Apparitions

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Apparitions! He was so tired of all these damnable apparitions!

Inspired by the work of Gorey & Don Kenn, trying to figure out if I could get that pen-and-ink effect with my iPad…

Archives of the Ahistorical Society: Speaking Owl

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Transcript of office communication, notes, & loud yelling provided by Intern Brittany!



Sid.

Sid, what is this?

We went out after that owl. – Sid

I recall you going after the owl, yes.

It’s not a very nice owl. – Sid

According to the initial report, the farmer out that way said that it called every night, “The gods are gone, the gods have abandoned you, you cannot make new gods fast enough, all will fail and fall.”

Yeah, more or less. But it said it in a owl sort of way. Like it hooted “you” a bunch of times. And then it sort of sniggered. The farmer says it eats chickens. Marla wanted to run it over with the truck, but it was in a tree. – Sid

Marla has a somewhat single-minded approach to unexplained phenomenon. Now, did the farmer have any kids?

No? Well, uh, maybe? We didn’t ask. I mean, you don’t go around saying “Hey, we’re here about your evil talking owl, and by the way, have you fathered any children that might not be in the house?” Didn’t seem relevant. – Sid

Not quite what I was getting at…

Oh god, you don’t think the owl was his, do you? Like he had a horrible owl-baby and he kept it in the attic so people wouldn’t know and then it escaped and now it’s lurking around the farm mocking him? – Sid

Maybe the owl was his wife, like in Jane Eyre! – B

I…what…no.

It could be both! His owl-wife is in the attic having owl-babies and then one got loose and–

EVERYONE SHUT UP ABOUT OWL BABIES. I was trying to figure out why there’s a child’s scribble of an owl in this file!

Oh, I drew that. – Sid

I suspected as much, but hope springs eternal.

It was dark! We couldn’t take photos! So I did an artist rendering. – Sid

In the future, please just include a note with a verbal description.

But what are we going to do about the owl-wife in the attic? – B

The love between a farmer and an entirely hypothetical owl is not our business. Just file the…the thing. Please.



Artist’s rendering and transcript filed under “Hostile, Probably Not Extremely Dangerous But Someone Who Is Not Sid Should Probably Deal With It” by Intern Brittany!

Kevin vs. Killdeer

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When Kevin and I were in New Orleans a month or so ago, we were out birding and encountered this killdeer in a parking lot. It immediately set about convincing Kevin that its wing was broken. Really broken. SO BROKEN YOU GUYS.

Killdeer are, of course, justly famous for this trick. They do it to lure predators away from the nest. Kevin ambled after the bird with a camera and I watched them do a slow motion chase scene across the parking lot.

Eventually, having taken about a million photos, Kevin stopped. But the killdeer did not. There were four of us, but Kevin, rescuer of kittens, was clearly the menace. It was practically charging him waving its “broken” wing.

Kevin: No, I’m done, it’s okay.

Killdeer: MY WING IS SUPER BROKEN

Kevin: I have no interest in your nest.

Killdeer: THIS WING, RIGHT HERE? I BROKE IT IN THE WAR. TWO WARS. SEVEN WARS. SO MANY WARS.

Kevin: I’m starting to feel weird about this, bird.

Killdeer: AAUGH LOOK NOW MY OTHER WING IS BROKEN TOO

Kevin: …

Killdeer: I WILL RUN A LITTLE WAY AND FALL OVER WAVING MY BROKEN WINGS THE PAIN THE PAIN

Kevin: I’m not going to chase you.

Killdeer: YOU HAVE TO CHASE ME MY WINGS ARE BROKEN ALSO I BELIEVE MY LEGS ARE GOING

Kevin: This is just sad.

Killdeer: I BELIEVE I AM ALSO ON FIRE

Kevin: You’re still going.

Killdeer: THERE IS NO PAIN LIKE THIS PAIN PLEASE STEP A LITTLE FARTHER THIS WAY I AM SURELY ABOUT TO BE CAUGHT AT ANY MOMENT

Kevin: Fine, if it’ll make you happy.

(Kevin ambles after Killdeer)

Killdeer: JUST A LITTLE FARTHER…A LITTLE BIT FARTHER AND SURELY I WILL STOP RUNNING AWAY DID I MENTION THAT MY WINGS ARE SUPER-BROKEN?!

(Kevin, camera in hand, stumbles onto a group of King Rail chicks in the ditch)

Rail Chicks: AAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGHHHHMONSTER

Kildeer: AHAHA DEVOUR THEM, MY ENEMY, WHILE I FLEE BACK TO MY CHILDREN ON MY MAGICALLY HEALED WINGS

Kevin: …that bird is a jerk.

(Photo by Kevin)

One of Those Days

I very rarely check my Amazon reviews–better for my mental health if I don’t!–but I had to check a thing on The Raven & The Reindeer, and noticed that there was a one-star review on it. And curiosity…well, y’know.

Predictably, they were very angry about lesbians.

(Actually, they accused me of writing fairy-tale slash fic, were wrong about one minor plot point, and accused Mousebones the raven of gender confusion. Then there was a Think of the Children and a desire for Amazon to issue refunds, the word hack thrown about, etc.)

Well, I expected that to happen eventually. What I didn’t expect were the remarkably kind things I’ve heard about it from so many readers, many of which made me stop around the house grumbling and making tea, which is what I do whenever I think I might cry a little otherwise. And the stark relief of this one little nasty bit made me realize how incredibly generous people have been about this book, and how grateful I am to have been able to write it for my readers…and then I stomped around the house grumbling and making tea.

And about ten minutes after I noticed this review, Tor.com published a really spectacularly glowing review of it, which I hadn’t known was coming.

So, y’know. One of those days. But thank you all for being such damn fine people. I’ll write books for you guys until I keel over.

Have a toad.

toadgrunge

Archives of the Ahistorical Society: Bricklayer’s Arch

Filed under “Probably Benign But That Isn’t To Say It Couldn’t Kill Us All Horribly In Our Sleep Someday.”

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Transcript of post-it notes, memos, and one memorable in-office discussion provided by Intern Brittany, who does not get paid for this, by the way, and yes, I know the economy has more or less collapsed to a barter system but an IOU would be nice from time to time, maybe?



Sid, explain this!

Right, so it’s just this set of arches hanging out in the middle of the field. And according to this old-timer who lives nearby, this was built by a bricklayer who’s wife died, and he built a portal to the next world to try to see her again. Except his wife–the old-timer’s, not the bricklayer–said that the bricklayer never married and hated people and was trying to build a portal to get away from seeing anybody ever again. Anyway, the point is it didn’t really work very well. – Sid

About the ducks….

I mean, you can walk right through it. It doesn’t go anywhere. Nothing happens unless you’re a duck. – Sid

You walked through it?

I was bored and it was hot. Also, not a duck. – Sid

With the understanding that I already regret asking, what about the ducks?

Ducks vanish. But then they come back, sort of. – Sid

Sort of, you say.

Well, they don’t have organs. – Sid

So the ducks come back dead?

No, that’s the alarming thing. The ducks eventually show up again and they’re just sort of solid all the way through. They act normal. I mean, insomuch as ducks act like anything. Ducks are just kinda ducks. But they don’t speak in tongues or anything. Marla is totally weirded out. – Sid

I assume you dissected a duck to find this out.

Sort of. – Sid.

Oh Jesus.

We were standing there looking at it and a bunch of ducks suddenly came out of the opening and Marla panicked and hit one with a tennis racket. – Sid

This is not proper scientific protocol.

It was what we had. – Sid

In the interests of not having my blood pressure rise any further, we will assume that you had a perfectly good reason for carrying a tennis racket, which you do not need to explain. Ever. So she hit the duck with a tennis racket.

Right, and then we had this dead duck and the guy we had been talking to was all “Are you gonna eat that?” and Marla was all “Don’t eat things that appear out of thin air.” – Sid

Sound advice. Yes. Good for Marla.

So anyway we looked at the duck, and it was not from around here if you know what I mean. – Sid

How so?

Well, it had extra wiggly bits under the wings. – Sid

Wiggly bits. Of course it did.

But it was mostly a duck. Anyway, you know how Marla is about things with wiggly bits, so she ran over it with the truck. – Sid

Marla never liked the wiggly ones.

And that’s when we found out that the whole duck was basically made of…I dunno, Spam or something. Undifferentiated pink stuff. I wanted to put some in a jar to bring home, but Marla was all “burn it with fire, we have to burn it all” and you know how she gets. Also, she had the keys to the truck. – Sid

Good woman. Yes.



report filed June, 15 PD also by Brittany.

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