Coming Out In Cloverleaf

This is a few days late, sorry!  But it came to my mind on National Coming Out Day

Nathen (and his headmates) are the protagonists of Afterward(s), the… ahem… novels?… I’m working on.  He’s also visible in “Dictator, Dic-TAH-tor…” and “Lightning in Autumn” (which started the whole thing), as well as “Bi Kisses” and possibly my favorite little microfic here.

This is set in approximately the 2060’s, in Cloverleaf.


The calendar was a surprise.  Nathen just wasn’t all that used to them anymore; a lot of places had lost touch with the exact days and weeks for a while, and those that hadn’t had definitely lost touch with things like printed calendars.

But this one, hung behind the bar and claiming to be the most gorgeous people in all of Cloverleaf, was there (Mr. October was indeed gorgeous, but he couldn’t hold a candle to Leo), and the days were neatly X’d off.

It was a Friday – he’d already known that; they were working, after all.  And it was apparently October 11th.

How did I never notice that before?

Because it’s usually behind the rum and the vodka.  Means we need to restock.

They did that, pulling the big glass bottles out – rum, proper rum. Or possibly improper rum, probably improper rum, all things considered. But still rum. Vodka, which of course could be distilled in formerly-Montana if it could be distilled in probably-still-Russia.

It was only when they were making sure that the glasses were stocked that the date hit Nathen.

“Oh.”  He blinked.  “It’s Coming Out Day.”  How long since he’d thought of that?  How long since Pride Parades?  How long since that one sweet co-worker who had shyly suggested to him that, since it was National Coming Out Day, maybe he had something to say?

“It’s what?”  Xia, who owned the bar was not young, per se, but she definitely was younger than Nathen.  Younger than the end of the world.

“Old holiday. Ancient holiday,” he corrected. “Back when being gay was, uh. When it wasn’t quite so accepted. Well.” He cleared his throat. “Back in America, when it wasn’t still as accepted.” There were still places here and there on the continent when just about anything wasn’t accepted. He wasn’t sure that would ever change. But here, here in Cloverleaf, things were a lot… well, easier.

“Oh.”   Xia smirked at him.  “So you’re saying ‘back in the bad old days.'”

Nathen chuckled.  “Yeah.  Yeah, I suppose I am.”

The world was doing fine, he supposed, if less than a century later, they could call the days before the apocalypse the bad old days..

Dictator, Dic-TAH-tor…

After I wrote Council Meetings, I wasn’t 100% satisfied that I’d fulfilled the brief, err, written well to the prompt. 

So I wrote this.  This is Fae Apoc, Cloverleaf; the viewpoint character is Nathen, the star of Lightning in Autumn and the novel I am writing based around that story. The era is after that novel wraps up, a little bit into Cloverleaf’s time. 

Written to Eseme’s prompt to my Third Rail Prompt Call


Nathen had eaten more scones and muffins in the last 4 weeks then he thought he had in the 40 years previous, possibly excluding that one year where he was dating a baker. That have been a good year.

“I’m telling you, she might call herself a ‘Mayor ‘ but she’s a dictator!”

“There’s a Council…. Some of them are elected…”

What he was finding was that sitting in a cafe, possibly this specific cafe, was a bunch better education on Cloverleaf then the tours he’d been given. Not that the tours had been disingenuous or flat-out lies, it was just that they only told him about the bones of the city, and Nathen had always felt that learning about its heart and blood were more important.

Don’t give me that. I’ve watched her — watched her, she’s not even ashamed of it — overturn the council’s decisions on a whim!”

“…on a whim? Are you sure?” Continue reading

Council Meetings

This is a ficlet of Cloverleaf, written to Eseme’s prompt to my current “third rail” prompt call. 


Sometimes, Cya seriously regretted having made Cloverleaf a semi-representative government.

Generally, those were council days, when she was sitting at a table with the chosen and voted-in representatives of all three circles.

Being a dictatorship would be so much easier.

She listened carefully to everyone’s arguments.  She asked the question she made sure to ask every time:

“Do we need a law for this, or is it a matter of personal choice?” Continue reading

Sapper – a story adjacent to Cloverleaf

“Are you there yet?”

The only things George was currently happy about could be listed on two clawed fingers: he was underground, and when he was not digging, he was getting tolerable and semi-regular meals.

“You started me five miles away.  No, I’m not there yet. It’s only been three days and I’m not a miracle worker.”

He would have been politer – he HAD been politer the first sixteen times – but every time he had to answer, he had to stop digging.

“You’re an earth-Worker, though.  A mole. Shouldn’t this go fast for you?” Continue reading

Safety Lesson – a story for Patreon

Originally posted on Patreon in August 2018 and part of the Great Patreon Crossposting to WordPress.

It wouldn’t be a “Thunderstorms” month without a story about Leofric Lightning-Blade, my absolutely most favorite god (sometimes) of lightning.This is set in the Cloverleaf Era – i.e., more than 50 years after the 2011 apocalypse. 

Azule watched from the shelter of a nearby tree, although that was less and less seeming like shelter and more like lightning rod.

The man she had been sent to scout was doing her a favor, although she was certain that he didn’t know it.  He was standing in a ragged circle of children and a few adults, all of them watching in rapt attention as he explained to them what lightning could do if you weren’t careful.

No, not lightning.  He was showing them electricity.

“Like this.”  He murmured a Working and turned towards the forest.  For a moment, Azule thought she’d been found.  But he headed off at an angle from her, all of the children following.  “Give me some distance,” he warned them.  “This might get messy.”

A few moments later, as Azule shifted from tree branch to tree branch, the little group came upon a very, very large boar.  The thing was rooting up trees that were taller than the ones Azule was sitting in, and from the looks of things, it had been doing similar damage for a while.

“Not the sort of thing you want around?” The man seemed to be asking the children, but Azule could see several of the adults nodding their agreement. “All right, kids.  Now, the thing to remember is that these creatures, they are a lot bigger than you.  And they’re going to be able to take a lot more damage than you can.  Like-”  He moved out of the way of the children as the boar noticed him.  Azule could barely catch the Working he did that made the bystanders invisible to the boar, but the creature charged straight at him, ignoring the humans.

“This!”  In a move that was far showier than it needed to be, he sent lightning down into the creature, electrocuting it – and yet it still stumbled to its feet again.

“Now, it’s the size of all of you put together.  So maybe one bolt won’t do it.  But when -”  he zapped the creature with a much smaller-looking bolt  and took a step back, like a docent leading a tour.  “-you touch a wire, your muscles lock up, and all of that lightning is going to hit you all at once.  Got it?  And since none of you are nearly as tough as this boar…”

He finished off the boar with a last zzzap of lightning and a grin.  Azule took the moment to slip away.  She had the information she needed.


Want more?

(Not) Getting Old

Inspired by Life Extension, by Isaac Arthur. 

…People will obviously still leave jobs, but they’re no longer retiring.
You are not going to get the management slot when Sally retires in two years, you are not inheriting Dad’s business, at least not for several centuries.
You’re not inheriting his house either.
When he does die odds are good he will have several thousand descendants kicking around.
You also now have a de facto gerontocracy….

His sci-fi videos are chewy but really interesting. 

A story of Cya Red Doomsday, who does not get old, and one of her descendants, who hasn’t had time to grow up yet.  Continue reading

I was lightning before the thunder

Okay, I guess you shouldn’t let me listen to Imagine Dragons’ Thunder anymore. 

This is 100% self-indulgent and I have no idea what timeline it fits in, or anything but that it’s well after the founding of Cloverleaf but before Cya decides it’s time for a new project. 


There was a god at the gates of Cloverleaf — floating a little above the gates, to be accurate  — and he was declaiming in a loud and booming voice that he was the god of thunder.

The Guard force did not laugh at him, mostly because they had been trained to be polite to visitors, but when the mayor of Cloverleaf arrived, she had no such training and no such manners.

She looked the would-be God up and down  — somehow managing, although he was hovering above her position on the wall, to make it look like she was looking down on him.  “Boy, you want to be a god of thunder? You have no idea what you’re dealing with.”

She smiled.  She had already put a lock on his powers while she walked up here, and she found it was fun to be able to posture a bit.

“Here in Cloverleaf,” she informed the would-be god, “we have the Lightning.”

It needed a proper power chord intro, because she was rock and roll and not anime.  One of the far guards indulged her.

Guitar music screamed from nowhere.  Someone handled the percussion.

And, as if on cue, Leo arrived.


The First 1/3 of April on Patreon

This month’s theme is

Libraries and Librarians

Things marked with a * are free for everyone to read. 

The Expectant Wood: Chapter 21: Worlds of Differences
Portal Bound – a beginning

A Last Conlang Word going in to April *
Cloverleaf’s Library  *

Reminds me of… Dragons Next Door  *
The Weather, it is a-changin’ *

Cloverleaf’s Library (written for Patreon)

This is a description I wrote up for the Cloverleaf MUX Cal & I are working on, although it’s, uh, a little long and doesn’t even get you very far into the library.  But here it is!

Hummingbird and Roosevelt (the intersection of its address)

Sitting just off of Main street in Tinco Circle, the library is a monument to Greek Revival architecture.

The stairs go up an entire story, and are flanked on either side by leisurely, carefully designed ramps that take their time getting to the top.

Once there, large pillars make the building look even bigger and taller, stomping across an open front area where six-foot tall versions of a few books – Sherlock Holmes tales, Oh The Places You’ll Go, (something else) stand ready to be read one inch-thick page at a time.

To the left side, down a much more sedate little walkway, complete with yellow bricks and poppy flowers to either side, leads through a emerald gate (but not a real green dress that’s cruel… wait.

(but not real emeralds that’d be dumb)

to a bright green door.  Inside there is the children’s library. Continue reading

Patreon Posts!

Originally posted  March 9th, 2011.


They were building it anew.

There hadn’t been much left after the devastation, and the city they’d lived in had been a stinking, rotten, fetid ruin. Better to leave it to the dead and dying, better to leave the diseases to work their course. Those of them who could walk, who could carry a pack, who wanted to live, had banded together and headed for the hills.

Read On

Nobody in the Fae Apoc really knows what’s going on, do they…?


The Grigori would not listen to her.

Natela was not particularly surprised.  For one, the Grigori rarely listened to anyone who was not Grigori, and although she had their blood, she was not of them, but by their standards.

Open to all Patrons!

This story takes place 50 years past the original story, nearly 40 years after the apocalypse, after the Retirement stories.


Kailani and Rozen were being followed.

Not exactly followed — more like followed-in-front-of — and not by a person or people.  Rozen would have been able to deal with people.

Open to All Patrons!