Thomas looked out the low window. Light grazed the edges of the sky. The neighborhood, sleepy, was only beginning to stir. Trim, suburban saplings stood hazy and barely visible along dim rows of houses. In the distance, a faint band of interstate carried the occasional tapered headlight beam.

He placed his hand along Clara’s jawline, guided her face upward to his. “Go on,” she said, “Please.” He kissed her, then slid his knife in a neat line up her wrist. As she bled out in a pool on the floor, they kissed again. He held her to him until her passion failed, and then laid her gently down.

He lifted the knife again, steadied himself, brought the point to his own forearm. He watched as the tip indented then pierced his flesh. Blood fleeing him, he let the weapon clatter on the hardwood and curled himself softly around Clara’s form.


I wrote this sometime between 2001 and 2005 to share with a writing group. I was trying to condense a tragic romance into the smallest possible space. Of course, doing so sacrifices a lot—the bulk of character- and relationship-building, of context that generally allows readers to get involved with and care about the characters, to want their love to succeed. As a result, I think this little piece is far less successful than I would have liked, but still an interesting exercise.

Legends from Transcendentia

Why the Flesh-Worlder Never Eats a Spot Grub

“Through and through and through once more, so went the thread as it pierced the pore. Eat and eat and eat some more, gulp and pull on fine old lore. Drink the stitch, quaff the seam, bite the ink, taste the ream, kill the world, fill your dreams. Pull me in with folds of cloth, douse me in your age-old wrath, kill the man who kills no more, heal the wounds of the high-tech whore.”

The Chant of the Sci-Fi Sage

He ate it. Just like that, with not one thought, not one voice in his mind that cried “No, it is bad. No, it is wrong. No, it is not you.” Just like that it went down, slid on its own slime down a throat not used to the rage and rasps and wind of a new world, a throat soft and made of flesh, weak and not at all hard like the gaunt plate mail rings of a West Neeb crawl-thing. So it slid down, and its clawed hairs etched new art on the soft side of his neck, and these lines of pain sung like the chord on a beast-man’s back, and they dragged at his lungs and sucked at his breath, and they ripped their way through his flesh, ate and tore through meat and bone, through skin to air, and back as well. Breath was drawn in sharp shards and he could drink no more. Just like that. Just like that it had slid down on its own slime and chewed on his soft plush throat till breath was hard, and then he fell to the floor, and he ate spot grubs no more.