A Musicless Matinee

A morning without music

It was the first morning of a new era. The sun shone a shade brighter, it appeared so. A lungful of fresh air never tasted so sweetly before. Senses multiplied overnight as if by magic. Suddenly, people saw their world in an entirely different light. And they were right to do so, of course. There was an effervescence in the air, hope in people’s hearts, the notes of revolution still fresh on everyone’s lips. Yesterday evening, the world changed to the tune of thundering cannon-fire and sorcery. Today was a matinee deserving of new music.

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The Smell of Hay, Oil and Clouds on the Horizon

The smell of hay, oil and the sight of mechs on the horizon

The noon heat was at its suffocating best, the sun busily going about baking people’s scalps, when Talya’s father called a break from the labor. Everyone had been waiting for the whistle, signaling the pause. Men dropped their scythes. On cue, the women stashed the pitchforks and left the hay bales, then brought out baskets laden with food for the midday repast. The rhythmic hum of harvest was replaced by a tune. Its first lilting notes, sung by a maid, were soon picked up by a choir of men and women. Their voices carried the joy only work well-done could procure. The gaggle of children running merrily around, spurred by the joyous song, completed the tableau.

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Her Majesty, the Queen of Gorgons

Medusa, the Queen of Gorgons

There were three of us, once upon a time, but only one that mattered. I, Medusa. The youngest of three sisters, the Gorgons. Mortally beautiful, so the tales tell. Or beautifully mortal, depending on who was looking. I got more than I ever bargained for, however, in exchange for my beauty. I caught a god’s eye. Crowned by a goddess, I was. The very one I served loyally and without question. A crown of living snakes was my reward. And eyes that could turn to stone.

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Un Momento di Leggerezza

A cappuccino for a moment of levity

It is a special moment, a moment of leggerezza, levity in Italian, a moment long sought after, sipping my hot cappuccino on the deck of the ship just out of port. The bar of our ferry is packed with tourists, yet I smirk knowingly, almost a local, I think. As an Italian explained to me once, you do not drink cappuccinos after noon. It’s 10 am or so and I count my cup a small, well-earned victory. Naught but a private joke shared between us.  A notch on our oft-traveled belt no one will notice.

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King

The King

Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

Or so they say.

I beg to differ. Never quite noticed the weight. Until it no longer sat on my brow, that is. Like a maimed man, I feel now, without it. Phantom pain is my sole companion, when we used to be one, before. Would anyone argue I miss the comfort of my crown, then? The cool touch of metal. The weight of wealth. Power, too. The piercing, dazzling realness of it only a hundred different cut jewels can bestow. Aye, crowns always suited me. Felt right at home, seated atop my hair of silver.

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The Inked Girl

Bree is a tinkerer and wannabe cog-weaver. For that, she needs ink.

“That’ll do for one sitting, Bree,” Jaqo said. He reclined in the plush, high-backed armchair, then went about routinely cleaning his inkjector.

Breezelocks, or Bree, as her friends called her, skipped over to the mirror. One of the few vanity items she owned, it was a cracked and smudged thing. Mattered little to her now, of course. She twisted this way and that, brushing away her black, unruly dreads, to admire the latest bit of Jaqo’s precise needlework. Was excited about the addition to the collection.

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The Mist That Beckoned

The Mist that Beckoned

I rode in a coach across the countryside, on a road wholly undeserving of the appellation. A beaten track amid the fields ‘twas, more like. Barely wide enough for our carriage to pass. Not that there was much traffic the other way at the hour. Nondescript. Anonymous, very much so, as any other dust-ridden, hole-filled stretch of land this side of the zero fucks the gods gave.

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On Raven Wings

On Raven Wings

Dallas lit a cigarette. Slowly. Deliberate. Hated the damn things, he just couldn’t help himself. He did enjoy the build-up, though. Like busting out his Zippo lighter. Hefted it in his palm. Set it against the base of his thumb, the cold metal pressing into his skin. Thing was more ancient than ancient, really. Only a few spots of red and blue paint remained on the case.

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