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Author: O. Westin

Gry and the Mountain King

The Mountain King ruled the lands around his lonely mountain, everywhere his goblins and trolls could reach in darkness.

At times, Gry and the other children would look south to the mountain, scare each other with gruesome tales, and giggle.

The village was safe. The slow trolls could not reach it, not even in the longest night. But one day, Gry noticed something.

At noon, when the winter sun hung low over the mountain, the shadow cast on the plain seemed to reach closer than before.

People are

People are people
And girls will be girls
They send goatse to sheeple
Have weapons for toys

Humans are human
With genders galore
They have social acumen
Wear diamonds and pearls

Aliens are alien
And boys will be boys
They blib oozing phtalien
And waft out their spore

Poets are poets
And mix-ups occur
With cliches running through it
Of what people were

What’s their story?

When Creator gets bored and reaches for the Reset, Distractor points at someone and asks “What’s their story?”
Would your story distract?

“What’s their story?”
“That one? They worry about being boring, and have created a whole internal world of could’ve-been. It’s impressive.”

“What’s their story?”
“That’s interesting. They’re quite content with their life, their body, their love and friends. Don’t see that often.”

“What’s their story?”
“That was Christopher Lee. Let me tell you his story.”
Distractor smiled inwardly. This story would last a long time.


Posted as four tweets, on hearing that Christopher Lee had died.

Seeing herself

She began walking the mirrors as a child, swapping worlds with her other selves. She became ambidextrous before she knew it was unusual.

She was in her teens when she realised nobody else could move through mirrors like she did. And that not all loved mirrors like she did.

She tried to see like they did, to see the reflected world, not the one on the other side. To see herself, not her other. She succeeded.

She saw herself. She seemed unreal, strange to her. Faintly, behind her own reflection, she saw her other self look surprised, afraid.

As she stared, completely still, she saw her other self lift a hand and touch the mirror. And then she faded, and she saw only herself.

It has been a long time now; she is not always sure it was not just a childhood game, a make-believe. She tries to believe it was real.

She looks in mirrors, and tucks her hair away with either hand. One day, she sees her other self use the other hand. And they smile.


This is a rare serial tweet story, in that I wrote the whole thing before posting any of it.

Moa and the lost sun

Moa woke to mooing. She wrapped her blanket around her like a shawl, put her feet in her clogs, and went to milk the cows.

Life moves slowly in winter. Moa took the milk to the cold cellar and returned to bed, to wait for sunrise. It didn’t come.

The sky above the smoke hole in the thatch remained dark. Moa’s family would not wake from their sleep, despite her crying.

Moa dried her tears. Then she hung the lamp from the door on the billygoat’s horn, filled his panniers, and lead him east.

They made good progress through the snow. Soon they came to the bridge over the river.
“Hello,” Moa called. “Master Troll?”

The troll climbed up.
“Where’s the sun?” he said. “I can’t sleep in darkness.”
“I’ll find out,” Moa said. “Will you help?”

Commute

The train emerges from the fog. In the distance, a large castle, over a forest. I’ve never noticed that before. The train enters a tunnel.

The train emerges from the tunnel onto a bridge, high over endless plains. A dragon flies past, a princess on its back. Is this a new route?

The train approaches the foot of an immense mountain. On a field, a horse grazes next to a burned-out suit of armour. The tea trolley comes.

The train slows to a halt. The conductor apologises: a goblin migration crossing the line. Outrageous, I say. He gives me a biscuit voucher.

The train starts moving again, climbing. Soon, we enter clouds. Unseen animals sing mournfully, deeply. Airwhales, says the lady next to me.

The train emerges from the clou… the fog, and pulls in at my station. I gather my things to get off. Where did I get a biscuit voucher?

I have a vague feeling I ought to be going to work, not home. Silly. Though I can’t recall what I did after boarding the train this morning.


These tweets were posted over the span of a working day, the first as I got on my train to work, the last as I got off the train coming home.

Ex Libris Homo

By now, we thought, our cities on the Moon,
Would thrive and outshine those on tired Earth.
Venusian swamps and canal’d Mars would soon
Be settled by our square-jawed men of worth.

By now this Earth would freeze in nuclear frost;
Our cities radiant, mutant-spawning hells.
Or maybe trash and smog polluted most,
And left us coughing acrid nasty smells.

By now the aliens would have found us here,
Enslaved and killed us, treated us like sheep.
Or stopped our wars and rid us of our fear,
And showed us myst’ries both profound and deep.

But when I said it happened, your head shook.
I’ve seen those worlds, I’ve lived those lives.
In books.


(April 23rd is World Book Day (though it is not celebrated on this date in the UK, due to it being the day of St George). Since it’s also the birth- and deathday of William Shakespeare, I thought I’d write a sonnet.)

Tam and Lin and the Queen in the heart of the forest

They say that in the heart of the forest, there’s winter in the middle of summer. Tam went to see if the opposite was true.

He challenged the forest. His mighty sword vanquished his foes. A boy and his stick, leaving frosty nettles broken behind.

“Where to, soldier boy?” a magpie laughed.
Tam bowed. “To summer, sir.”
“Then march on, and get your warmth from the Queen.”

“Why the hurry?” a squirrel asked.
“I go to the Queen,” Tam said.
“Have a care, she’ll heed your words, not what you say.”

In the heart of the forest, Tam stepped off snow onto lush green moss. Leaving winter behind, he shivered, then marched on.

Dreams of space

We’ve lost our dream to reach the far-flung stars
And yet we cheer each exoplanet found.
We send exploring robots off to Mars
But doubt we’ll see a human Marsward bound.

We’ve come to say ‘not ever’ where ‘not yet’
Was once the answer, followed by ‘one day’.
Our dreams are tempered by the limits set
by Science, that remorseless beast of ‘nay’.

We’ve learned there is so much we cannot do,
So much beyond our might and ken, and yet,
Our poets give us dreams to seek anew,
Of goals we never thought before to set.

Our dreams are smaller, but we’ll see them true,
If possible; that is what humans do.