short stories

The Bonedrake’s Penance

Beneath Ceaseless Skies Science-Fantasy Month 2 cover art
My mother was the keeper of the fortress at the center of the universe, where we are headed now. It was composed of spun metal and sibilant nanoparticles. I was not allowed outside, even if we had had a proper suit that fit me rather than the all-purpose protective mesh I used. She said I was too young, too fragile, and apt to forget even the simple principles of inertia and momentum. I was, however, allowed to poke around the storerooms where she kept the suits in pristine condition should anyone ever need them. They came in all shapes and sizes, and numbers of limbs, and some of them accommodated a head (or heads) and some of them didn’t. A few might fit you when you reach your adult phase. The materials they were made of varied. Later I learned something of their construction, and ways to repair them, but when I was a child none of this interested me. Instead, I marveled at the gold piping on one, or the crystal-dark displays on another, which flickered tantalizingly with iridescence when I angled a tentacle-gripper toward the light, or the way visors dimmed and brightened in response to my presence.

Science fantasy. An undead dragon who bakes cupcakes, her museum at the center of the universe, and what her daughter learns growing up. Thanks to Yune Kyung Lee. Published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies March 20, 2014.

Inspired by a mixture of a traumatic Gold Box game (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons computer RPG Azure Bonds, I think it was) fight with a dracolich, which my sister and I only survived because our mage hid behind a tree, the AI targeting glitched, and he Magic Missile’d the thing to death; and also by fond memories of my mother’s ambitious, beautiful cupcake decorations.

For the record, I bake, but everything comes out lopsided. Still tasty, though!