Archive | September 4, 2015

In Which Reynard Goes Back To School


The hallway was a strange off-green that looked naggingly familiar to Reynard. When they passed the second display case, this one showing off a variety of long-dead cell phones, he began to understand where they were. When they passed a fire door, both doors wedged open with pieces of wood, he was certain.

“You took over an elementary school?” That explained the chalkboard…

“Actually, we buried it. It had survived the collapse almost entirely intact.”

“Buried?” Reynard looked around at the soft, indirect light that infused the place. “But the – the classroom we were in, there was a view.”

“It’s a really neat Working. One of my crew did it in a lot of the windows; it keeps it from feeling tight and claustrophobic down here.”

“You buried an entire school. And then you put in windows.” Reynard shook his head – carefully, because he could still feel the prick of hawthorn, even with all the vines gone. “And you went to school the same time I did?”

“We’re overachievers,” she answered lightly. “Burying the school was the easy part. Doing it so groundwater didn’t seep in everywhere was the hard part. We’re almost there, by the way.”

“Principal’s office? I know I’ve been a bad boy…”

“That’s tomorrow.” She smirked at him, the first playful expression he had seen on her face. It made her look far less severe; he found he liked it.

Of course, he reminded himself, she Owns you. Probably. She’s going to look attractive no matter what she does.

He cleared his throat. He had not been this far off his game in – in ever. “Tomorrow, Mistress?”

She chuckled at him, the laughter after the smirk sounding almost joyful. “Didn’t I say to call me Elle?”

Reynard nearly stumbled. “Shit. Shit, I’m sorry…” He considered dropping to his knees, but he wasn’t sure he’d be able to get back up. “I – I forgot.”

She tapped his nose lightly. “You’ll have to work on that. Tonight – tonight, let’s just get you cleaned up and into a bed before you fall over, all right?”

“All right. Okay.” He swallowed. His head was spinning. “That, uh, that sounds like a really good idea.”

“Right through here.” She took his arm, holding him up as much as guiding him, and steered Reynard into one of the classrooms.

Which had, he noticed quickly, been transformed. A giant bed, four-poster, covered in quilts, dominated the room. An old, chipped dresser was flanked by mismatched chairs.

One bed. Reynard wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or worried. He’d gone to Addergoole, where everyone assumed you slept with your Kept. After all, that was more than half of what Kept were for. But he’d also been out in the world, where some people had some funny ideas about Kept…

…or about slaves.

“Running water was easy.” Elle continued to move Reynard, so he continued to stumble forward. “Getting the water heater to work properly was a little harder. But hey, some of us just cheat.”

The bathroom was as much a mismatch as her bedroom. It had clearly been part of the school’s lavatory before. Now, a claw-foot tub sat between two old toilet partitions.

“Hot… hot water?” He wasn’t sure he dared dream. “I haven’t had a proper hot bath in…”

She let go of his arm. Slowly, Reynard sank to the floor. Idiotically, the words of the old pledge went through his head.

“I pledge allegiance… to the shower…. and to the mistress for which it stands…”


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Belowstairs, a beginning of a thing for Tír na Cali

This is Cali: there is slavery. This particular one has no dub/non con, no bondage, nothing hinkie at all.

What was I thinking? 😉

“And what exactly are you?

Thea looked at the man glaring up at her – up, because, like so many native Californians, he was painfully short – through wire-framed glasses. She cleared her throat. “I’m, ah, the new acquisition.” She tugged awkwardly on her collar.

“American, hunh?” He clucked angrily. “Well, we’ll have none of that escaping nonsense here. Try it once, and you’ll be flogged. Try it twice and you’ll wish you’d been flogged.”

Thea coughed. “Ah. I volunteered.”

“Well, then.” He shifted from foot to foot, still looking very displeased. “You’ll start mopping floors, same as anyone, and I’m sure you’ll soon learn that the glamorous life of a Californian slave is just as dirty and unpleasant as wherever you were…”

“She’ll start as chef.” Thea was uncertain if Gabrielle had stayed out of the butler’s sight on purpose, or if, being short and native Californian like the butler, the chatelaine had merely been hidden by Thea’s greater size. Now, however, she gently shoved Thea to one side. “She starts as chef, Bartholomew, because that is why the Lady bought her.”

“Nobody starts as–“

“Regardless, she is our new chef, and you can hardly argue that we need one, since the mess with the last one.”

“And then why did she buy an American, I ask you?”

“That is the Lady’s decision and not ours to question,” Gabrielle answered firmly, just as if she had not asked the Lady the same thing in Thea’s hearing, not an hour before. “I’m giving her Anthy. It’s high time the child had a proper position with a chance for improvement, and she’ll be a good translator for Thea. She can teach her how to be a slave–“

Thea smiled. She knew a cue when she heard one. “–and I can teach her how to be a chef. Sounds lovely. Where do I start?”

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September Theme is Chosen! Me-ow!

Oh, no, not the briar patch…

The poll has spoken, and the theme for September will be CATS!

Big cats, little cats, cat-people, cat-shaped aliens, cat myths, the fog, on little cat feet….


Me-ow, me-ow

I will write the following stories for Patreon:

1 free-for-everyone flash fiction, 1 Patreon-only flash fiction, and one Patreon-only short story.

Others may be written as it pleases me.

Check out my Patreon here –

Just $1/month pledge will let you read all Patreon-only posts!

And if you want to prompt, $5/month will not only let you prompt in the prompt call (I will absolutely write to one of your prompts your first month!), it will bring the Patreon to the next milestone…


New Serial!!

Check it out!

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The Pipes

“Colburn! New Girl! The pipes on floor Seven-A-iii are clogged again!”

It was Georgia’s first day on the job, but she wasn’t going to let that stop her. “It’s Georgia, ma’am, Georgia Fredrickson.”

“I don’t care if it’s Queen Anne III, the pipes in 7-A-iii are clogged and they need to be unclogged.”

Colburn, Sandra of the first name, grabbed Georgia’s arm. “We’ve got it, Madam Tomlinson, ma’am. Sorry about New Girl.”

“She’s new. She’ll learn or drown. Take her down to the dungeon, then, and shake Manster’s cage. Tell him he’s got to get the clog out, or the priest’s start screaming, and you know what that does to the sisters-and-brothers.”

Dungeon. Cage. Priests. The Facility had a language all of its own. Georgia could only let the water carry her along and hope that she could stay afloat.

“Come on, new girl.” Colburn grabbed Georgia’s arm. “I get to show you the dungeon, lucky me. Which means I get to show you the slide.”

“…Slide?” Keep afloat. Just keep afloat. The Facility paid better than anyone else in all of Compton. They also had this way of… leveraging people who didn’t work for them. Carrot, stick, all Georgia had to do was keep floating along until she knew what was going on. “Colburn, what are the pipes?”

“Heating, cooling. Cooking. They carry steam and… other things… all through the Facility. But, uh, the other things. They clog sometimes. And then they have to send the weasels in. It’s complicated.”

“…Weasels. Sandra, tell me honestly.” Georgia was a hand taller than Colburn and she was having trouble keeping up. “How long does it take for this place to make sense?”

“Oh, not long.” Colburn pulled open a sliding door hidden in the metal-paneled walls. “You just have to get your brain around the fact that everything is different here than is it in Compton.” Inside the wall compartment, a slick-looking ramp led downwards into the dark. “Hold on here and here, then let go all at once. Like this.” Colburn stepped onto the ramp, sat down, and let go. Immediately, she was transported downwards. The sounds of whooping trailed upwards.

Feeling as if the water was closing over her, Georgia followed suit. The ride downwards was smooth, terrifying, and rather short. She had, she realized, no idea how far she’d come.

Colburn was alreading bouncing in place as Georgia found her feet at the bottom. “Come on, the dungeon’s right over here.”

Georgia had been expecting a basement office, a dark place, perhaps, or a gloomy place. What she had not been expecting was the guard, with a pike, no less, the barred doors, the cage hanging in the middle of a mess of pipes. Weasels swarmed in and out of the cage and climbed up the outside of pipes, sometimes seeming to vanish.

And in the middle of all that, a small man with a very large beard was working on a pipe, his wrench nearly as big as he was.

“That,” Colburn explained unnecessarily, “is Manster. And his cage.”

Keep floating? The water was most definitely over Georgia’s head.

This is written to yesterday’s Thimbleful Thursday prompt

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