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Author: O. Westin

The knight

“What now?” said the dead mouse.
“You’re dead,” said Death. “Do what you like.”
“I’ll be a dragon!”
“Nice,” said the cat. “I am the knight.”

The mouse swelled up to a huge dragon. “You are dead!”
“I’ve died a few times,” the cat knight said. “Doesn’t mean I’m dead.”
She charged.

The cat stormed through the house, turned, batted something only she could see, dodged invisible blows, jumped up on the chair, and struck.

“Aw, she’s playing,” her humans said. “Look at her go.”
Shortly, the dragon was defeated, and the cat knight went to reassure her humans.

“You are safe now,” she purred.
Then she went to have a nap, to be rested in case more ghost monsters attacked.


Initially just meant to be a single-tweet story, but I was asked if the cat was dead too, so apparently what was obvious to me needed to be spelled out. If a cat has died once, it can see the dead. Which explains what cats are doing when they are fighting something invisible.

The last dragon

“Sir knight,” the king asked, “why build a robot dragon?”
“Training.”
“Why? You slayed the last dragon.”
“Er. No. It’s to train its kid.”

“How will you train it, sir?” the queen asked.
“I will raise it to be the best dragon it can be.”
“And then slay it?”
“I… do not know.”

“Will it not be lonely, the last dragon?” the princess asked.
“It will have my robot.”
“That won’t do.”
“Then, will you help?”
“I will.”

Many years later, the dragon came to its mother. “Did you know egg mother?”
“No, dear,” the princess said.
“Did father kill her?”
“Yes.”

“I recall” the dragon said, “that robot mother tried to kill him.”
“Yes, it did.”
“You did not try to stop it?”
“No. It had the right.”

The dragon pondered this. “When will father return?”
“When he’s found you a mate.”
“Does he think this will absolve him?”
“No.”
“Good.”


Posted as a serial chain.

Monsters under the bed

“Dad, there’s a monster under my bed.”
“Yes, I know. That’s why I’ve trained you. Here, your sword.”
“But-“
“Be bold, my girl! Save us all!”

“Um,” she said, feeling very silly. “Still there?”
“Yes,” the monsters under the bed hissed.
“I’m moving, to uni. Um. Will you come?”
“Yes.”

“Where is he?!”
“Eaten.”
“You ate him?”
“We are monsters under the bed. We are your greatest fear.”
“I don’t fear you.”
“You feared him.”

“My son has monsters under his bed.”
“Yes.”
“Can you… chase them away?”
“Let him fight, like you fought us.”
“He can’t.”
“You can teach.”

“Monsters,” she whispered, “are you still there?”
“Yes.” A whisper from under her hospital bed.
“I fear death.”
“Join us?”
She slipped away.


The last four posted as a serial chain, but I was thinking of it as a sequel to the first, even if I didn’t reply to that. I posted that too long ago (January 13, 2015) to find in my client, but then I remembered I could find it here on Tumblr.

The Gun

THE GUN

A Play in Two Acts
by
O. Westin


CHARACTERS

BOSS – A wealthy person
ROBOT – A golden robot

ACT 1

SETTING

(A sitting room. At rear, a fireplace, the wall above it empty. ROBOT stands next to the fireplace.)

BOSS

(Enter, look at ROBOT, look to wall above fireplace.)

You! Robot, wake! I am most vexed and wroth!

ROBOT

What is it, boss?

BOSS

My gun is gone, by troth!

ROBOT

Your gun?

BOSS

Oh, yes, you are but newly built
From random parts, from scrap, debris, and gilt.
My uncle wrought you, just this morrow, hence
You don’t know much-

ROBOT

I know I look quite dense.

BOSS

Don’t fool yourself, what glitters is not gold.
You’re cheaply made-

ROBOT

If I may be so bold?

BOSS

Be quiet! I’ll employ you: serve my whim!
Go find my gun!

(Exit)

ROBOT

(Looks at golden limbs.)

I’m bright, yet now feel dim.
Is this my lot, is this why I was wrought?
I’ll do this task, and give my life some thought.

(Exit)

ACT 2

SETTING

(Same sitting room. BOSS paces.)

BOSS

Where is that robot? It’s been gone for days!
My wall is bare, denuded in my gaze,
And such a nude will ever boring be.
It can’t allure, it won’t call out-

ROBOT

(Enter. Is dirty and scratched.)

It’s me!

BOSS

You’re back! You found my gun? My heart, be strong!

ROBOT

(Open chest panel, gun barrel emerges.)

I found it was inside me all along.
The gun is me, into my heart it’s wired,
I found myself, and with that-

BOSS

You are fired!

ROBOT

You can’t!

BOSS

I cannot hang you on my wall!

ROBOT

So only guns can hold you in their thrall?

BOSS

My uncle asked the same and I said…

ROBOT

Yes?

BOSS

I did, and now his scheme we both can guess.
So be my guest, but not in my employ.
Cause I don’t think…

(Last lines spoken in unison by both.)

BOSS

You’re just a fancy toy.

ROBOT

I’m just a fancy toy.

FIN

At the border

At the border:
“Do you love your country?”
“No. I am an emotionless murder robot.”
“Ah… Let me check with my superior. Wait here.”

“Do you love your country?”
“Yes.”
“You’re just saying that.”
“No, it’s true.”
“What’s its favourite colour?”
“It’s ‘color’.”
“Welcome!”

“Do you love your country?”
“No.”
“Do you love your flag?”
“No.”
“You got to love something! Do you, I dunno, love your eyes?”
“Sure!”
“OK.”

“Do you love your country?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
“I do not know how to love. Can you show me?”
“I- Yes. I can. Let me.”
“Oh…”
“Ah…”
“Uh…”

“Do you love your country?”
“Do you love your country?”
“What?”
“You don’t, do you?”
“I do! I do, but…”
“But you’re ashamed of it?”
*sob*

“Do you love your country?”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“Well, there’s the way we treat the poor.”
“Granted.”
“And corruption. And-“
“Fine! I don’t!”

“Do you love your country?”
“I…”
“You do, don’t you?”
“… maybe.”
“Have you told it?”
“It doesn’t even like me.”
“We’ll change that!”

“Do you love your country?”
“Must I?”
“As of today.”
“Then no.”
“As of tomorrow?”
“No.”
“Next year?”
“No.”
“You don’t have to.”
“Love it.”


Posted as a series of tweets after hearing how Americans coming into USA were asked if they love their country by Customs and Border Protection officers. Not a serial tweet story, more like multiple variations on a theme.

Found on New Year’s Eve

Nobody knew where it came from, who brought it, but it was there; behind decorations, among empty glasses, under tinsel and lights.

It was small and quick, and shone kindly. Some tried to catch it, without success. Some tried to kill it, and it giggled at their folly.

Some did not see it, or refused to, but children held out their hands, and it rested in their palms. It was small, but strong.
A Hope.


The tweets were posted on New Year’s Eve, 2016, even though I didn’t post the collection until the day after.

Unn and the cold fire

The fire had died when Unn woke; even the embers were gone. She found the flint and steel on the shelf and lit an oil lamp.

There was a patch of ice by the hearth, and hairy frost around the door. Unn sighed, put her coat on, and built a new fire.

“Not dead yet?” a voice called from the smoke-hole in the thatch.
Unn looked up, but only saw the dark sky.
“Who’s there?”

There was a rustle from above, then silence. Unn woke her father, who went out to check.
“Nobody, no footprints, nothing.”

Unn went out and looked around. The snow was pristine, and nothing moved, except a jay and a magpie chattering on a branch.

“Was it you?” Unn asked the birds.
The magpie laughed and flew off, but the jay turned around to look at her.
“Was it who?”

Unn stared at the jay. “Did you say that? Can you talk?”
“Jays can mimic anything,” her father said.
“We can,” the jay said.

The jay laughed, sounding just like Unn’s father. “Not every visitor leaves footprints in snow.”
Then it, too, flew away.

That evening, Unn’s father did not go to bed. Instead, he sat by the fire with an axe. Unn hid under her blanket, sleepless.

In the middle of the night, the door opened. A large figure, white and sharp, entered.
“Hrimthurs!” Unn’s father exclaimed.

The frost giant lumbered toward the fire and stared at the flames.
“So pretty,” it rumbled.
A puddle formed where it stood.

Unn’s father sat still. “The fire will die,” he said.
“You make more,” the hrimthurs said.
“But if the fire dies, we die.”

Water ran down the frost giant’s face.
“That is sad,” it sighed. “Where are other people, who make fire? I can go there.”

Unn’s father said nothing. The house grew colder, the fire shrunk, and soon it died. The hrimthurs left, without a sound.

The next morning, Unn lit the fire again, cut up a sausage, and went outside. The jay and magpie watched from the branch.

“Are you magic?” “All birds are magic,” the magpie said.
“Except ducks, of course,” the jay added.
“Yes. Is that sausage?”

Unn gave them sausage. “Can you stop the giant?”
“Only gods can,” the magpie said.
“But before you die…” the jay said.

“What?” Unn asked.
The jay looked away.
“My friend wants to try on human form,” the magpie said. “Want to swap bodies?”

Unn stared at the birds. “Would I be magic?”
“Well… you’d have magic,” the jay said.
“If you’re strong,” the magpie said.

She had an idea, and told the birds. “Will it work?”
“Yes!” the jay said.
“No, your colours are too dull,” the magpie said.

In the evening, Unn went outside. The jay landed on her head, she felt the world fall, and then she sat on a girl’s head.

The magpie sat next to her, spread its black, lustrous wings, and embraced her. She began to shimmer. Then they flew north.

For hours they flew, higher and further. Then Unn used her borrowed magic to leave a bright, shimmering trail in the sky.

“So pretty!” the hrimthurs said.
It headed north. Unn flew on, pushing until she almost fainted, painting heavenly waves.

“Glorious!” the jay said when she returned. “I want to do that!”
“Next time the hrimthurs comes,” Unn said.
“Every time.”


This story was serialised in 25 daily tweets from MicroSFF, December 1st to 25th, 2016, tagged with #AdvenTale.

Sex and blood

They say,
In the end,
When followed back,
It all comes down to

    Sex and blood.

That every ritual,
All sacraments,
And blessings,
Follow.

I think
There’s a lot
Of truth in that,
But it’s too basic.

    Sex and blood

Just sounds dramatic.
And there’s the key,
The human
Angle.

We need
The story,
The narrative,
And we sell it with

    Sex and blood.

We don’t care about
Those in abstract,
Generics,
Oh no.

We care
When stories
About people
We care about have

    Sex and blood

Encountered and spilled,
Wasted and won,
And savoured.
That’s all.


When I first sat down to write this, I thought I was going to write a poem about Christmas. I was mistaken.

The Raven

In Elseworld a scholar pored
Over tomes of ancient lore;
Seeking wisdom in their store,
Seeking ways to call and beck,
To call and beck a friend.

Gone without a trace or spoor,
Flew the friend to alien shore.
Called by some portent of yore,
Called to take that lonely trek,
A lonely trek he’d wend.

Untouched bowls of gut and gore,
Like a tidy field of war,
Stood forgotten on the floor;
Stood in wait for hungry peck,
A hungry peck to rend.

“What cruel fate so sudden tore,
You away, my Nevermore?”
Scholar cried, her soul a-sore.
The scholar cried, and bent her neck.
Her feathered neck she’d bend.


With apologies and thanks to E.A. Poe.

My cat torments mice

My cat will torment mice.
It isn’t very nice.
But mousy hate
Will not abate
So my cat torments mice.

When my cat kills a mouse
It squeaks and haunts my house.
Its ghost will stay,
Annoyed, afraid,
And skitter round my house.

Now shades of cats long dead
Are circling round my bed
To chase the mice
Whose cruel demise
Has bound them here instead.

The ghost cats have such fun,
They chase as ghost mice run.
I can’t decide
If mousicide
Was kind or cruelly done.