ATMN-1985, a Stranded story for Patreon

Okay, I guess the theme is really talking to me this month. 

Here’s another bonus, spurred on but not really related to a line from a Popular Mechanics article I read last night: (paraphrase) “AI is going to make the Industrial Revolution look small.”


Autumn knew better than to grab the strands of the world too much around HAllowe’en.

Everything was thinner at that time, more responsive, more willing to bend and twist and open.

But the Strand looked so tempting.  It was this line of connection, this connection that went — nowhere?  It trailed off into a space in mid-air, looking as if it turned into wires at the end.

So she followed it, drawing the look of the wires on to her arm in watercolor, little circuit-board designs that appeared to  her mind’s’ eye.

She stepped through a thin space in the air and found herself on a silvery road, the buildings rising up around her on left and right, stretching above her, making it a tunnel of mirrors and glass.

Oops.  She tied off a marker so she could find her way home and followed the wires of the Strand, trailing along through wires upon wires upon wires.

She turned a corner into another tunnel and found herself face to face with someone doing the same thing as she was.

Someone?  Not quite.  But not quite something, either, a metallic-and-plastic figure wearing a knit hat of red-orange-and-green and a swirling dress that matched.

The Strand from Autumn went straight to this figure.  She stopped.  She stared.  The figure stopped and stared.

There were a few other people on the road — mostly human-seeming, some only humanoid-seeming.  From the corner of her eye, Autumn could see all of them connected by tenuous strands.

“You are—”  The figure frowned.  The expression was cartoony, plastic eyebrows moving and lips turning downward.

“You’re…”  Autumn shook her head and bowed.  “I’m Autumn Roundtree.”

“I am ATMN-1985.  I am called Autumn.”  The figure raised an eyebrow at AUtumn.   “You do not belong here.  Your only connection here is me.”

Autumn took a moment to study ATMN.  “You’re —”

She was connected all over the place, as much as Autumn was, back home, as much as her mother was.

“An autonomous Intelligence designed to understand connections between beings.”  The smile was broad and surprisingly genuine-seeming.  “Your counterpart.”


Autumn felt a tug on her, and ATMN made a noise of concern.

“Your connection is thinning.  You cannot stay, you need to go where you came from.  Or—”

“Or,” Autumn agrees solemnly.  “It was nice to meet you, ATMN.  Perhaps I will see you again.”

ATMN curtseyed.  “I would like that.  I would like this new connection to last.”

Autumn hurried back as her connection to her own world tugged and throbbed by turns.  She followed the thinning line back to where she’d started and pushed through the thin space in the world.  Her ears popped, her head rushed, and, for a moment, she lost consciousness.

She came to leaning against the old maple tree in her mother’s back yard, leaves crunching as they fell down upon her.

Nothing but a pack of cards,” she muttered.  She knew better than to reach for Strands around Hallowe’en.  It always left you with too many questions.

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Patreon Posts – Crossovers

This is a weird one.  Today’s Patreon Sum-up involves three stories I wrote, not to prompts, but because they appeared to me.  All crossovers of one sort or another. 


Okay, so I’m working on my outlines for Finish It nanowrimo coming up in, well, November.  And I got to the one for Facets of Dusk and I started thinking about – well, the doors they might open


“Get us someplace with medical care!” Simon shouted.

“Someplace with advanced technomagical medical care.”  Aerich’s aristocratic snarl sounded panicked.

“Someplace they’re not going to shoot at us.”  Cole’s voice was calm.  But Cole, who had Josie in his arms, also sounded serious.

Read On

I blame this on my current marathon re-read of the Sandman comics.  


On Halloween, 2011, when the walls between worlds were thinner than they had ever been, the woman called The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (because her Mentor had been fond of Robert Heinlein, in his day and in her day) left her kids with her sister, as per their arrangement, and slipped out between those world-barriers.

Read On!

Okay, I guess the theme is really talking to me this month. 

Here’s another bonus, spurred on but not really related to a line from a Popular Mechanics article I read last night: (paraphrase) “AI is going to make the Industrial Revolution look small.”


Autumn knew better than to grab the strands of the world too much around Hallowe’en.

Everything was thinner at that time, more responsive, more willing to bend and twist and open.

Read On!

Know When To Walk Away (Know When To Run)

Written to esemeprompt.  This comes after Tangles and Knots, Snarls and Combs


There were bits of Tattercoats everywhere.

Sometimes literally: pieces of his coat tended to come off in the strangest places, so that he was always sewing on new bits.  Sometimes figuratively: a book he’d left in her place or a letter he’d written, the smell of his particular musk in a blanket she’d put away.

Autumn did not know exactly what had happened.

She knew that Tattercoats had precipitously left Faire without a fare-thee-well or anything but the forwarding address of the itinerant courier network. She knew she was done with him, as if she’d woken up one morning and understood that pining was shredding her to pieces and she really needed to pick herself up and stop hurting so much.

The radio had played The Gambler and Autumn had nodded as if Kenny Rogers had been speaking right to her.  Know when to walk away.  Know when to run.

She burned his letters in the Moot Fire that they held every Thursday night to rid the air of “shit, drama, the modern, and the miserable.”  But she could still close her eyes and see that ridiculous smile. She could still reach over to the nightstand and see the little jewelry box he’d sent her for Christmas.

She sold the ring to a pawn shop and gave the money to a hunger campaign.  She dropped the skirt and the corset he’d given her in the Salvo box.  Maybe in a Faire town, someone would find a use for them.   The other gifts went to used book sales, sometimes the Salvo or Goodwill, a church rummage sale.

That left the things that belonged to him. A carved figure he’d bought from a vendor.  Three DVDs he’d brought over to watch and then left in her van.  A book on figure drawing that she was pretty sure he’d stolen. A vest of his.  His underwear.  A long green ribbon she was pretty sure was a token from another lover.

She burned the underwear, to a great deal of groaning, moaning, and laughing, using the longest tongs she could find.

The rest she wrapped up.


Three layers of shrinkwrap and then two layers of duct tape.

For every two items, then in a box.  Duct taped.  Then wrapped carefully in butcher paper with more tape than any three parcels needed.

She had a friend with curly, swirling, girly handwriting address the boxes, and then each one went with a different itinerant courier to a different drop spot.

They had to be light, of course.  She wanted to be careful, because the drop spots sometimes got wet.  Of course.

She wanted to irritate him, to get under his skin and make him twitchy, the way he was under her skin, the way she couldn’t quite wash him out.

She drew a long pattern of empty open roads and paths she hadn’t yet walked along her entire body, wrote his name on a piece of paper in her best handwriting, and drew a sketchy portrait that took in what she could remember of him.

She stood in the rain until the pattern she’d drawn on herself washed into the earth, watering the ground with her ink and her hopes and setting them free.

She stood by the fire and watched his face burn until it was ashes, and finally felt free.

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Giraffe-Zebra Linkback Story

Leave a comment here if you’ve signal boosted my Giraffe (Zebra) Call !

Each signal boost will get another 100 words.

Ysabat: 3, Lilfluff 2, Inspector Caracal 2, Rix_scaedu 1 – currently posted. 


It was the first day of the Faire, and it was, as luck would have it, a rainy day, chilly, and thus mostly attended by the locals, the die-hards, and people who had planned their vacation around this fest and were going to enjoy it, damnit, come hell or high water (both of which seemed possible).

Autumn was hawking her wares as best she could – she paid rent on the booth whether business was fair or foul – and entertaining herself by offering free body doodles to anyone who bought a piece of art, however small.  It just so happened those doodles drew with them a little bit of magic.


The first patron to buy something was a skinny boy in goth-and-bondage street clothes.  He did an awkward turn at Shakespearean english as he asked if her she would draw the skulle of deathhe most foulle on his hand.

“But is death-thu so foul-leh?” she mused, “for you who invites his appearance?”

She was rewarded with a surprised look that said you’re not supposed to notice that and a little smile when she just lifted her eyebrows at him.

She sketched him a realistic skull, one tooth chipped just where his had clearly run afoul of something, and twisted in with walnut ink a line of show me, just to see where his skulle of deathhe took him.


There wasn’t such a crowd that she couldn’t see him moving, just by the strands he trailed .  There were some bright ones , for someone wrapped in so much darkness, shiny lines of hope and one tenuous thing like a crush.  The skull-leh let her see the way he was reaching, grasping for something.  Did he think he’d find it at Faire?  Did he think he’d find them at Faire?  Most grasping like that was for someone, for some emotion, for –

his strands lit up at the archery stand, and Autumn found herself grinning.


Her second paying customer was a woman maybe twice Autumn’s age, in such absolutely perfect early-Elizabethan garb that she had to have sewn it herself. She bought one of the bigger originals, asking Autumn to hold on to it until the end of the day, and then pushed aside her partlet for Autumn to draw a design on her ample chest.

“Make it a sun,” she offered, “for this day has need of some light.”

“But the light is always with us,” Autumn teased; “it is merely we that cannot see it.”  She drew the sun, heedless of the way the chest jiggled with suppressed laughter.  “There, my lady.  May it warm you.”

“If only that touch of yours does, I shall count myself lucky.”  The lady curtseyed and exited.


Autumn made herself concentrate, despite a blush she hadn’t been expecting.  Sunshine-lady went the opposite direction from skull-leh boy, heading around the wool vendor with a set of strands that wiggled like a song.  She made friends easily, it looked like, but her connections were light, brushing over people before moving on.  She didn’t touch anyone deeply… oh.

Autumn breathed out in something very much like pain.  She had touched someone deeply once, far too deeply.

The woman slid into a jewelry store while Autumn considered her pens, her heart pounding.


Her next customer was, he said, looking for something for his girlfriend.  She wasn’t sure why she knew he was lying, but he was definitely not being truthful.

He was tall, blue-eyed, very tan, with sandy blonde hair and a chin so square you could use it to level-and-true buildings.  He settled on a unicorn that had a touch of frustrated need worked into it, an original – some people could tell the difference some couldn’t, but she’d only ever managed to work magic into one print and that one sold like hotcakes – and tried to turn down her body-art offer.

“It doesn’t have to show,” she cajoled, and he asked her for a hammer.


Hammers were interesting.  She followed the construction he was trying, watching the strands that didn’t really touch him, even though they wrapped around him.  He was here for a reason.  He was here with people, but had slipped off.  He wasn’t here with a girlfriend, although he was here with a girl.

There were stories she could tell, but the one she could trace in his strands looked like a faire booth:  It had all the parts of a house, but it wasn’t a house.  Walls, floor, roof.

But something was missing.


Autumn was still puzzling over her third customer when a group of women walked through.

She could tell rental costumes; she could also tell that they were here to have fun and were determined that the weather wasn’t going to stop them.

One of them, a beauty with short-cropped brown hair and startling blue eyes, shyly told Autumn that she would buy every single piece of art that looked like her here, if she could.

Autumn couldn’t help asking her to model, with a little coy grin that usually didn’t offend.  “I think you’d make a lovely dryad?  Or a princess.”  When the girl demurred in a way that said it might not always be a no, Autumn drew the body art she asked for in iridescent green around a slender wrist.


Leaves.  Had she been inspired by Autumn’s dryad comment?  She watched the girls giggle off out of sight, the dryad-princess’ strands twisting past the echo of the skull-leh boy – still at the archery stand, and still flickering with joy.

She liked her friends.  She had a comfortable group with the nice tight weaving you got front long association.  She was reaching for something, something a little more, a little higher up on the tree.

She really would make a lovely dryad.  Autumn kept an eye on her strands as she called to some passing, umbrella-sheltered guests.

Patreon: A trunk story and a repost~

It’s not quite a kaiju story… but it involves Aliens, at least? According to the address on this, I submitted it at over five years ago, at my last apartment.
The Center was slow today; in three hours, Amy hadn’t seen more than half a dozen refugees pass her desk. Maybe – though there was faint hope of it – the war was finally winding down?
<a href= for all “Trunk” Level Patrons!

Originally posted Mar. 7, 2012

“I do not know what this is.”

Winter frowned at the glass rose that had appeared in his office mail cube; behind him, Latricia laughed.

“It’s a rose. It’s not going to bite you.”

Read on!!

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Two old Patreon Stories: now open for everyone to read

After discussing it with my Patreon patrons, I’ve decided that any Patreon story written as a continuation of an extant public story will be made available for general consumption after three months. Here’s the first two.

This story includes portions originally posted and to make a complete story.
There was something amiss with Winter’s sister.

With the oldest of Winter’s sisters and the most steady, the most easy-going, the least likely to have things go amiss.

Read on!!

This is written to Clare K. R. Miller ‘s request for More Daxton & Esha.
Daxton was captive again, struggling not to take it in ill grace. This time, it seemed unlikely that Esha could rescue him.

It was a captivity far more posh and sometimes far less comfortable than his time in the Red Queen’s dungeons.

Read On!

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Patreon: a Kaiju, a Pride Repost, and a Watering Can

Originally posted Aug. 8th, 2011 – reposted for Pride Month. Stranded World, the middle sister, Summer, negotiating a three-way relationship. Just a light fluffy piece on parents. 🙂
They had discussed it all beforehand. Summer’s mom was just an e-mail send. Bishop’s parents: “Dad’ll probably buy me a beer, and mom will swoon. No biggie, really.” So it was Melinda’s parents who would be tricky, and thus they managed to schedule that meeting earliest on Parents’ Weekend.

Read On!

This story fits in my Toot Planet setting, although it is considerably longer than many of the “tootfics” I have written for it, a tootfic being a fiction of 500 or fewer characters.

You can see many of those tootplanet microfics here, and the hashtag, which began with Catterfly’s planetary art, here.

That being said, here’s the story.


Explorer’s Log, Planet 7-3-3

(Planetary Date 4 days)

We landed harder than planned but not quite a crash, after an EMP on the way in — or something similar enough that the effects appear identical — fried every piece of electronics not in deep storage. Landed hard but not a crash-landing; the shuttle is intact, if unflyable, and so’s the team.

Read On!


Nimbus pulled her knees up to her chest and looked at Cartwright, trying to be polite but also a little worried — more than a little worried. Quite a bit concerned at his ridiculous assertion. “The watering can?” she repeated carefully. “Is Aereaxera thirsty?”

Free for all Patrons!

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Stranded Cat

The cat was trailing strands behind itself, so thickly that at first Spring could not see the color of the cat or the shape of it, just a cat-size ball of Strands.

“Did you-”

Her partner snorted. “That’s Ginger Tom. Well, that’s what I call him.”

Spring squinted, and noticed a line from her partner to the cat, no, several, thin but intense.

“Ginger Tom?” she prompted. This was… interesting.

“Well, Anna down the street, she calls him Pumpkin.” He strolled up the hill of his neighborhood as if it were flat. “And then Geordi down there, he calls him Nightmare. And Candid-and-Cariadad, they call him Only Man, and the redhead who won’t tell me her name, she calls him brother.”

Now Spring could make out the cat, a big orange – no surprise – ginger tom. “They all know him?”

“Know him, love him, feed him. you can see it, can’t you?”

“The way he’s connected to the whole neighborhood?” Spring paused. “No, that’s not right. Not quite connected.” She found herself smiling. “Smart cat. I didn’t know they could do that. He’s made himself the neighborhood.”

“Not a mouse or vole in a mile radius.” Her partner was definitely proud. “And he brings the other cats around like a posse, too.” He gestured towards several other cats. “Shares the food. He’s a good cat.”

Watching the strands twisting around the hill, Spring had to agree.

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Worldbuilding Month Day 9: Building Worlds

March is Worldbuilding Month! Leave me a question about any of my worlds, and I will do my best to answer it! (I need more questions, guys)
This ninth one is from [ profile] medicmsh3141: What’s your favorite part of mapmaking?

Oh, no, favorites!

…All of it?

Okay, so when I was working on my first-ever Nanowrimo novel, The Deep Inks, one of the flaws in that book is that I spent like… 3 chapters describing an entirely-useless-to-plot town that the antagonists had built… I don’t even remember why.

But I LOVED that town.

Forget killing my darling lines, when I worldbuild–>write, I have to kill my darling TOWNS.

Okay so.


First, I’m rubbish at visualization, so when I make a map, I can start to actually SEE a place come together.

Second, it’s arts-and-crafts, and I really, REALLY like arts-and-crafts. I get to pull out the lentils/split peas/other pulses and play like I’m finger painting, I get to draw shapes that aren’t going to look “wrong” because, let’s face it, it’s an imaginary world. I get to get out the watercolors and PAINT.

…there’s more than one reason I do all my mapmaking on actual paper with pencil. 🙂

Okay, so there’s the haptic side of it, there’s the visualization side. There’s getting to play with logistics, too: where would they put cities? Roads? Fords/bridges?

I’m gonna put floor-plan making in here too, ‘cause it fills many of the same urges. “How would they cram as many people as possible into this space, to both fill basic needs for shelter AND to encourage them to spread out and build proper houses?”

(That one’s Colonize Earth, which I never did get too far with).

Maps and diagrams are all about questions. How would they do that that is different from how I would do it?

I’m still not one hundred percent sure why Cya built Cloverleaf in a series of circles – but I love it. Might’ve been for the tower in the middle, everything pointing like arrows at the giant thing that, after all, is not actually the school.

Anke prompted me with “treehouse” the other day and I’m still playing with all the details of a post-apocalyptic scrounger’s tree house…

…I considered going into architecture, you know. Sometimes I really regret that I didn’t.

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Worldbuilding Month Day 8: Tell Me a Story

March is Worldbuilding Month! Leave me a question about any of my worlds, and I will do my best to answer it!
This eighth one is from [personal profile] sauergeek: You have storytellers in at least three universes: Autumn in Stranded, Tanakae in Calepurn, and Rosaria in Aunt Family. Am I missing others? How do their styles overlap, and how do they differ? What are their goals in storytelling? (Lotsa questions!)

Ooh! I probably do have other storytellers, because I like the trope of the storyteller. I like telling stories within the confines of the story, for one – some day I hope to do an at-least-triple-nested story, like Arabian Nights. Maybe for Camp Nano in July~

Autumn tells stories for two reasons: One, because she is a small-change artist, and engaging your audience by telling stories is a very good way to get their attention and interest them in buying. As a Neil Gaiman story I just read says, people don’t buy the art, they buy the story. (Paraphrase). Two, because she is a dancer on the strands of life, and she has found that sometimes a story is the best way to engage someone, to get them to heal their own strand damage, to create their own connections.

Tanakae tells stories because it’s her career. She started out doing her world’s version of rap battles, and evolved from there into high art – think like Shakespeare having a patron. She likes political satire best, because if you put something into a catchy phrase, it makes people – if not think, let’s be honest – at least remember the phrase. She’s her time’s equivalent of a Facebook meme on a bad day, and on a good day she’s Mark Twain. She likes the way words flow together, and making them fit properly is like a really good puzzle for her.

(Okay, I probably write a lot of storytellers too because I am, by chosen trade, a storyteller.)

Rosaria tells stories because it’s how she sees the future, the past, and the present – it’s a type of divination. It’s also how she engages her family – some too young to be interested in the truth behind the stories, some too involved in their own world, their own lives. It also gives her a chance to talk to her grandchildren and grand-nieces and -nephews and keep an eye on them.

In terms of style, Tanakae’s style is far more elaborate and ornate than either of the others. Tanakae is much more interested in the wordcraft and in showing off her skills. Rosaria’s stories are the most likely to sound like fairy tales, where Autumn’s are the closest to “no shit, there I was…”

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