Grains Like Daggers

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I woke up and found myself surrounded by sand, and hot air. Every breath was like inhaling fire. I slowly circled, praying for something familiar. The mind-melting heat fizzled as my blood turned to icy sludge in my veins. There in the impossibly blue sky hung a blue and green orb – Earth. That familiar ball in the sky, as much as it should not have been there at all, was the only break in the landscape. There was no indication of safe refuge, no trail through the sand. Another rotation revealed a difference in the shades of sand. One place was darker than the rest. It might have been a trick of the light or a misfiring synapse in my brain borne of desperation, it didn’t matter. Anything was better than sitting in the endless sand waiting for death. I pulled the neck of my t-shirt over my mouth and walked toward it. I couldn’t tell how long the journey took, but the dark spot gradually drew closer, and in time, I could, at last, see it was upright and vaguely human-shaped. I’d like to say I walked faster but the truth was closer to a dehydrated shuffle. 

Finally, I reached my goal. I thought it was someone standing in robes with their back to me so I reached out a hand, to grasp their shoulder.

“Help…” I could say no more.

My hoped-for rescuer turned and became my horror.

It looked like something that had once been human, only with all of its skin removed to showcase the muscles, bone and tendon.

So kind of you to save me the task of hunting you down I heard it rasp deep in my head.

It grasped my hair with a skinless hand, curled its fingers and peeled my scalp from my skull.

I screamed as my flesh was pulled from me as easily as you skin a banana, the pain beyond anything I can put into words. I dropped to the sand, every grain like daggers biting into my unprotected nerves.

When the blackness swallowed me, it was a relief.

I don’t know how I got here, in this too-white room. You’d like me to be lying, I know. You could drug me into compliance. But every word is true, and while I don’t know how, I know he’s coming for you next. 

The End

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Carolyn

Karma Or Justice?

She studied the body. It was face down in the mud, the back of the head soaked with blood, hair matted to the skull and hardened now. The back of the denim shirt displayed hoof-prints of various types and sizes. Each of the shoulders sported a large hoof print bigger than a plate.

“What can you tell me?” She asked of the crime tech who had joined her.

“Looks like my neighbour,” came the reply. 

“About the prints,” the Detective sighed. 

“Those there are sheep-prints,” the tech pointed with a gloved hand. “Those look like cow, some big paw prints there in the middle, and I’d say those on the shoulders are at least the size of a work-horse.”

The Detective straightened and eyed the dog, sheep, cow and a large work-horse a few feet away in a fenced-in pasture. Then she looked back down at the body in the mud. “Are you telling me those animals killed your neighbour?”

The tech straightened too before studying the animals, who gazed back placidly. “Well, I can tell you he’ll never mistreat them again.”

The End

Curl Up With A Good Book Or Binge?

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The wind howls at your window, you’ve got your favourite snack and you’re ready to settle in for a long, cozy night of…?

Do you read a good book or go binge your favourite show?

If you’re the sort that would rather be whisked away by the printed or electronic word, I’d love it if you would take a minute and fill out a short reader-centric survey for me. You can find it here.

Who is your favourite author right now?

The Puzzle of Patronage

PATRONAGE: noun

  • the support or influence of a patron
  • the patronage of science by universities

Historically, artists, musicians, writers, and inventors would search out wealthy kings, popes, philanthropists and other folks of influence. Sometimes those influential people would search out artists, scholars, and the aforementioned creatives to sponsor. They would support the creative with social prestige, contacts through networking, encouragement and financial aid. 

Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and William Shakespeare all had patrons. The British Royal Family lends their patronage to various charities through exposure, contacts, time and occasionally, endowments. Modern benefactors support art galleries, museums, theater companies and other creative endeavours through financial support. Venture capitalists do the same sort of thing – supporting start-ups and emerging companies with growth potential. Only here, we’re talking about creative-folk. 

So why am I talking about this today? Because YOU can be a part of all this! 

On Patreon, patrons can support creators with either a fixed amount per month or every time the artist releases a new piece of art/piece of writing/podcast/whatever. A creator displays a goal that the ongoing revenue will go towards, so you can see what your support will be used for. Patrons can cancel their payments at any time. So what’s in it for you? Creators usually provide membership benefits for their patrons, which varies depending on their artistic mediums and the level of support. It could be a one-on-one with a rising star in film, or musician. You might get an exclusive sneak peek at a new piece of artwork before the general public does, or read a new chapter from a favourite author, or see an exclusive video from an animator. It all depends on the benefits each creator offers. But basically, fans subscribe either per work or per month in exchange for premium content.

Consider this, a donation of $3/month to a writer who promises to share exclusive flash fiction and sneak peeks at their current work in progress doesn’t sound like much, right? But if 15 people – patrons – all contribute $3/month that’s an income of $540/year. That could be the difference between paying car insurance or not. So your $3 enables a writer to get their own car to drive their kids to soccer, enabling the kids to be healthier. Or that extra $3 becomes part of a fund to help put someone’s kid through college. Or an emergency medical fund, or gas money for someone who has to travel for an ongoing medical procedure. My point is, what might seem to be a measly $3 to one person may become a part of something larger with enormous impact in someone else’s life. 

Is becoming a patron something you can do? Only you know the answer to that, but I do hope you’ll pop over to patreon.com and check them out. You might be surprised at the good you can do. If it appeals to you, you can find my page at https://www.patreon.com/cmcbride