Valley Number 12

If I write anything more than this single sentence then today will be a triumph of promise over necessity.

“Dal! Come take a look!” Neven shouted, not even bothering to pull her head back in the window of their new flat.

“I’m not going out on any of those,” Dal said as he continued to remove their clothes from a day bag and place them in unfamiliar cabinets.


“I said, ‘I’m not going out on…’. Would you get back in here?”

Neven turned from the shuttered window to face him and the room. Dal wondered if the alcove she stood in even had anything beneath it. Or if it jutted out from the building, out over the street, out from the safety of where he stood in the center of the room. He pinched the corners of a t-shirt with both hands to keep the fold intact then placed it into the top drawer.

“You can go out one of those walkways—or all of them for all I care—but you’re not getting me out on one.”

“But they all have walls. And I think I saw one with a cover…” Neven twisted to peer out the window, but turned back to the room.

“No. Just knowing that writing desk there is probably suspended…” Dal shivered.

“But the other building has all the shops. And, and food. How are we going to eat?”

“I didn’t say I wouldn’t go over there. Just not over a bridge.”

249 words on day 804

Maison dans les Feuilles

Tritti had been watching the horizon since she and Johnka climbed down from his sledge and stepped onto the desert sand. The cheap blue sky slammed harshly into the undulating orange sand as distinctly as [black frame borders a white matte]—except where Johnka now led her. There, just beyond his shoulder, a smudge marred the crisp horizon. It got wider as they approached; it did not look natural.

Less than an hour ago he’d handed her a small water bottle, apologized for a bit of a walk, and said to follow him before hiking out into the near-noon sun. He’d not stopped, slowed, nor spoken since. Johnka’s abrupt reticence and quick pace kept her quiet too and many steps back from the man she’d started thinking of as an uncle until now.

137 words on day 790

Church of the Mech (fourth down)

Martin found the encompassing feeling of the abandoned mech hanger remarkable. The lofty girders above and the open bay doors along the perimeter reminded him of a church he attended as a boy before he stopped praying.

“Thanks.” The occasional single-syllable acknowledgement was all that remained of Martin’s belief.

:Roger that, Commander.: Lieutenant Abilene Guerrera’s voice spoke in Martin’s earpiece. She drove the mech guarding above him. He smiled and pretended it was Goddess responding instead. He then tried to think of what he’d say to the Lieutenant’s inevitable query. :…uh, ‘Thanks’ for what, sir?:

:[something profound and direct]:

:Of course, sir,: Guerrera replied after a delay. Her brief protocol made Martin smile and almost laugh. He imagined her turning wide-eyed and questioning to her ensign co-pilot and him, cringing, unable to offer an explanation for their boss’s sudden melancholy. They’d chew on that shit for days, he thought.

xxx words on day 788


Napsil stepped to the edge of the deck and peered down into the fog surrounding the trunk. Other trees—their trunks the color red becomes at night—rose from the mist below then disappeared back into it above him. Unable to focus in the clouds like this, he imagined himself floating in the sky rather than standing atop his tree-tower. Surely all he need do was to close his eyes and he’d drift away like any other atomized droplet. Vapor didn’t matter.

“We can’t do this any longer and you need to come tell the others,” said Napsil’s brother, Jate. Napsil’s eyes remained closed.

“You lead them.”

“No. That’s you, brother.”

Napsil tipped his face toward where the sun might be above them. He felt the mist coalesce on his forehead and a single drop run down his scalp through his short red hair. He brushed back his responsibility with a languid wave of his hand. “Lead them from here on. Lead them away. Lead them back. I don’t care. Neither do they.”

171 words on day 775

First Part Hard

Update: a slightly more edited version of this post to read instead.

The boatman assured the men, Victor, Lars, and Daniel, there was a bike trail on the other side. Daniel pressed him for details.

“First part hard?” Daniel asked. He pointed to the bank where the bow of the longtail was headed then sketched a diagonal grade up the cliff wall where he imagined the trail might be.

The boatman waggled his head and said something in Vietnamese accented French. He pointed to the same spot on the bank then sketched a vertical line up the wall instead. Four hours later the three made camp at the top of that wall by collapsing in the leaves and mud next to the last motorcycle hauled up.

“We should of paid him,” Daniel said.

Lars grunted and asked, “To take us back across?”

Daniel nodded.

Lars grunted again.

“We should have,” Victor echoed without lifting he head out of the dirt or taking his eyes out of the canopy and clouds.

“Jesus. You too? You two kill me sometimes.” Lars pulled himself into a sitting position, back leaning on Daniel’s bike. “I mean, fine, we all know Danny’s a pussy, but you Victor?”

“What, me? I’m no pussy. That was four hours we could have ridden. Gotten somewhere.” Victor’s muddy bloody arm went up at the elbow and dropped pointing in the direction of their climb.

Lars fingernailed mud out of the shocks on Daniel’s front fork and sighed. “But the long way. I say this four hours saved us twenty or more down that road.” Daniel and Victor had heard this plea of Lars’ several times before breakfast, before they came across, before they climbed half a day.

“So you say, so says the pussy.” Daniel pointed to himself.

Lars snorted a laugh through his nose faster than he could get out of his mouth, but Victor didn’t give him a chance to recover before he again echoed his twin brother, “So says the pussy.” Lars choked and sputtered after that.

[a paragraph of description for pace]

“Well, we’re here now.” Everyone knew that. “Burning daylight.” Everyone knew that too.

349 words on day 731

Her Worn Wings

Wêh hunched on a three legged stool. She was stark naked waiting to moult. Her pale skin resisted reflections because it would slough in a few hours. Her nips, lips, and tip of her nose drew attention with their deep dull pink and pre-ecdysis swollen flesh. But her eyes and her dark cyan hair, which fell from one shoulder nearly to the floor, were both bright and glossy. I asked about her eyes.


We’d been waiting and quiet awhile now, and I’d been doodling in my journal after making several notes and pointedly avoiding staring more than was scientifically necessary especially at her vulva which matched her lips in color and sheen—dammit. My unexpected query surprised her, but she quickly recovered and continued in a language we both understood, “My eyes? They don’t…uh, shed. You think they might?”

I chuckled. Her cultural preference for speaking in the present tense made for some funny conversations. “I thought they might. But was asking you since the didn’t look to be.”

170 words on day 710

The Green Man

Miriam first met the Green Man less than a week out of her mother’s womb. Her father swaddled her in the same linen cloth he’d been brought in by his father. The flax for that linen had been grown, retted, scutched, and heckled by famous druidess [her name] when she was just a student. Now—old enough to be mated and a mother herself—she came to tell him she was the last. He would never again meet another decendent of Laux.

I was possible the Green Man already knew this. It was possible her grandfather or her father had known it and had been preparing the Green Man for the revelation for years. She didn’t think so.

Worse, she wouldn’t have time to prepare him properly before she left for Kek.

I’m forcing this and getting distracted by the research part, and I can feel a night of screwing around brewing.

151 words on day 708