Tell me a story that you cherish. (v2, standalone)

(v1 of this piece was in the short anthology, Passive Progressions.)

This was written in September, when my life was more stable because she was not talking to me. Now, it’s a little different. Horray, for Chaos has returned to me once again!

A Romantic: A person with beliefs or attitudes of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life. ‘This is a beautiful record for hopeless romantics and dreamers – don’t let the cynics tell you otherwise.’ Essentially a reverse cynic or an idealist who’s willing to prove the world wrong in order to achieve his or her dreams.

This summer, my romantic self, the self that stayed up late on school nights watching lovely anime, and read ironic fantasies and speculative science fiction, was reawakened by someone. He is raw and unfocused, passionate and transcendental.

We talked a lot, nearly every night by message. The more I learned about her, the more in love I was. I just want to help with all of her problems, for her the romantic “Me” would conquer the earth! Blackmail the Universe! I learned exactly what all those studies meant when they stated that married men work 30% harder—or more! My creative juices flowed, she was my muse, she was the reason for hundreds of lines.

And now she’s gone, I feel left behind. Where is my love? What happened? She is young and weak, and in need of space. Here my love, take your time. She told me to move on twice or thrice. She said goodbye even more, but came back each time; each time and the last.

September cut my knees, like a certain man, I walk with a limp. My time is running out. The Romantic within me just laughs. “Haha! Is she weak? Then make her strong! Make her a man!” (He means, of course, as a warrior. He likes Jung, and believes that each person has a conscious ego that matches their gender, and an unconscious anima/animus that is the opposite gender.)

But real me? I’m seeing in tragedy. When things are too perfect, something vital is always missing. The chain pops off the bike. The lines rust out my brakes. September cut my knees and then I crashed.

So here I am now. She promised she would come back, but oh so cryptic. I pushed my luck. I have my hope. Oh love, come back!

The Romantic is sizing up all the other potential mates in my life. He wants to get married IMMEDIATELY. I say, people don’t do that anymore. It always goes wrong, and everone wants to wait until they’re middle aged and grumpy before they settle down and find out what makes humans happy.

He does not care. He says “people? Oh you mean ‘they’? They are all weak and worthless. They can go to hell. In fact, their single, lonely asses probably already feel like hell! Do not bother what ‘they’ believe. Look at her! Whew, dark hair blue eyes! And look, that one looks like your dream girl! The blonde curls, well endowed!” I have to blush. I make him stop.

The Romantic is sizing up all the other potentials in my life. I see love with virgin eyes, everyone is beautiful to me. But the Romantic? So judgmental! “I guarantee our lover had an IQ of at least 130. All these dumb women.” They are very pretty though, I say, adding, you don’t even know them that well. “Hah! But tell me, which is more beautiful than the girl I love?” I scan my memory. No one. Maybe one. And, maybe she’s also just as smart. But again, between her and I, as between my love and I, there is a barrier, so for now…

I cherish my memories and try not to feel anxious.

I hope she comes back, but I am not as certain as my Romantic side. How certain is he? “For her, I would blackmail the UNIVERSE!” But as for me…perhaps…she was never meant to be.

“But if she was!” …would she come back?

Hold on to me as tightly as I do you.
“Your wife is the closest person to you in your family.”
Why.
“Because she’s the only member that you choose, and she chooses back.”
How romantic!
Tragedy deserves its tragic end!
Hurrah!
Dance with me!

Those of Noble Status

Second Draft.

“No, you listen, we should not be here! It is an ill omen, this mist!” The man whispered, shouting almost.

“You tell me we should go back, and then you have the gaul to speak of omens?” The woman replied, quite calmly. “Omens cull the meek and annihilate the weak. There is no omen that the Spirit could not for you give an more correct answer.”

They walked, or more accurately, she walked. There was only room for one on the pale mount. Or at least, the man had decided that there was only room for one.

“Inquire within, fool,” she mumbled.

Crystal Jealousy didn’t mind the man’s attitude, not any more. They had not been on good terms for many weeks. She knew his nature very well by now, and so she simply led the giant, wrinkled bulldog along, with it’s passenger. She knew where they were going, thus it was appropriate that she led. It was also good that the man, Illinois, was on a mount. He would be less likely to leave if his sloth was so enticed. Weakness.

“Crystal! Look!” He shouted, a shriek of fright.

“Ah yes, very good.” Jealousy watched the mist.

Crystal Jealousy had to pull her hair behind her ears. Usually, she let her crowen locks fall into her face, but there were times when vision was important. She pulled her, tangled eyelashes straight, then itched her upturned nose with shined and fair-skinned hand. Something about lashes so long that they clumped together when one blinked; Jealousy found it both frustrating and interesting.

They were surrounded by knee-high, overgrown grass. Ferns and saplings were beginning to cover the long-abandoned path. Beyond the grass was dense forest, the sort of wood that blocked much of the sunlight; not that there was sun right now. Everything was grey; grey and wet. Her cloak, one of the many layers of brown and black clothing she wore, was soaked at the brim, weighing her down.

Jealousy rubbed water into her eyes with her thumb and finger and then blinked.

When she opened again, she was in a different location. This always happened to her. She knew that her associate would be in good, albeit younger and stupider hands.

 

She had left her body behind and it was now inhabited by a slightly different consciousness. The woman in Jealousy’s body snapped her head around to look at Illinois.

“Oh, I’m still with you am I?” She spat the words, and then spat at the ground.

“Oh no!” Illinois whined. “Not again!” Why did she have to get mad at him like this? He moaned on the mount, wriggling, but too lazy to get off and leave. Always too lazy to leave.

But Jealousy knew what she was doing. She had written about what had happened here. She knew what to do. She walked the man and his dog until they arrived at an intersection, and then she turned her head to face the path that met theirs. It was built from right to left. She knew this, but the information seemed unimportant.

Crystal saw the figures approaching, finally. This was what Illinois must have been complaining about, this alternate pair that came to them in the myst.

“You stupid man! This is the whole reason that she, that I came here! Quiet your moans, you fool!”

She knew that she would not have a chance to actually speak the oncoming duo, but she knew this encounter well enough that she knew that it didn’t matter. She would know what happened here in great detail in coming years.

“You would do well to stay quiet. You are not long for this…” She stopped and blinked, rubbing at her eyes again.

Jealousy was taken back to her body. She hadn’t known that the other consciousness had been talking, so she didn’t finish its sentence.

Instead, she realized what was going on; a distant chiasm that was closing before her. “Here they come.”

And to Illinois’s horror, Jealousy waved. One of the figures; the shorter, brighter one; waved back.

Within a minute, the pair was close enough that their features were visible. The taller one was very tall. He had a black mess on his head that Illinois assumed was hair. His skin was tanned, and he wore a dark grey jumpsuit, made darker in the damp. The woman was much shorter, and also wore the grey suit, although her top half was tied off at the waist. Her undershirt shone bright in the mist.

As she got closer, it was clear that there must be some relation between her and the woman.

“A… A spectre! A ghastly white image!” Illinois cried.

“Quiet. That’s my sister you idiot,” Jealousy whispered.

The upturned nose and waved hair made it clear. But it was as Illinois had said, this woman had white-blonde hair, and altogether lighter features. The effect made her look like an apparition hovering out of the evaporate.

“Oi! Who’s that then?” The woman shouted.

“Hello Janna,” Jealousy said as her sister finally came into view.

“What’s all this mess? Is that you Jealousy?” Janna was surprised, “Not dead after all, huh.”

Jealousy shook her head, “It is good that we met up like this. You need my help.”

“We what?” The tall man said.

“No no, she’s probably right. Never known Jealousy to be wrong.” Janna told him.

“I thought you only had two sisters.”

“Nope, there’s also poor Crystal Jealousy. Although…are we sisters or…something. She’s related to me anyway.”

“Well,” the man said, “What about that guy?” He pointed.

“No idea.”

“That’s Illinois, my fiancée. But not for very much longer.” Jealousy told them.

“What?!” Shrieked Illinois.

“Getting married?” Asked Janna.

“No, rather, dear, I’m finished with you. Goodbye.” And then she let go of the reins. The pale white dog stared at her, panting calmly.

Illinois straightened up, “Quite right! You were far too much of a hassle anyway! I thought it was worth it, all these years, but now I know! Now I understand!”

He glanced at Janna’s soaked form, her white shirt semi-transparent. Janna stared back at him. She winked, smiling deviously, falsely shivering a little in her semi-transparent top.

“They say you people are mad, the Solune Royalty! I heard,” He hissed, “That one of you actually attacked the police in the city! And I mean the entire police corps! Started a riot, set the place into shambles!”

“I hope that’s true,” Janna’s mouth opened, adding teeth to her smile.

“You! You… you are despicable! Your insane kinsman, Crystal here!” He shot a finger at Jealousy, “And now you, so shameless! The Rhye family name is not worth the effort I’ve put into trying to acquiring it!”

“Sooth sooth! And yet,” Jealousy said softly, laughing, “You have been deemed unworthy by those you despise so suddenly! Oh my! May HaShem forgive thee!”

“Yeah man, piss off, right?” Janna took her undershirt off and whipped it at him.

The cold, wet tanktop slapped Illinois in the neck, and then Crystal muttered something to the dog. The giant creature barked, alerting all manner of chaos in the woods around them, and lumbered back down the path, carrying the man off with it.

“Shame,” Janna said, “He seemed like a great target. The kind of guy that gets offended at everything? Would have loved to tease him a bit.”

“Well, no real loss. He took care of me when I had that illness. Did I tell you about that?” Jealousy spoke, and then blinked harder than was necessary.

“You thing the beasts of the forest will eat him?” Mumbled the tall man.

“I hope so. Is he gone yet?” Crystal said, suddenly angry.

“What? Yeah.” Janna said. “And, I think he’ll be fine. That mount of his was far larger than anything that lives in this shallow a wood.”

Janna was not confused by the sudden change in her sister’s countenance, but the man was.

“Right. What was I saying?” Crystal snapped.

“Illness?”

“Right!” She caught herself. She had been doing something far more relaxing eslewhere just moments ago, and she was troubled to continue a line of conversation she would not start for some time. “He was a bit of a help, truly. Perhaps he saved my life, so patient of a man, thought I doubt it. But slowly we realized that we were not a good long-term match. The fool kept me around because of my blood. That is how the Lussa aristocracy are you know. Much different than the Solune back home.”

She rubbed her eyes again.

“Ah, did I explain about the illness just then?” Jealousy asked.

“Yeah.” Janna nodded.

Jealously promptly vomited to her right. “Okay good.” She coughed.

They set up a camp at the crossroads. It seemed that Janna liked to carry a dry board in her rucksack for times like this, so starting a fire was easy.

“Remind me to get another one, eh Drake?”

The tall man shrugged.

They sat around the flames. The light made Jealousy’s sickly features more apparent.

“It’s not good for me to switch twice in one day. I should be okay with a little rest.”

The flames started to burn Janna’s bare skin. She pull her jumpsuit’s top half over her torso and zipped it closed.

“Yeah, I know. You said you were going to help us?” Janna asked.

“Of course. You will find my abilities very helpful, I’m sure.”

Drake finally asked, “What was all that? Issues? Janna always said you were a little odd.”

Janna gave him an unfriendly look.

“A little odd? Only that? She did not tell you the nature of my problems?” Drake shook his head and she frowned in response. “Oh my.”

However, Crystal Jealousy “Keturah” Rhye sang her next words with uncanny joy. “Allow me to explain!”

Image result for halford crucibleI don’t write much about Crystal, although I have a story swimming about in my head for her. Truly, her narratives seem to prefer to be open-ended and chaotic and wet. She brings water and misery wherever she goes, and archetype of the chaotic feminine in some sense. Hope to see her again some time.

Daniel Triumph.

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P.S. Check out Crystal by Halford, which of course was the inspiration for Crystal Jealousy Rhye.

P.P.S. Anyone interested in knowing more about the timeline, read on. This story takes place in the time after The Solune Prince but before The Epic of Däwngale. Janna is still searching for Venus and Zealott, and Crystal Jealousy intends to use her “abilities” to aid the hunt.

Not sure how it works out. Follow me and perhaps we can figure it out together in a few years.

 

Song of Leah

Song of Leah

Written by Jesus or Moses or something.
Edited and Arranged by Daniel T.
9.14.2018

And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be? And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was LEAH, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
And LEAH’S eyes were weak; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.
And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than LEAH. And HaShem saw that LEAH was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren And LEAH conceived, and bare a son.
“Because HaShem hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
“Because HaShem hath heard I was hated, He hath therefore given me this son also.
Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons.
And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, “Now will I praise the LORD:” therefore she called his name Judah; and left off bearing.

And Rachel said: “G-d hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son.”
And Rachel said: “With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed.”
When LEAH saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.
“Fortune is come!”
“Happy am I! for the daughters will call me happy.” And she called his name Asher.

And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother LEAH. Then Rachel said to LEAH, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.
And LEAH said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes.
And Jacob came from the field in the evening, and LEAH went out to meet him, and said: and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
And G-d hearkened unto LEAH, and she conceived, and bare Jacob a fifth son.
G-d hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband
And LEAH conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.
G-d hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons.
And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.

And G-d remembered Rachel, and G-d hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, G-d hath taken away my reproach: And she called his name Joseph; and said, HaShem shall add to me another son.

Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.
Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.

And Dinah the daughter of LEAH, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.
And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.
And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.
And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.
And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out.
The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.

And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto LEAH, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids.
And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.

And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot? And G-d said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Beth-el, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto G-d, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.
And Jacob called the name of the place where G-d spake with him, Beth-el.

And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: The sons of LEAH; Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: And the sons of Zilpah, LEAH’s handmaid: Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.
And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.
And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
And Er, Judah’s first-born, was wicked in the sight of the HaShem; and HaShem slew him.
And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
And the thing which he did displeased the HaShem: wherefore he slew him also.
Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.
And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
And she put her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.
When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.
And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.
And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.
And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not.
Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place.
And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place.
And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.
And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.
And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.

And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food.
And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.
thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food
Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones.
I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.
And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph’s house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.
Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh.
My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother?
And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him.
And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.

And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul.
These be the sons of LEAH, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.
These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to LEAH his daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls.

Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The HaShem make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like LEAH, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem.

All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.
And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,  In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.

There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Le’ah.

Earlier version, “Story of Leah.”

Kemia

Kemia (full version) is the third draft of Decay. This will likely be the final one.

“I found this behind the bar.” Setzer handed Natasha a thumb-sized glass vial. It was empty, but lined with a distinct maroon residue. “They must have been poisoned.”

“Yes,” said Jade, “There was something wrong with the taste.”

For the first time since the inn had been built, there was more than one person in its attic. Three of the seven within were dead.

Setzer didn’t like the involvement of Jade Sing. He had a long list of reasons for why he disliked her. The first reason was that Jade was a foreigner, but the worst, somewhere near the bottom, was that she was a cannibal. Natasha had never seemed to be too interested in arresting Jade, despite Setzer’s suspicions. Every time he’d investigated one of Jade’s catches, she had come away innocent. Did she eat people? Yes. But did she kill them? Not according to evidence. Cannibalism isn’t technically illegal, and it seemed that Jade was either a master frameup artist, or she simply took advantage of murders and reaped the spoils. One thing Setzer was sure of: Jade was a sly opportunist. That was also on his list.

jade__north_metch____slacker_by_tehufn-d8vnl9c-e1536336188391.jpg
Jade Sing (05.25.2015)

Jade had broken into the inn attracted by the scent, she had claimed. She had found the bodies and sampled them, and then she had alerted the nearest guard, Sergeant Alice; a small, jumpy woman built like a brick house. Alice then told her Captain, and they had both arrived along with Constable Setzer; the short, often cross young man with long black hair, pale skin, and dark eyes.

To Setzer’s chagrin, it seemed he was again going to prove Jade’s innocence. He surveyed the corpses. Each was missing part of its calf, and one’s face was so bludgeoned that it was unrecognisable.

“Easy to draw a conclusion based on this,” he said. “First, based on the vial and the… taste, we can assume that these people were poisoned. Second, Dhesmond Machina owns and runs this inn. He could easily spike his alcohol and claim that the victim passed out. Finally, the inn didn’t open today, and,” he handed Natasha a hand-copied document, “yesterday’s travel ledger shows that Dhesmond skipped town this morning and hasn’t returned!”

“Wonderful!” Alice clapped.

 

“So, Natasha, are we going to search Hannibal or Baracus? He probably escaped to one of those cities.”

Natasha Glass Rhye studied the list and felt her neck tighten.

“Neither. This is not enough.”

“Umm, okay but…” Setzer said, “what else do we need?”

She looked at him calmly, “Who are these people? Where did the poison come from?”

Setzer wasn’t happy, but orders were orders. “Fine, we’ll identify the bodies first.”

alice__resident_plainkind_by_danieltriumph-db9ajer
Alice May Däwngale. casual dress. (Concept. Not final.) (05.12.2017)

“Good.” Natasha’s face was stern, “After you two are finished, meet me at the Ph.Kem. lab. Alice, I would like you to visit the undertaker for this area and get them to identify the body, whether you yourself can identify them or not. If the district mortician can get us faces quickly, bring us a note, otherwise, come without it.”

“Sure,” Alice nodded.

Setzer sighed. “Alice, do you know who usually comes here? To the bar?”

She took a deep breath, and presented Setzer a word salad. “I know almost just about all the people from around here.” Alice’s grasp of syntax faltered when she was excited. Setzer always assumed it was due to her being a foreigner, a Plainkind for the west.

Natasha left them to parse out the identities as well as Alice’s speech, and exited the building, studying the ledger. She watched the cobbled streets as she went, and headed northwest to speak to one of the city’s construction foreman.

 

Setzer and Alice sat at a table in the bar and drew up a list of all the patrons. Alice identified the two who were dead, and they were crossed off. Setzer went out into the city and sought out the rest of the people list.

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Setzer (Concept. Not final.) (06.22.2016)

Jade was told to stay behind, tasked with keeping people out of the bar. After much frustration, Setzer managed to bargain her into promising that she would “try not to eat anything,” and “definitely not touch the mysterious body.” He hoped he wouldn’t have to answer to families again, but he could never be sure with Jade.

It took until noon to find everyone. Most of them had no idea that anything was wrong, they simply wondered why the bar was closed. One person mentioned that Dhesmond had become too touchy as of late “He damn pussified litl’ bitch nao. Gon haffin’ a new bar.” Setzer assumed that this loss would be considered good news to any innkeeper. Most of the other patrons agreed that, in the past month or so, he had seemed more stressed than usual. Setzer and Alice thanked each person for their time, and soon the list was empty, except for one name.

 

Alice looked, and shook her head, “Reighleigh Straker. We only checked his house, remember? He’s maybe at work.”

It dawned on Setzer why the Captain wanted them to meet her at the lab. “Does he work at the Ph.Kem. lab?”

“Yep.”

“You know, I think the good Captain is a few steps ahead of us.” Setzer shook his head.

“What?”

Alice smiled. It seemed that was what she did when she was confused. Or happy. Or angry. Setzer had come to accept that nearly all emotions led Alice to smile, but he had yet to tell the smiles them apart.

“Natasha must have known all along… Now we just have to confirm that he isn’t there, at the lab, and our bases will be covered.” Setzer nodded to himself.

Alice just shrugged, “We’ll meet there after I go to the cemetery.”

“I doubt we’ll need it, but orders are orders, I guess.”

 

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City Guard Captain Natasha Glass Rhye (08.17.2017)

To his surprise, Setzer arrived that the Philosophy of Kemia lab first and had to wait a few minutes. Natasha arrived late, with the slight sheen of a person who just walked halfway across a city and back.

 

“Where did you go?” asked Setzer.

“I went to where they are extending the wall.”

“Oh.”

“Did you find the identity of the third body?”

“We deduced that it was Reighleigh Straker. Not sure why Dhesmond would beat him up like that though.”

The Captain shook her head.

“You will see when we go inside the Philosophy of Kemia Laboratory,” She returned the vial he’d found at the inn. “Search his desk when we get inside.”

 

Natasha knocked on the door. It was answered by a woman who looked like her, except she was younger, smaller, wore a white coat, and had more hair.

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Chloe Rhye, Fifth Prince of the Solune (07.12.2018)

“Natasha?” She asked.

 

“Chloe,” she nodded. “We are here as part of an investigation.”

“Ah, sure. I’ll get someone who actually works here.” She turned and called, “Straker?”

Setzer glanced at Natasha. If Reighleigh was here, alive, then his investigation was worthless. A moment passed, and she called out again, but for someone else.

“Finch? Yes, ah, the guard is here.”

Chloe let them into the lab. It was brightly lit, with large wooden desks. Some were capped with thick layers of metal, but all of them were covered with metal and glass instruments, and lined with drawers. In the far corner was a small room sealed with a heavy door.

A lab student approached them. His lanyard read “Finch Däwngale Zeth.” He was a short man with pale skin, dark hair, and dark eyes. He wore a white lab coat and held a mess of papers.

“Oh, Captain Rhye,” he looked from Natasha to Chloe, “Here to talk to your sister…umm, to talk to Chloe?”

“No. We speak enough when we are not working.”

Setzer said, “Is Reighleigh here? I need to—” see if he’s alive, is what he thought. “I need to search his desk.”

“He’s in the supply locker, right there.” Finch pointed, “It’s heavily barred to prevent theft. Some of that stuff is dangerous, you know?”

There was a loud metallic creak and Setzer’s stomach churned. According to his logic, the man who stood before them was dead, his body stashed in Dhesmond’s inn. The Constable took a deep breath. He hadn’t earned his rank by faltering. Lost, he defaulted to his orders.

“We are here to search your desk.”

Reighleigh gave him a deep frown.

After a pause, Finch helpfully pointed to one of the counters, “It’s that one.”

Setzer strode to it and began opening drawers until he found one filled with thumb-sized test tubes, and a labelled jar of distinct red liquid. He took the vial found at the inn out of his pocket. The size and shape matched, and the colour was almost the same (the inn’s vial having dried).

Natasha looked sidelong at the doctor. He seemed to be stifling his nerves. Her eyes moved down to his hands and she saw that his knuckles were blue.

In his head, Setzer read the label on the jar; Hyperthermic Coronary Accelerator. Then he looked up and nodded to Natasha. She nodded back. They’d found the poison’s supplier. Reighleigh moved slightly. Natasha knew those movements; the flight response. He would go either for the window or the door. Natasha’s eyes moved fast, her mind faster.

Then Alice flung the front door open, and jumped inside, shaking the floor as she landed.

“I got it!—Oh, hi dear; I mean Finch,—anyway, I got it!” She waved the mortician’s note in front of her cheery face, “The last dead person is not Reigh even for sure now, it’s Dhesmond Machina!”

Reighleigh froze. His face hardened, and then he steeled himself and sprinted for the door. Alice smiled and repositioned slightly as Reighleigh leaped forward and tried to tackle her. Unfortunately for him, Sergeant Alice was nearly twice his weight in muscle; a capable guard in the occupational sense well as the literal one; guarding the portal. She restrained him with ease.

“You’re under detainment for killing three people using poison!” Setzer ran to the man and seized his hands. he began winding a cord around Reighleigh’s wrists.

The man retorted, “How could I have murdered someone who isn’t even in town!”

“You—” Setzer had no idea.

Natasha finally spoke, her mind finished with all thought, “You followed him, but not through the gate. You went through the part of the wall that is currently under construction.”

Setzer and Alice looked at each other across the man who stood between them. Reighleigh remained silent.

Finch was unsure what to think. He looked between Natahsa and his wife nervously.

Chloe called to her sister, “go on!” She loved to see anyone competent at work. It was, in her mind, an art.

Natasha strode to the nearest desk and sat down on it.

She faced Reighliegh,

“Jade confirmed for us that all three victims were poisoned.
Setzer confirmed that the liquid and vial found at the inn match with the poison and containers found here. Likely they were killed under your instruction, using your chemical.
Alice confirmed that the body was Dhesmond’s.
Finally, I confirmed that Dhesmond exited town, but supposedly never returned. We have the ledger.”

Setzer had finished his knot, so he presented the items as Natasha mentioned them.

“Shortly before I came here, I spoke to the foreman of the wall project and confirmed that on the same day that Dhesmond left, the she saw him return through her construction site, along with someone else; you. I assume you exited before the workday started and managed to convince the poor man back into town so you could snuff him. Then you poisoned him like you did everyone else; except he would have known his fate when you handed it to him.”

“How haunting!” Chloe blurtend.

Natasha frowned at her sister and continued. “You threw Dhesmond’s body with the rest. But,” shepointed to his bruised hands, “you beat the recognition off his face first.”

She took the ledger from Setzer, and dropped it beside her. “You left Dhesmond’s closet full of skeletons, with his name on a document proving that he tried to evade the law. You framed a dead man. It would have been the perfect crime—if there was no one who could identify a dead body. But what is the job of a coroner if not identification?”

Natasha stood, towering over everyone in the room by at least a head. She said, “Dead men do not sneak into cities or poison and brutalize themselves. You will face judgement in the court. We will bury the dead with love and respect. We will bury you, when you are done rotting to death, with apathy and forgiveness.”

A quiet came over the room. Natasha bodily lifted the criminal over her shoulder, and the guard filed out.

Daniel Triumph.

Word Count: 2125.
This is the second draft of Kemia. Polished and added illustrations… does this count as an illuminated version?

This is the third draft of “Decay.” There are a lot of differences, to the point where I can comfortably call them different stories, so feel free to check it out.

This is the second draft of a story written as an exam for my Detective Fiction course, 01-26-202-01. I got a decent mark in the end, I think, so perhaps that’s indicative of the quality of this piece.

P.S.:

 

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Natasha Glass Rhye, before becoming captain (Early design.) Left to right: Saan of Village #4, Natasha Glass Rhye, Second Prince of the Solune, Setzer [last name unknown], Nashir [deserter] (June 2014)
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Recent Alice concept. Still not final. (08.13.2018)
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Natasha (full) (08.17.2017)
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Alice, Plainclothes (Sketch). Finally a decent drawing of Alice. (08.31.2018)

Story of Leah

Book 1

Leah had weak eyes; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah. And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren And Leah conceived, and bare a son.
“Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.”
“Because the HaShem hath heard I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also”
“Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons”
“Now will I praise the LORD:” therefore she called his name Judah; and left off bearing.
And Rachel said: “G-d hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son.”
And Rachel said: “With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed.”
When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.
“Fortune is come!”
“Happy am I! for the daughters will call me happy.”
And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah: “Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.”
And Leah said unto her: “Is it a small matter that thou hast taken away my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also?” And Rachel said: “Therefore he shall lie with thee to-night for thy son’s mandrakes.”
And Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said: “Thou must come in unto me; for I have surely hired thee with my son’s mandrakes.” And he lay with her that night.
And G-d hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bore Jacob a fifth son.
“G-d hath given me my hire, because I gave my handmaid to my husband.”
And Leah conceived again, and bore a sixth son to Jacob.
“G-d hath endowed me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons.”
And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:
Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.
Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.
And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.
And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.
And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.
And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.
And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out.
The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.
And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids.
And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot? 35:1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.
And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.
And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: 35:23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: And the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid: Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.
And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.
And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.
And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.
And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law, Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.
And in process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
And she put her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given unto him to wife.
When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.
And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.
And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood.
And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not.
Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place.
And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place.
And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.
And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.
And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.
their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food.
And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.
If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food
Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones.
I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.
And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph’s house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.
Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh.
My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother? And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him.
And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.
And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul.
These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.
These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls.
Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.
And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.
There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.
So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

Book 2

Ruth 4:11 And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: 4:12 And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.

Book 3

Ruth 1:1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
4:13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.

Joshua 6:27 So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.
7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.
Judges 1:2 And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.
20:18 And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up first.
1 Samuel 11:8 And when he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand.
2 Samuel 1:18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)
24:9 and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
Esther 2:6 Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.

יז ועיני לאה רכות

Edited, but not written, by,

Daniel Triumph.