Hi, everyone! Hello, world! What an amazing thing it is to be here again!
Every now and then, favors graces us and we have enough stories to put up a #200WT edition. More often than not, we don’t, but … it makes days like these a gift. And it’s a gift we do not plan on giving up again 🙂
Be it a two submission #200WT edition or a ten submission edition, it will be there, week after week. Our dream has evolved in so many ways over so many years, and it continues to draw people into a magical fold of words and new friends, the works … we are not giving up on that dream. Rather we’re using it to fine-tune a future that was once only dreamed of. So what little there is, it will be published. It will be shared. That’s the most important thing.
At long last, the dream will be lived!
So, in that vein, we have some new authors on #200WT today, which is AMAZING and we are so excited to introduce them to you all! Please welcome, Ben Cass, Justin J, Megan Cutler and Eleanor Evans-Dinsmore, who says to call her Ellie!
Welcome to #200WT, guys! We are so excited for your stories today and thank you, thank you for sharing them with us! It’s an honour to be able to share your stories on Musae Mosaic!
By Ben Cass
“Is that your way of telling me that you’re still keeping secrets?” Jen turned her gaze towards Theonus. “Aside from your giant pet and the whole ‘I’m a magical warrior from another universe’ thing?”
Doyle’s eyes momentarily lost their twinkle. Jen tilted her head, studying him. “You are, aren’t you,” she said. It was not a question.
He nodded silently. She continued studying him. “And I suppose,” she began in a soft tone, wrapping her arms around his neck, “that it’s something you consider vitally important to hide from me?”
Doyle gently took her hands and peeled them away from his neck, holding them close to his chest. “I can’t begin to describe how vitally important it is. There are things you can’t know yet, in part because I don’t know how to explain them to you. Once I know, you will.” He kissed her hands. “That’s a promise. Just know this: secrets are a big part of my life. Everything about the Tayamu is shrouded in secrecy, and we like it that way. A scribe once described us as a web of secrets wrapped in lies and half-truths, shrouded in a cloak of mystery. It took millennia before people learned we actually existed; even today, there are many who believe us more myth than reality.”
Author: Ben Cass
By Justin J.
She’s said to dwell in the darkness between shadows. Watching, waiting for her chance to gather her children. Beware the twilight, children. Beware her white hood. Beware the one that seeks to make you hers. Beware the Unholy Mother.
Annie was seven years old. She was a Big Girl, so it was alright for her to be walking her garden at night. She wasn’t scared, because the stars were pretty. She liked the stars. She liked their garden, too. There were lots of pretty flowers and some very pretty trees.
Something moved near one of the trees, and Annie saw something long and white. Her mommy and daddy were inside, and nobody else lived there, so she didn’t know who it could be.
Then the singing started.
“Come now, child, Mama is calling. Come now, child, into my arms…”
Annie saw a white hood. It was pretty. So were the eyes that looked at her from underneath it. She smiled and walked towards her.
“Yes, that’s right…come to Mama…”
Annie smiled and walked into the desecrated, rotting arms that stretched out to her from the darkness. “Mama…” she said, and was gone, taken by her new Unholy Mother.
The Kantis Legend
By Megan Cutler
“It hardly seems possible,” Shashir murmured as she stroked the sleeping child’s head. He was still covered in blood, though they had doused him with what water they could spare. Would the stains ever fade?
“Did you see anyone else alive up there?” Derkas retorted, voice dead flat.
They had searched the village thoroughly when they arrived, knowing from the silence and the smell that something terrible had happened. Luckily, rot hadn’t set in, or they might not have found the boy. Those crazy, isolated kooks believed the mountain would protect them. Not one still breathed.
Except the boy, who stared solemnly at them from the center of the slain bandit hoard, his eyes bluer than the sky. He still clutched the crimson-soaked sword in his fists, though it was taller and heavier than him. How had he managed to swing it?
“He looks ten.” Shashir tucked a blanket around the boy’s shoulders, hoping the gentle sway of the caravan carts would keep him asleep. “Twelve at most.”
“The bandits didn’t kill themselves. It wouldn’t make sense.”
“And Litaio’s touch does? What does the war god want with a child?”
Derkas lifted his chin. “He’ll be a Kantis one day. The greatest warrior of our time.”
“He’ll have to be a child first,” Shashir said, pressing the boy against her side.
By Eleanor Evans-Dinsmore
The house was littered in empty takeout, and beer bottles that were attracting ants. I didn’t even care; it was a roof over my head. It didn’t have to be pretty.
3 am merged into 4 am, but sleep still wouldn’t take me. I sighed and hauled myself out of bed like a zombie. The bathroom was all the way down the hall and it felt like a mile to walk.
I lumbered maybe five steps when I stopped.
Thump … thump … thump.
Something was – lumbering too. And it wasn’t me.
My heart thudded heavily in my throat and I looked at my left, to the white painted wall.
Thump … thump.
Then silence. Like it stopped right beside me. Like whatever was in there was looking at me, too.
My hands were shaking. Mind went – completely blank. I raised a hand and knocked once on the wall.
A second later –it knocked back.
Heat, terror and adrenaline flooded my body and I turned and fled, down the stairs and to the phone. I could hear it; it was stomping, the walls were echoing and they got louder, louder, as if it was moving down the stairs. Toward me.
I picked up the phone and dialled, frantically.
I held it to my ear.
And no connection.
Thump … thump … thump.
Then … it laughed.
I dropped the receiver, grabbed my cell and ran into the downstairs bathroom, grappled with the key and locked it.
The footsteps got faster, louder. Whatever was out there, it was picking up pace, looking for me.
My heart roared in my throat, and I felt sweat pour down my face, as the footfalls went silent in front of the door. I collapsed onto the toilet, unable to stop tears from flowing with the sweat. I couldn’t breathe. This –this was it–
Then, absolute total silence.
Something gurgled in the toilet beneath me … like the water in the drain was boiling.
And then a hand latched onto me, from inside the toilet. It pulled and pulled. I screamed and screamed. I screamed on my own blood when it pulled me deeper and deeper in, my spine snapping in two, legs dangling uselessly.
I screamed as the more it pulled me, the more flesh it ate, until most of my body was gone and blood drowned everything.
I died slowly, hearing the creature laugh and chew.
My life ended completely when I heard it flush what was left of me away.
By Eleanor Evans-Dinsmore
Mommy and daddy said I was being silly. That I was lying and making up stories to get attention. Then they’d hit me and tell me to grow up.
I always said, one day, they’d get them for me. My dolls, with the glowing eyes. The souls of wronged children. They saw everything and told me … one day, you won’t have to worry. We’ll take all the hurt away, if you want?
Just give us each a kiss and we’ll take the hurt away.
So I did. And they ate my soul out of me.
Then my dolls tucked me into bed and said they were going to take care of me. They said not to come out, no matter what. To ignore the screams, even if I was very scared.
I didn’t feel anything and I didn’t care,
I’m all grown up now and after all these years, I’m back in the house where my parents died. I still don’t feel anything. But one thing’s for sure. Legend or not our playthings heard and saw it all. And if we loved them well, maye they’d avenge the wrongs done against us. They saved us, eating away what’s left of our turmoil. No child who loved a toy was ever alone.
It’s a lesson we sometimes learn much, much too late.
By Larysia Woropay
The late-October earth was covered in a layer of frost, except for at the base of the three stakes driven into the village square.
“You’ll burn! The lot of ya!” A crone in the crowd cried, pointing at the alleged bound witches. The rest of the villagers joined in, jeering and throwing up the evil eye.
Wren’s lip curled as she strained against the ropes. These sods couldn’t count or read, but they weren’t entirely stupid. They had found her out. But given the weeping of the two children beside her, they had captured innocents, as well.
“Witches, concubines of Satan!” The priest blared, Bible in one hand and a flaming torch in the other. “You will burn in hellfire! Spilling the blood of cattle to sour our harvest! Have you anything to say for yourselves?”
The girls professed their innocence through tears to an unmoved audience while the priest stared Wren down, not breaking eye contact.
“And you?” He asked her.
Wren sighed. “Let’s get on with it, levereter.”
His eyes became hard. She knew he was a pilfering git. More reason to set her aflame. He dropped the torch. But the flames didn’t spread upwards. Fire raced outward, to the villagers and their homes, setting them alight.
Wren grinned at their screams. She loved a good witch-hunt.