

‘I haven’t.’

‘You have.’

‘But I—’

‘—Talia, listen to me,’ Dale interrupted. ‘You’re a good mother.’

She didn’t believe him. ‘But I was going to give him up.’

‘That doesn’t make you a bad mother,’ Dale replied. ‘Even if you had given him up. It wouldn’t have made you a bad mother.’

She swallowed, and rubbed her eyes. ‘I just.... After Evan left I didn’t know what to do.’


‘Whoa,’ Gavin leant back against the car seat. ‘There’s a lot about dating I don’t know yet.’

‘Well, you’re only eleven,’ Dale comforted. ‘Give it some time, and you’ll figure it out. No reason to rush.’

‘Right, you’ve had a lot of practice, haven’t you?’

‘Yep.’

‘Good,’ said Gavin. ‘You can teach my mum, then! She’s never dated anyone! Not since she had me! So she’s not very good at it and will need a lot of help.’

‘Gavin—’ Talia cut off with a sigh and eyed her son through the rear-view mirror. ‘Honey. Please. I’m not completely useless.’

Mmm,’ Gavin pulled a face, and Talia wasn’t sure whether or not she should have been offended. ‘When it comes to dating you kinda are.’

‘Honey—’

‘—I think you’re just bad at talking to people,’ Gavin continued. ‘Like. In general? It’s not something you’re very good at. Even with Trish and Anna you can get kinda weird and mean.’

‘Hey, Gav, keep the roasts for dinner,’ Dale cut in. Then he eyed Talia and gave her a cheeky grin. ‘Just because something’s true doesn’t mean you need to say it.’

‘Dale!’ Talia snapped, feeling her cheeks flush hot. ‘You boys— I swear to god! I will get out of this car right now and walk home if you don’t watch your mouths!’

‘We’re on the highway,’ Dale commented. ‘I’m going eighty.’

‘You think that’ll stop me?’ Talia put her hand on her seatbelt buckle and raised her brow. ‘You think I’m afraid to prove a point?’

Dale didn’t reply. Instead, he reached for the dashboard— And Talia heard the car doors lock as he pressed one of the buttons under the radio.

‘Smart choice,’ Talia commented, resting her hands on her knees.

‘Well, I want you alive,’ Dale chuckled. ‘You know. On account of the whole, loving you thing.’


A quick exerpt from chapter 13 of A Man Worth a Million! Dale and Talia are FINALLY getting together!

This is one of my favourite scene changes in the book so far shdhd.

500 words


‘So...’ Dale glanced to his office. He didn’t want to go in. He didn’t want to spend the day with a wall between them, when there was so much to say instead. ‘Work, huh?’

‘Mm,’ Talia tapped her foot anxiously, her eyes still on her paperwork as her hands found their way behind her back and her glasses slipped forward to the end of her nose. ‘Work.’

‘Work,’ Dale repeated. Then he gave a shrug and turned to his office. ‘Well, then. I guess I’ll just....’

He’d barely taken two steps before Talia’s hand found his arm and he turned back, just in time for her to lift herself onto her toes and peck him on the lips. He felt his entire body stiffen as she dropped back down and looked away again.

‘We’ll talk after work,’ she muttered. ‘I just need some time to think about things.’

‘Yeah,’ Dale gave her a nod. His knees were so weak he thought he might collapse as he swallowed and licked his lips— Tasting that lipstick again. ‘I understand. Just... after work, right?’

‘Right.’

‘Right,’ it took all of Dale’s effort to turn back to his office. And his heart stopped when he saw Aiden standing awkwardly in his doorway, half-filled bag of garbage in one hand, broom in the other.

‘Oh... Uh,’ Aiden looked past Dale, and Dale could only guess that Talia was glaring daggers at him as he blushed and rushed to the elevator. He pressed the button too many times, both while waiting for it to arrive and waiting for the doors to close.... And then, as they were closing, Dale saw him drop his things and pull out his phone.

Probably to gossip to Meg. Who would tell Trish. Who would call Talia.... And who knew how that would go?

Dale certainly didn’t— So he hurried into his office and closed the door.

~~~~

Talia was furious at Aiden. The bastard had slunk off home after telling Meg about the kiss, and Talia hadn’t been able to strangle him to death in the break room like she’d been hoping to after she’d gotten off the phone with Trish.

Smart idea he had, fucking off after a stunt like that.... But he had to come back to work someday, and when he did.... She was going to kill him.

Dale pulled up into the pickup bay of Gavin’s school and Talia let out a heavy sigh. She knew it was coming. He hadn’t said anything the whole drive, and they had to talk about it before they picked up Gavin.... He’d ask questions about that morning. And Talia had no idea how to answer any of them.

Dale’s fingers rapped against the steering wheel for a moment before he leant back in his seat and let out a sigh of his own.

‘So,’ he started.

‘So....’

‘You want to talk about what happened?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Talia. ‘I guess we have to, don’t we?’


Been doing some world building and cleanup over the past few days. The Har'py language has like, 5 pronouns.

Me, You, Them, Mine, and Not Mine (yours/theirs)

imo it sums them up really well. They do have gendered words (like mother/father) but their pronouns aren’t gendered, because it doesn't serve a purpose for them to differentiate between him and her. All that matters is that it's Not Me and it's Not You.


Look at Us

A short story, based on a dream. Supposed to be vague and make you feel uneasy. Hopefully it achieves that!

1326 words.

Download links can be found HERE if you would prefer it as a PDF, ePub, or .docx!

cw: violence || kidnapping/abduction || aliens/monsters


It had been two days, Kia guessed, since she’d been captured.

Rescued?

Should she say rescued?

It didn’t feel like she’d been rescued.

They’d saved her life, she supposed. But it felt more like she’d been captured.

The never-ending waiting was consuming her whole and the feelings of loneliness and boredom were only broken by the bouts of anxiety she felt when she heard footsteps approaching her room.

But of what must have been hundreds of times, only twice did they come in.

Two days. Two visits. Two meals.

She was hungry. And not just for food.

She needed more than this.

At least the bed was comfortable. If she could call it a bed.…

It was more like a nest. Round, with a lip on the edge.

Definitely not designed for a creature taller than it was wide, but big enough for her to stretch out.… Just.

Footsteps.

Anxiety.

Relief.

She let out a breath.

They were just passing by.

The thought of one of those… things, coming into the room again was enough to make her hair stand on end.

She wasn’t sure what was creepier.

Their pulsing gelatin bodies? Or their writhing tentacles limbs?

She shivered when she thought of the one that had returned her smile.

Their teeth weren’t pleasant, either.

Whatever they were, they terrified her.

She rubbed her arms and sat up, looking out the window into the yawning black beyond the metal wing.

Could it be called a wing?

Maybe.

Probably not.

She spied speckles of light in the distance. Barely there.

If they were stars or other ships she couldn’t be sure. But when she looked at them her skin crawled and they made her sure the worst part of the creatures were their eyes.

Their eyes scared her most.

There were so many, and they never stayed in the same place for long.

Should she sleep again?

She was bored.

Footsteps.

Anxiety.

Pause.

They were outside, now, and Kia could barely hear their mutters over the beating of her own heart.

Keep walking.

Keep walking.

Oh, please, keep walking!

The door spun open, and Kia swallowed down her cry and buried her face into her misshapen pillow so she mightn’t see the creature’s face.

She could hear as it approached, its slimy long limbs slapping the ground with fast and heavy steps as it came to a stop at the bed.

She dared to peek, and caught a glimpse of a second one as it came into the room. It was smaller than all the others she’d seen so far. It would probably only have stood up to her shoulder, if she’d had the courage to face it.

Strange.

But she didn’t want to think about it.

‘Look at us,’ the words were garbled, like static from a radio, and Kia wasn’t sure if she was hearing or hallucinating.

She felt as if she shouldn’t have understood it— As if it wasn’t speaking the words she heard. But thinking about it made her skin crawl so she looked away and pushed her face deeper into the bed.

‘Look at us!’ a second voice snapped, scratching like a skipped record.

‘Be patient.’

‘Look at us!’

‘Be patient.’

Kia dared another glance, and saw the small one scramble to the chair she’d never sat in.

‘Make her look!’ it demanded.

‘Be patient.’

She had a feeling it was young. Just a child.

‘Look at us!’

‘Be patient.’

Kia turned her head a little more. Just enough to see the larger of the two had turned its back to her. But then as she stared, welts bubbled on its skin and eyes appeared from nowhere, and Kia let out a cry and buried herself back into the bed.

‘Don’t look away.’

She didn’t dare look back.

Something curled around her wrist and she could only guess it was a tentacle.

What are you?’ she whispered into her pillow. ‘What do you want?

‘I am the sagman,’ it replied, its grip tightening as it pulled her closer. ‘And I want you to look at us.’

She knew she had no choice.

Trembling, she turned, and caught sight of the child’s staring eyes.

As soon as she saw it she felt a stabbing pain burst through her skull, like a hundred fingers had been jammed into her brain.

She heard screaming.

Deeper and deeper the fingers pushed, forcing their way into her.

She realised she was hearing herself.

‘Gentle,’ the sagman said. ‘Not so deep. Not so quick.’

‘But it’s in there! I can find it!’

She was still screaming.

She couldn’t stop it.

She couldn’t look away.

And she was still screaming.

‘Enough,’ the older creature shifted, moving in the way of the child.

As soon as its gaze was broken the fingers pulled out of Kia’s head and she was left with a throbbing feeling that would have made her sick if she hadn’t been so hungry.

‘Gently.’

Her head was spinning as she fell back and hid under the blankets.

‘Look at us.’

A whimper escaped her as the creature found her ankle.

‘Look at us.’

‘No!’ she cried, yanking her leg away.

‘And you’ve made her resistant,’ she heard the sagman say. ‘You have to be gentle.’

Kia felt her blankets being lifted away, and she let out a cry and turned her face to her pillow— But that was removed, too, and she was left with nothing to hide in.

‘Look at us,’ the sagman ordered.

Please. No,’ she breathed. ‘No.

‘Look at us.’

She didn’t want to.

But a tentacle wound around her and she swallowed as she was pulled up and made to sit.

‘Open your eyes.’

She didn’t want to.

‘Look at us.’

The tentacle was around her neck now. Softly lifting her chin and stroking her cheek as if trying to be tender.

‘Look at us.’

She dared to peek, and felt the child’s fingers back in her head.

Not so deep.

Not so quick.

But still there.

And still painful.

Kia struggled, closing her eyes and letting out another cry as the sagman let her go and she fell to her side, her empty stomach heaving nothing onto the bed.

They let her catch her breath before she felt the tentacle on her arm again.

‘Look at us.’

‘It hurts,’ was all she could manage.

‘Look at us.’

She couldn’t stop trembling as the creature held her up again.

‘Look at us.’

It took all of her effort to do what she was told.

She met the large one’s eyes, this time, and felt softer fingers in her head.

She winced.

It still hurt.

She blinked.

The fingers disappeared. Then came back.

‘Keep them open,’ the sagman told her, and she could tell now that the voice was inside her head like the fingers.

She could feel the creature shifting her thoughts around. Memories flicked in and out of her vision like bright lights as it went through her mind, memory by memory.

What was it searching for?

She tried not to blink again.

If it found what it wanted, maybe it would stop.

She hoped it would stop.

Then it grabbed something in her mind and she felt a hard tug before the fingers disappeared from her head. As it left her it pulled something out with it, leaving her dizzy and sore.

Her entire body ached.

The sagman put her down carefully and she groaned.

The pillow wasn’t soft enough for her aching head, and the blanket that was laid over her wasn’t warm anymore, but she was glad it was finally over.

‘Did you find it?’

‘Yes. I found it.’

Footsteps, from the bed to the door, and something clicked and spun. But she didn’t dare open her eyes to check what it was.

‘What do we do with her, now?’

The sagman hesitated.

The door whirled shut.

And the footsteps started down the hall.

‘I’m not sure.’


I know I need to do more editing on chapter 12, but I'm just REALLY excited for chapter 13, and wrote the opening scene for it. Now it's somehow 4am, but I'm feeling fulfilled after struggling so much with the last chapter.

Talia and Dale *finally* have that wonderful moment.

970 words


It had been a long night. Talia could barely keep her eyes open as she rocked in the passenger seat of Dale’s car.

It was calming, looking out the window at the dark, wet road. It reminded her of when she was young, and things were simpler. Easier.

She almost wished it didn’t. She didn’t want to remember her parents talking in the front seat as they drove around the block in an effort to lull her to sleep. Like they actually cared about her, or something. ...

She glanced into the rear view mirror with weary eyes and couldn’t help but smile when she saw Trish brush the hair away from Anna’s face before stealing a kiss. ... And Dale missed it as he glanced into his blind spot to turn.

Of course he would miss it, Talia felt herself laugh. It was weak, and tired, but it found its way from her chest to her nose and she felt the urge to cover her mouth as Dale pulled into the apartment’s parking lot.

‘Something funny?’ Dale asked.

‘Just ... nothing,’ Talia muttered, resting her head against the window again.

Gavin would be in bed by now. That was a relief. She didn’t think she’d be able to put him in bed if he wasn’t. ... But as Dale had said before, he always seemed to listen to Richard.

Talia was snapped back awake by the sound of Dale pulling on the hand-break. She didn’t think she’d fallen asleep, but she must have. Just for a moment or two as Dale had parked the car. ... Had she?

God, she was tired.

‘Hey, wake up, hon,’ Trish gently shook Anna until she let out a yawn and mumbled herself conscious again. ‘We’re home. Come on, I’ll tuck you in with the heated blanket and rub your feet.’

The girls climbed out of the car and wearily stumbled through the lot to the stairwell door.

‘Trish seems like a great friend,’ Dale commented as the girls started up the stairs.

Talia was too tired to think of something mean to say. She could barely muster up the energy to think about how stupid he was.

Stupid and charming.

It scared her, how much she liked him. ... How much she’d enjoyed the kiss. She had loved it. And although she’d spent all night trying, she couldn’t seem to convince herself otherwise.

She’d had the perfect excuse for it, too. And Dale never had to know that it had been something she’d been wanting to do. That it was a type of intimacy she’d been craving for so long she hadn’t even realised just how much she’d needed it before it was over.

Maybe he enjoyed it too?

Wishful thinking, she told herself.

Though. ... He’d licked his lips all night. Long after the lipstick mark had disappeared. Like he was hoping for the feeling to come back, just like she was.

Maybe she should say something. ...

No. She couldn’t.

Why not?

Because—

Because. ...

Because she had to go to bed.

Yeah.

She had to go to bed.

Bed. ...

And she realised she was already in bed, and Dale was halfway out her bedroom door.

‘Dale?’ she muttered. Had he carried her up the stairs again?

‘Yeah?’ he paused to let her speak, his form silhouetted by the hallway light that spilled into the room and cast yellow-black shadows along the walls.

A hundred thoughts tried to find their way out of her head. But in the end, a weak, ‘Stay?’ was all she could manage.

Dale let go of the door and made his way across the room, each step letting more of the light into the room— But his shadow never pulling away from Talia’s face. Even when he sat beside her, he shielded her eyes from the harsh yellow light.

Talia lifted herself onto an elbow and took a deep breath.

She had to say something.

About her feelings. About her fears.

She had to tell him how much she wanted him.

She had to.

Tell him.

Tell him!

‘I’m sorry,’ she muttered. ‘I’m sorry I’m always so ... so me. I’m trying not to be. To be a better person. ... It’s hard.’

Dale’s hand met hers, and she felt a shiver crawl from her toes to her ears as their eyes met.

He didn’t say anything else as he lifted her blanket and slipped underneath it.

And she felt warm, and wasn’t sure if it was her blush or if it was Dale’s arms around her as his fingers ran through her hair and his lips slowly ... so, so slowly ... pressed against hers for the second time that night.

It was so perfect.

So wonderful.

Nothing could ever. ...

Nothing could ever disturb this. ...

Could it?

Talia closed her eyes and took in a deep breath.

Then she jolted awake as a shape with the weight of an eleven-year-old boy leapt onto her legs and shouted that it was late for school.

School?

Oh no— Gavin!

She’d slept in!

Talia tried to clamber out of bed, but tripped on Dale.

Dale?

She half-processed the thought before she heard her son’s feet hit the floor and her brain started to bounce between the two boys in her bedroom.

Gavin—

School—

Dale—

Kiss—

Gavin—

Dale—

Gavin—

‘Talia?’

‘School!’

She climbed over the top of Dale to reach her bedside table, and fumbled with Gavin’s medicine.

‘School?’ Dale echoed. ‘Oh, shit— Gavin!’

He fell out of bed after Talia and bolted into the kitchen with enough force to almost demolish it. Talia grabbed his keys as they fell to the floor behind him and practically threw Gavin’s medicine into his mouth.

‘Keys!’ she exclaimed. ‘Medicine!’

‘Lunch!’ Dale responded. ‘Car!’

‘Downstairs! Hurry! Go! Go! Now!’

The door slammed behind them with a bang, and the apartment was left to fall silent.


She's a lesbian, Dale.

490 words


‘We know Zoey,’ Anna chimed in. ‘Trish and her went to uni together.’

‘Oh, perfect!’ Ashleigh put an arm around Penny and grinned. ‘So nobody is without a buddy!’

‘Some of us are a bit more than buddies,’ Trish elbowed Anna in the side before wrapping an arm around her and pulling her into a tight hug.

Dale’s heart skipped a beat.

Was Trish talking about him and Talia? No. She couldn’t be. There was no way for her to know he liked her— Unless Gavin had told her? But … Gavin had promised he hadn’t told anyone. And Dale trusted him with that. Besides, he was almost completely sure that if Trish found out about his crush, Talia would know within the day.

Maybe she just meant that her and Anna were roommates? Or— Ah! It was probably because they were best friends!

‘Earth to Dale!’

A pillow slammed into Dale’s face and he was tugged back to reality. ‘What?’

‘I said “Happy Birthday”!’ Zoey threw another pillow, though Dale caught this one. ‘Twenty-eight! You’re so old!’

‘Twenty-eight isn’t old!’ Talia huffed and rolled her eyes, though Dale could see her grin. ‘I’m twenty-eight!’

‘Exactly. You’re old,’ Trish replied. ‘Pretty sure you’re the oldest one here!’

‘Actually, Penny’s thirty,’ Ashleigh corrected.

‘WHAT! No way!’

‘Y-Yeah, I am,’ Penny managed, pulling one of the thick, heavy blankets over herself. She glanced around the other girls before shrugging. ‘I have a good skin-care routine, that’s all. … So, party games?’

‘Party games!’ Ashleigh echoed. ‘Yes! What do we start with?’

‘I’d suggest paper, scissors, rock, but I always end up picking scissors because, well,’ Trish winked at Anna. ‘You know.’

‘Nasty!’ Zoey threw another pillow, this time hitting Trish so hard she toppled backwards out of the nest of blankets she’d made herself. ‘Dis-GUST-ing!’

‘Hey, come on,’ Dale raised a hand. ‘There’s nothing wrong with having a preference! I always pick rock. I know it’s a losing strategy but that’s just part of the fun.’

Zoey hesitated. Then glanced to Anna and mouthed something Dale couldn’t make out. Then, when Anna shook her head, Zoey let out a laugh that was even louder than Trish’s and flopped onto her side.

‘Am I missing something?’ Dale asked. ‘Because it feels like I’m missing something.’

‘Nobody tell him,’ said Trish. ‘He’s gotta figure it out himself.’

‘Figure what out?’ Dale asked, much to the amusement of the party. ‘What am I missing?’

‘You’ll get it one day,’ Ashleigh pet Dale’s shoulder and grinned before turning back to the others. ‘What about truth or dare?’

‘Oh, FUCK yes!’ Trish exclaimed. ‘I LOVE truth or dare! Zoe, pass us that bottle!’

The girls all began to shuffle into a circle, clearing the blankets from the centre of the floor, and Dale was left sitting in stunned silence.

What was he supposed to be figuring out himself?


‘What is this?’

‘If you want, I’ll leave my family for you,’ Sensin told her. ‘This place is for sale. We could live here. You and me and the kids. All you have to do us say so.’

‘S-Sensin, you—’

‘—I love you, Elli. More than anything else,’ he took her hands in his and squeezed them. ‘Even more than Ykelt loves Ziu. And I’ll do anything to prove it to you.’


After around 10 years of barely speaking to his son, Linzor visits Centela and Mingan for their wedding and is his usual, horrible self.

640 words

cw: implied abuse / Linzor being an absolute creep


Mingan limped to Centela’s side and gave Linzor a polite nod. ‘It’s wonderful to have you here, Linzor. It’s been such a long time.’

Linzor just stared at Mingan. His eyes darted over her, as if taking in every way she’d changed since she had been a child, and the twitch of his lip into a half-smile filled Centela with the urge to throw himself between his father and his wife.

But he held back and took a deep breath. His father hadn’t done anything, he told himself as he let the breath out. He was just being ... strange, again. That’s all it was.

‘You look like your mother looked when she was your age.’

The urge came back, and Centela couldn’t stop himself taking the step. ‘Y-Yeah. People say that a lot—‘

‘—You have her eyes,’ Linzor continued. ‘Smile for me.’

‘Pardon?’

‘Smile,’ Linzor repeated.

Mingan looked like she didn’t want to. And when she took Centela’s hand and squeezed it Centela knew he had to say something— But he couldn’t think of a single thing—

‘You won’t even smile for your father-in-law?’ Linzor cooed, a false sweetness to his voice. ‘Pity. Though, if you’re anything like your mother I’ll get it out of you sooner or later!’

Centela felt Mingan’s nails dig into his hand and he lifted his wings up, faking a laugh as an excuse to shield Mingan. ‘Hah! Well, you know, she’s nothing like Elli. So why even try?’

Linzor’s grin disappeared into a cool judgement as he looked at his son. He stared for a moment before loudly licking a fang and grunting.

‘You got fat.’

‘Y-Yeah. I did.’

‘Oh well. I don’t know what I was expecting, leaving you with wolvens,’ he shrugged and turned for the door. ‘Come. We’ll head back to the party. You can show me how much your flight has improved on the way.’

Centela felt his scales go cold, and didn’t move. ‘I. … I can’t.’

‘You can’t what?’

‘Fly.’

Linzor rounded on his son. ‘What? Why not!’

‘I. ... I got too fat.’

‘TOO FAT?’ Linzor snapped. ‘What do you mean you got “too fat” to fly!’

Centela jumped and squeezed Mingan’s hand. ‘I mean— I mean I got fat. A-And now I can’t fly.’

Linzor rubbed his temples and let out a long, angry groan before dropping his hands to his sides and scowling. ‘You’re unbelievable. Alright, well, what did you pull me aside for in the first place?’

‘Well, I wasn’t sure how to tell you in my letter,’ Centela swallowed. ‘But ... Mingan’s pregnant.’

‘About time,’ replied Linzor. ‘What else?’

‘Uh, that was it?’

‘For fucks sake, you think being pregnant is special? Half your sisters back home are pregnant!’ Linzor turned to walk away. He called over his shoulder as he made for the door, ‘Next time you make me waste my time it better be for something that’s actually important!’

Centela felt Mingan squeeze his hand again and looked at her.

‘It’s alright,’ she reassured. ‘I’m sure he cares.’

Centela shrugged and turned back to watch his father, who was examining an expensive vase beside the staircase. ‘I. ... I don’t think he does.’

After a moment Linzor pushed the vase off its stand. It fell to the ground and shattered with a loud crash and Centela felt Mingan flinch. Linzor stared at the shattered ceramic for a moment longer before twitching a wing and making his way outside.

‘I thought …’ Centela hesitated, and looked to the floor.

‘Centy?’ Mingan asked.

‘I thought maybe I’d just remembered wrong,’ he muttered. ‘That it was just because I was young and time made me think it was worse than it was. … But he’s … exactly as I remember him. … It was a mistake to invite him.’


Toro and Ell'ian, after a hard day, listening to Dellor pass by their room.

cw: implied abuse


Ell’ian went silent and tensed, cowering into Toro’s side as Dellor’s footsteps made their way to the bedroom’s door. They paused, and Toro felt himself trembling. ... And he realised that Ell’ian must have felt it, too, because she shifted until she was learning over him, hiding him under herself as Dellor stood on the other side of the door. Her breathing was quick and quiet, and her entire body was stiff as she glared at the door, her face turned in a scowl that didn’t quite hide the fear in her eyes.

Then Toro’s father began down the hall again and Ell’ian relaxed. The tension left her body with a sigh and she lay limply over Toro.

‘Thank you,’ was all Toro could manage.

Ell’ian didn’t respond, not with words, but he felt her shift anxiously on top of him before she slid off the bed and curled up on the floor.

‘Ell?’

‘He is evil,’ she said, her voice quivering.

‘He’s ...’ Toro hesitated. ‘Troubled.’

Evil,’ this time the word was a hiss. ‘I know evil. I know it. And it is him. Deep inside him. Evil. Evil like sabres— And evil like spiders. ... Evil like Ref’elute.’

Her brother, Toro was surprised he remembered the name as he joined Ell’ian on the floor. He didn’t say anything else; just offered her his open arms and held her tightly when she leant into him. He ran his hand through her hair until he felt her grip on his arm loosen and, after making sure she was asleep, he lifted her back onto the bed and curled up beside her.


Toro and Dellor fight

cw: child/spousal abuse mentions


‘I NEVER SAW YOU HUG HER!’ he shouted. ‘NOT ONCE!’

‘She never did anything to deserve it—’

‘—DESERVE IT?’ Toro shrieked, leaping from the statue at his father, who rushed backwards to avoid being jumped on. ‘You beat the shit out of her! And you beat the shit out of me!’

‘Only because I had to keep you in line!’ Dellor snapped.

‘Oh, that’s rich!’ Toro growled, grabbing the hilt of his sword and half-unsheathing it. ‘You had to beat a four year old into line?’

Dellor set his jaw, and Toro drew his sword to full length and pointed it at his father.

‘Don’t make a fool of yourself with this facade you’ve got going,’ Dellor scoffed. ‘You don’t know a thing about parenting— look at your children! I’ve never seen a lot more out of line! You do know what people say about you?’

‘They’re happy,’ Toro growled. ‘What people think about us will never be more important than that.’


A bit rough so I'll have to go over it and do some more editing, but I FINALLY started working on A Man Worth a Million again! Here's some of what I did earlier today :3

400 words


Talia let out a groan as Trish kicked the back of her chair again, then unclipped her seatbelt and clambered out of the car before Dale had managed to fully park.

‘Talia!’ Dale exclaimed, hitting the breaks as she stepped onto the road. ‘Jesus, Talia!’

‘Yeah, she’s like that,’ Trish replied. ‘She stands up on the bus before it parks and is at the door before it’s open. Impatient, isn’t she?’

‘She might’ve be more patient if you stopped kicking her,’ Dale sighed and took his foot off the break again and slid into reverse so he could park properly.

‘Mmmhmmm,’ Anna took another loud slurp of her drink, which now sounded mostly empty, before following Talia.

‘Hey! Anna!’ Dale felt the car jolt as he stopped it again. ‘Anna!’

Trish let out a loud snort-laugh and clambered out after Anna.

‘TRISH! At least shut the door, Trish!’ Dale called after the girl.

She ignored Dale, instead blowing a loud raspberry and following Talia and Anna into the house.

All Dale could do was let out a loud sigh and roll his eyes as he reversed into place and then shut off the car. He climbed out to close Trish’s door before making his way through the yard to his house— Which was locked.

‘You’re kidding me!’ he called through the door, shaking his head and grinning when he heard a chorus of laughter from his lounge room. He knocked on his door. ‘Parcel delivery!’

‘Ooh, I’ll get it!’ a familiar voice moved from the lounge to the hall and the door was yanked open by a tall, blonde woman. ‘Hello, where’s this parcel?’

‘Ashleigh, nice to see you again,’ Dale gave a nod, then held out his hands as if passing her something. ‘Sign here.’

‘Oh, but of course!’ Ashleigh took the air that Dale had offered her and mocked signing it before handing it back. ‘Now, the parcel?’

‘Right here,’ Dale pointed to himself.

‘Aw, dang,’ Ashleigh sighed dramatically and rolled her eyes. ‘They got my order wrong! I ordered a completely different model!’

‘I’m afraid you’ll have to take that up with customer service. Their number redirects overseas, and it takes four hours to get through to them.’

‘Ugh, fine, I suppose you’ll have to do!’ Ashleigh stepped away from the door and threw her hands in the air. ‘I’m sorry, girls! We got the wrong product! Disappointment all around!’

Groans filled the air as Ashleigh disappeared into the lounge. Dale quickly followed her and was greeted by a playful cheer.


‘Ell, sweetheart, it’s morning,’ he gives her a gentle shake. ‘The sun’s coming up!’

Ell’ian groans and rolls over. ‘Tell the sun to fuck off.’


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