Vin

United States of America

"The normal human consciousness is not equipped to deal with the pillars and suspension cables of the universe."

Message from Writer

Agender (they/them), chronically ill, chaotic neutral, slytherin.

I've been writing as long as I can remember, and I never intend to stop. I write speculative fiction, and I'm most at home among the underrepresented and the bizarre.
Cheers ;)

Neil Gaiman
Terry Pratchett
Norse mythology
Sandman
Doctor Who
Sherlock
Death Note
Supernatural

Published Work

Novel Writing Competition 2019

The System

The sky was November blue, cold and sharp and brittle. The kind of blue a person could reach up and tap a fingernail against, though then they would have to cover their head with their arms as the blue shattered and fell in shards around them, littering the earth with perfect fragments of broken sky.
        Claire stumbled a little as she stepped down from the bus, but she got her balance again and began to make her way down the wide front walk towards City Hall. The doors opened automatically when she reached them, and she stepped inside, walking towards the reception counters. Each had a long line, except for the one at the end, which was deserted. Claire stepped towards that one, reached into her coat, and held a card up to the scanner at the end of the dividers. It chimed and flashed green. Claire stepped up to the window.
        The woman behind the counter had an I...

One-Liner

I Want

I want to live without the shadow of a doomsday countdown hanging over me—twelve years or five, however many they say we’ve got left before our world burns, and us with it.

Fantasy Writing Competition 2019

One Boot After the Other

Blood and sweat trickle down the back of Seven’s neck, mingling together to soak into their tattered camo fatigues. The backpack’s straps dig into their shoulders, and they walk with their body angled forward against the weight; head down, shoulders hunched. One boot in front of the other, stirring the dry red dust.
    They emerged from the sewer system about six miles back, at a guess. It might have been safer to stay in the twisting confines of the earth’s underbelly, but Seven knew it wouldn’t take command long to identify that escape route and follow. No doubt there are troops sweeping the above ground area as well, but Seven is confident. If they run into a patrol, they will take care of it.
    Sun beats down on Seven’s exposed head. Buzz-cut hair offers no protection, and if they don’t cover up with something they’re going to get burned. Seven stops. Shrugs off the backpack, watches the thump of dust...

Micro Memoir

Those Who Watch

The cat on the subway platform catches my eye. I watch it, even though I have some place to be. It sits in the middle of the crowd, undisturbed by the tide of feet flowing around it. The end of the cat’s tail is wrapped around its body, coming to rest between its front paws. The cat watches the subway trains come and go with the whoosh and snap of doors, watches people smile or grimace or shiver when the loudspeakers tell them to mind the gap. It watches commuters with briefcases in their hands and stress bowing their shoulders, loners with headphones sealing them off from the world, mothers with children, groups of teenagers who are still nearly children themselves. The cat watches the posters on the walls, advertisements of products shown by people who are no longer people, because they have been made to be more. It watches the food vendors and the newspaper sellers, tense faces...

The Something and Nothing of Pain

There’s something suffocating
about a story
you know no one
will want to hear.

It presses down on your chest,
bending
your shoulders,
plastering tar
on the inside
of your stomach
and in front of your eyes.

No one wants to hear the story
of a failing life,
the story of someone barely
holding on,
struggling to breath even
as their head falls below
the surface,
filling their lungs with deep breaths of
inky water that yearns
to kill,
because the inky
water is the only thing
there.
 
There’s something isolating
about a pain
you know
you can’t share with anyone.

A pain constantly present,
the devil on your shoulder
and in your knees
and wrists
and hips
and ankles. 

The devil who slithers
around your body
looking for crannies to burrow into,
places untouched by damage
to destroy,
new kinds of ways to make
you clutch your chest
or side
or head
and think,
What have I done...

Fantasy Writing Competition 2019

One Boot After the Other

Blood and sweat trickle down the back of Seven’s neck, mingling together to soak into their tattered camo fatigues. The backpack’s straps dig into their shoulders, and they walk with their body angled forward against the weight; head down, shoulders hunched. One boot in front of the other, stirring the dry red dust.
They emerged from the sewer system about six miles back, at a guess. It might have been safer to stay in the twisting confines of the earth’s underbelly, but Seven knew it wouldn’t take command long to identify that escape route and follow. No doubt there are troops sweeping the above ground area as well, but Seven is confident. If they run into a patrol, they will take care of it.
Sun beats down on Seven’s exposed head. Buzz-cut hair offers no protection, and if they don’t cover up with something they’re going to get burned. Seven stops. Shrugs off the backpack, watches the thump of dust...

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2019

Crushed Wings Can't Fly

So I guess there’s a war
I have to win.
I guess there’s this void
I have to fill,
or maybe it’s time to go down to the gates
of hell
and beat on them until someone comes,
comes to tell me my lot,
how many battles I have fought,
how many I still have left
to lose.
Maybe from the lips of a demon
it will not seem like so much,
and I will take the leap,
the plunge,
no matter if my wings are crushed.
But crushed wings
can’t fly,
though I may be small.
Watch me
fall.
 
The void is dark, but dark does not describe
the weight or feel
of nothing,
dark does not describe the press and ache
of nothing,
dark does not describe
the inky air that steals my breath to turn me
into nothing.
In the void lurk shapes.
I feel them as I fall,
and twist so as not to feel, ...

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2019

Crushed Wings Can't Fly

So I guess there’s a war
I have to win.
I guess there’s this void
I have to fill,
or maybe it’s time to go down to the gates
of hell
and beat on them until someone comes,
comes to tell me my lot,
how many battles I have fought,
how many I still have left
to lose.
Maybe from the lips of a demon
it will not seem like so much,
and I will take the leap,
the plunge,
no matter if my wings are crushed.
But crushed wings
can’t fly,
though I may be small.
Watch me
fall.
 
The void is dark, but dark does not describe
the weight or feel
of nothing,
dark does not describe the press and ache
of nothing,
dark does not describe
the inky air that steals my breath to turn me
into nothing.
In the void lurk shapes.
I feel them as I fall,
and twist so as not to feel, ...

Agender

I do not wish anyone to think
That I would not have been
Proud
To be a woman.
 
I would have been proud
To be a woman
For it is in my nature
To be proud of what I am.
 
But I am not a woman,
Or a man.
I am something else.
Simply myself.

And there is pride enough
In that.

Disabled Characters in Speculative Fiction

        
        As someone who’s both chronically ill and a reader/writer of speculative fiction, I want to see more people like me in the stuff I read. I want characters who live with chronic illness and chronic pain and terrible mental health and incurable diseases. What I don’t want is Fault in Our Stars kinds of stories. Trust me, as a sick person the last thing I want to read about or watch is a story about a sick person dealing with being sick in their every day life. ‘Cause that’s me, every day, and I really don’t need more of that. I go to sci-fi and fantasy to get away. To get away from the nightmare that is everyday existence as someone with a chronic illness or disability. 
        But I still want to see people like me represented. I want characters with problems like mine in sci-fi and fantasy settings. I want to see them thriving or even just getting...

Disabled Characters in Speculative Fiction

As someone who’s both chronically ill and a reader/writer of speculative fiction, I want to see more people like me in the stuff I read. I want characters who live with chronic illness and chronic pain and terrible mental health and incurable diseases. What I don’t want is Fault in Our Stars kinds of stories. Trust me, as a sick person the last thing I want to read about or watch is a story about a sick person dealing with being sick in their every day life. ‘Cause that’s me, every day, and I really don’t need more of that. I go to sci-fi and fantasy to get away. To get away from the nightmare that is everyday existence as someone with a chronic illness or disability. 

But I still want to see people like me represented. I want characters with problems like mine in sci-fi and fantasy settings. I want to see them thriving or even just getting by...

Novel Writing Competition 2018

Obligation

There should not have been anyone knocking at the door, but someone was, and that was odd.
        No one had knocked on Kharis Altair’s door in the five years she had lived in her house in the mountains, which had been the point of moving there to begin with. It was not really a house, but an old windmill that had been converted and was mostly livable, except in heavy rainstorms. Kharis put up with it because no one ever knocked on her door.
        The knock came around six in the evening. Kharis was upstairs, reading while she finished her breakfast. She looked up from her book—Exorcism for Dummies, because if there was anything she would hate to get rusty on it was definitely exorcisms—sat in stunned silence for a moment, swore, and then clomped down the stairs. She stopped on the way to grab her bathrobe, and proceeded to open the front door with rather more violence...

What to Do?

What to do,
When inside it feels hollow,
Empty,
An echoing chamber of mirrors,
Where your reflection follows you,
Relentless.
 
What to do,
When cracks in the sidewalk.
Remind you,
 Of the cracks in eternity,
The rips in the fabric of reality that seem to say,
“Test me, and I will fail.”
 
What to do,
When sleep leaves you,
Sleep,
Your last refuge of peace and sanity,
Leaves you crying alone in the dark,
Unable to close your eyes.
 
What to do,
When every tiny noise is the footstep,
Of a stranger,
When every glass of water is poisoned.
Of course it isn’t,
But how can you know for sure?
 
What to do,
When the world of light is painful,
Intrusive,
Unnatural to a being who craves darkness,
Though deep down you know that you are the one,
 Others would call unnatural.
 
What to do,
When the darkness calls to you,
A night full of...

Science Fiction Competition 2018

Dreamland


Day One

Axel won’t admit to being nervous, but I can see it in the pinched white lines of his face. Lire told him yesterday to dress in something comfortable, and he took her at her word, arriving at the lab in batman pajamas and an oversized bathrobe, his newly shaved head gleaming. Chan snaps a picture when Axel’s eyes are closed, capturing his puckered face as he chokes down the protein and vitamin tablets Lire gives him.
        We park Axel in a chair in the middle of the lab as Lire and Chan rush around, getting things ready. Chan makes the occasional quip, and we all laugh, but the laughter is frayed at the edges. Axel isn’t the only one who’s nervous. Lire’s blue-green eyes are tight, her hair swept up in a careful bun, her gloved fingers trembling almost imperceptibly. Chan laughs too loud and too long, and his jokes are overdone. I am quiet, as always, but...

Science Fiction Competition 2018

Dreamland


Day One

        Axel won’t admit to being nervous, but I can see it in the pinched white lines of his face. Lire told him yesterday to dress in something comfortable, and he took her at her word, arriving at the lab in batman pajamas and an oversized bathrobe, his newly shaved head gleaming. Chan snaps a picture when Axel’s eyes are closed, capturing his puckered face as he chokes down the protein and vitamin tablets Lire gives him.
        We park Axel in a chair in the middle of the lab as Lire and Chan rush around, getting things ready. Chan makes the occasional quip, and we all laugh, but the laughter is frayed at the edges. Axel isn’t the only one who’s nervous. Lire’s blue-green eyes are tight, her hair swept up in a careful bun, her gloved fingers trembling almost imperceptibly. Chan laughs too loud and too long, and his jokes are overdone. I am quiet, as always, but...

Dealing With Character Deaths

    Given that we're all writers on here, it's pretty safe to assume that we're all readers, too. You can't write well without reading a LOT. I'm reading a book currently, and a character--a beloved, wonderful character who I love with all my heart--was just killed. And I have no idea what to do with myself. I cried, and then managed to stop crying, but there's an ache in my chest and every time I think about it I start crying again. So I ate some chocolate, and I've been trying not to think about it, which is much easier said than done. This character did not deserve to die. Not in the slightest.
    It's crazy how the death of a fictional character can have such a dramatic and painful effect on us. It's horrible, and hard to understand, but beautiful at the same time, because it means that those characters were real. They weren't just words on...

Zoom In

My Graveyard

I have spent many afternoons exploring the graveyard. 
        This was an afternoon of patchy clouds and cool wind; wind winding around trees and whistling through the rusty metal gates of a mausoleum, where the sun shone in through a stained glass window, tinted shadows bleeding together on the marble floor. There was a flat expanse of graves; headstones and statues, some cracked, some polished, all worn by the elements. But to one side of that flat dusty plain the earth curved upwards, a hill that looked as if it wouldn't come down again on the other side, covered with trees, carpeted with moss and leaves, bathed in cool shade. I went straight up the hill, leaning on my crutches, struggling with my heart, which was inevitably beating too fast. It was quiet, except for the wind and the crunch of my feet on the leaves, and the trees sighing. 
           I searched for names. That was...

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2018

You

I met you for the second time today. 
It's strange, 
How just one look, 
A conversation, 
A few smiles against the backdrop of shared laughter, 
And already, 
I know you are special.  
I know you mean something to me beyond the norm, 
That I want to see you again.  
That I need to.  

Talking to you, 
Just felt so right, 
Words slipped into place like puzzle pieces, 
And I didn't need light to see it. 
I could have put that puzzle together in the dark.  
It wasn't awkward, 
It didn't matter that we had only met once before, 
You made me feel wonderful, 
Safe, 
And I didn't want to leave your side. 

You are so smart, 
A brilliant light. 
You talked about great authors like they were old friends you used to laugh with, 
And it made me wish I'd known you longer, 
So that I could share those inside jokes. 
You love Shakespeare, 
You're an actor and a writer,  ...

I've Been Stolen From and I Need Advice

    Hey guys. So something really sucky just happened to me. Earlier today I was looking in the lockbox in my room where I keep my money (I don't keep it locked, apparently I should), and over a hundred and fifty dollars are gone. That hundred and fifty were from winning past competitions, and it also seems like someone has been taking twenties out of the box for a while. I get a twenty every month for allowance, and since I'm sick and housebound, I never spend it, 'cause I don't go anywhere. Anyway, when I looked there were only four twenties, when there should have been almost a year's worth. It seems like someone has been stealing from me for a while. I feel so stupid for not noticing before, but I probably wouldn't have if they hadn't done something stupid and taken a fifty dollar bill and a hundred dollar bill. I knew for sure that those should have...

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2018

You

I met you for the second time today. 
It's strange, 
How just one look, 
A conversation, 
A few smiles against the backdrop of shared laughter, 
And already, 
I know you are special.  
I know you mean something to me beyond the norm, 
That I want to see you again.  
That I need to.  

Talking to you, 
Just felt so right, 
Words slipped into place like puzzle pieces, 
And I didn't need light to see it. 
I could have put that puzzle together in the dark.  
It wasn't awkward, 
It didn't matter that we had only met once before, 
You made me feel wonderful, 
Safe, 
And I didn't want to leave your side. 

You are so smart, 
A brilliant light. 
You talked about great authors like they were old friends you used to laugh with, 
And it made me wish I'd known you longer, 
So that I could share those inside jokes. 
You love Shakespeare, 
You're an actor and a writer,  ...

You

I met you for the second time today.
It's strange,
How just one look,
A conversation,
A few smiles against the backdrop of shared laughter,
And already,
I know you are special. 
I know you mean something to me beyond the norm,
That I want to see you again. 
That I need to. 

Talking to you,
Just felt so right,
Words slipped into place like puzzle pieces,
And I didn't need light to see it.
I could have put that puzzle together in the dark. 
It wasn't awkward,
It didn't matter that we had only met once before,
You made me feel wonderful,
Safe,
And I didn't want to leave your side.

You are so smart,
A brilliant light.
You talked about great authors like they were old friends you used to laugh with,
And it made me wish I'd known you longer,
So that I could share those inside jokes.
You love Shakespeare,
You're an actor and a writer, ...

Love in 13 Words

Stand Out

Love is clear when one person makes a whole crowd fade into nothing.
 

A Cordial Note

Dear would-be car thief,

As the owner of this vehicle, it is my responsibility to inform you that I have a passion for pyrotechnics. As such, and as a deterrent to people such as yourself, I have rigged things so that if anyone attempts to hot-wire my car, there will be a spectacular explosion that will engulf the car and anyone unfortunate enough to be in it. I must admit that I am also something of a pyromaniac, and would enjoy watching the flames as the car burned. My car is insured; I can easily have it replaced, probably even with one nicer than this. In fact, you'd be doing me a favor. You, on the other hand, may have life insurance (though I doubt it given that you're attempting to steal a car), but in truth that is a misleading term. I think death insurance would be more appropriate, for although money still changes hands, insurance companies have no...

Midnight Musing


Living in a warped city of lies,
Where the cracked and damaged sky,
Weeps glass down onto bent heads,
Hunched shoulders hiding under worn threads,
The shattered pavement mirrors my skin,
What kind of world is this we are dying in.

Accusation

“This was your fault!” Jordan shouted, grabbing Nik by the front of his shirt and shoving him into a tree, pinning him there.
        “It was a group decision!”
        “It was your stupid idea. You talked the rest of us into it. You got us into this mess!”
        “If you’ll look back, you’ll remember that I’m also the one who got us out of it!” Nik yelled.
        He tried to push Jordan away, but the older boy was much stronger than he was. Jordan's meaty knuckles pressed into his chest; it was all he could to keep from grimacing in pain. The others had begun to gather around. Nik could see angry faces on all sides. They were muttering, a low, angry drone like a swarm of bees who had discovered an intruder in the hive. Angus looked worried, and Nik almost smirked. There was unrest in the kingdom, and the king did not like unrest.
        “You wouldn’t’ve had to if...

The Knave

The village burned almost as loud as it did bright. The flames hissed, crackled, roared in the darkness. The blazing buildings caused the earth to shake as they collapsed, sending thousands upon thousands of sparks skyward to join the towering flames. It could have been daytime, instead of the middle of the night, but for the eerily flickering shadows and the orange glow bathed on every panicked face. The screams of the villagers ripped through the night like the daggers that had been plunged into the hearts of those who tried to flee.
        The Knave sat on a jet-black horse on a hill just outside the village walls. The orange glow danced on his scarred face, shadows cast by his hood obscuring his eyes. A few of his men stood near him on the hill. Some had turned away, trying to block the screams of the dying from their ears, but not he. The sound of death was music to...

In Motion

​One With the Wind

Haley looked up. Beams of sunlight shattered on the forest canopy, twining downwards between the leaves, tussling with each other to be the first to reach the forest floor. The shafts of sun alighted on the earth for only seconds before they spun away again, twitching from leaf to leaf, never still as the wind courted the tree branches above in an endless dance. Haley found herself sighing with the wind. Here the world never stood still, yet every motion was part of a certain stillness, bathed in tranquility. Every sound echoed as part of the earth’s silent breathing. Haley breathed with it, inhaling and exhaling, and the wind surged through her lungs like it did through the trees. She felt the urge to dance and be still all at once. In this place, the trees accepted her. The leaves serenaded her. The wind understood her, and invited her into itself. Here, a cloak of safety wound Haley in its folds. She belonged to the...

My December Competition 2017

Tomorrow

Last Christmas I got a bike.
        It wasn’t a wake-up-in-the-morning-and-there-it-is present. Instead, my dad and I went a few days before Christmas to a bike shop in town, so that I could choose for myself. I was fourteen, and had been riding my mum’s bike, when I’d had occasion to ride one. In the last few years I’d shot up in a rush and tangle of limbs, and my old bike sat abandoned in the back shed.
        Rain cascaded down on my me and my dad when we got out of our car; the kind of misty rain that’s like standing near a waterfall. It had been like that for days; grey, wet, dreary, and monotonous.
        Two cats patrolled the bike shop. Standoffish cats who glared disdainfully at customers invading their home, who slouched off to curl up in corners where they could avoid disturbance. They say that people are often like their pets. It was true of the woman...

My December Competition 2017

Tomorrow

Last Christmas I got a bike.
        It wasn’t a wake-up-in-the-morning-and-there-it-is present. Instead, my dad and I went a few days before Christmas to a bike shop in town, so that I could choose for myself. I was fourteen, and had been riding my mum’s bike, when I’d had occasion to ride one. In the last few years I’d shot up in a rush and tangle of limbs, and my old bike was much too small.
        It was a rainy day in December. December is always rainy where I live. I’ve never seen a white Christmas. Never woken up in the morning to see tiny feathers falling from the sky, never felt the crunch of snow under slippered feet, never seen the skid marks of Santa’s sleigh cutting through the blanket of glittery white. We had sleigh marks in the damp grass of the lawn once, but somehow that isn’t the same.
        There were two cats in the bike shop. Standoffish...

Novel Writing Competition 2017

Chapter One: Graveyard

       
    

        Orthadai Bloom was fond of graveyards. They were neat, quiet, and they took things seriously. Most people, he knew, thought of graveyards as places of death; of endings. Of things lost. But to Orthadai Bloom, they were quite the opposite. A graveyard contained the lives of countless people, countless stories; stories with happy endings and sad ones. The only unfortunate part was that most of the stories lived—or rather, did not live—only in the memories of the dead.
        Orthadai Bloom was not the name he had been given, though that might seem the only fathomable way to have acquired such a name. He did not remember the name he had been given. Only the one he had chosen for himself. He had found this name written on a tombstone; an old, moss-covered thing from a forgotten century. That had been back when he still remembered his given name, and had been searching for a way...

Novel Writing Competition 2017

Chapter One: Graveyard

        Orthadai Bloom was fond of graveyards. They were neat, quiet, and they took things seriously. Most people, he knew, thought of graveyards as places of death; of endings. Of things lost. But to Orthadai Bloom, they were quite the opposite. A graveyard contained the lives of countless people, countless stories; stories with happy endings and sad ones. The only unfortunate part was that most of the stories lived—or rather, did not live—only in the memories of the dead.
        Orthadai Bloom was not the name he had been given, though that might seem the only fathomable way to have acquired such a name. He did not remember the name he had been given. Only the one he had chosen for himself. He had found this name written on a tombstone; an old, moss-covered thing from a forgotten century. That had been back when he still remembered his given name, and had been searching for a way to get rid of it....

Novel Writing Competition 2017

Chapter One: Graveyard

        Orthadai Bloom was fond of graveyards. They were neat, quiet, and they took things seriously. Most people, he knew, thought of graveyards as places of death; of endings. Of things lost. But to Orthadai Bloom, they were quite the opposite. A graveyard contained the lives of countless people, countless stories; stories with happy endings and sad ones. The only unfortunate part was that most of the stories could be remembered only by the occupants of the graves.
        Orthadai Bloom was not the name he had been given, though that might seem the only fathomable way to have acquired such a name. He did not remember the name he had been given. Only the one he had chosen for himself. He had found this name written on a tombstone; an old, moss-covered thing missing both corners. That had been back when he still remembered his given name, and had been searching for a way to get rid of it. He’d left...

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

Sun

        Sun-cracked lips and eyes half open. Beads of sweat wreathe the forehead, trickling downwards; a salty tang hits the tongue. Sand invades the body; itching, suffocating. Thirst parches the throat, burns red-hot. Limbs drag across the ground, then head surrenders and face meets the scorched sand. Sun ignites the mane of hair, winter hair, cascading down like a cloak, concentrating the heat. The chest heaves, breathing comes in quick, stifled gasps. The air is too hot to be air. It is syrup, thick and cloying. Fear is in the sweat that trickles downwards. The final breath flares and dies.   

Truths and Untruths

Just a List

1. Change locations. One a week I get up, pack, and move on. Midnight is a good time to do that.
 
2. Feed that cat. There always seems to be a cat about. It’s never my cat, but there always seems to be one, anyway. I keep a little something for them, just in case.
 
3. If I could, I’d like to sit on a hilltop in the dark, gazing at the moon and the stars. I’d like to do it without worrying, without always looking back over my shoulder, afraid of what the shadows might be hiding.
 
4. I look at my pictures around midnight. I have a small shoe box that I take with me no matter how many times I move. There are three photographs inside. One shows three people: a man, a woman, and a young girl. My parents, and my sister. The picture was taken before He came. The second photo shows...

Truths and Untruths

Just a List

I wish that the things inside my head could be real

I wish that some things that are real were only nightmares inside my head.

I wish that I could go a day without being in pain.

I wish that I could take other people's pain away.

I wish that the things I pretend don't exist would oblige me.

I wish that the things I pretend do exist would oblige me.

I wish that the people inside my head would come out and stand beside me. 

I wish that the stories I tell would become real.

I wish for an excuse to run, to keep running and never look back.

I wish for a reason to stay, for something to ground me and a safe place to hide.

Sometimes I wish to die and then come back again. I can't help wondering how it would feel.

 

Burgundwen

It was not much of a town, Burgundwen.
                It lay in nowhere’s backyard, self-consciously unwilling to take up too much space. Burgundwen was unremarkable in every respect, except maybe its size; it was old, but not decrepit, shabby, but not crumbling, and quaint, but not picturesque. The adventurous traveler who neared Burgundwen would have to take care not to sneeze, or they would find the town in their rear-view mirror without being able to comprehend how it had got there. 
                The other strange thing about Burgundwen was the people who lived there—or rather, didn’t. Someone merely passing through would notice that sure, while the gas station offered gas, and those automated thingies devoured one’s money willingly enough, there wasn’t a person in sight. Not in the whole ding-danged town.
                And the name, too. What kind of a name for a town was Burgundwen? The founder of the town—who could be called that only in the loosest of...

Snow

        Snowflakes fall like tiny feathers from the sky, the soft insides of a pillow burst in some divine slumber party. The elfin wingtips brush my face, alight on my hair; cold and icy, not as soft as they seem. Tiny splintered chips of cold. One lands on the tip of my finger and I stare at it, watching as it melts. Beautiful. I feel a pang as it fades away; it is a pity that the beauty is so small and so short-lived. And so rarely appreciated. I consider how many beautiful things there are whose beauty is destroyed by too much examination. A snowflake melts. A flower wilts. A rainbow disappears if you squint too hard. A bolt of lightning is instantaneous, easily missed altogether.        
        I sit on a bench, in the snow, in the cheery, busy brightness of the downtown. There are so many people trudging through the crowded streets, wrapped in mufflers and scarves, faces red...

Turned to Stone

The Face

    I have had a face ingrained in my subconscious since the day I was born. I know its every detail better than my own. It has always been there, from the moment I sucked in my first breath and felt the cold air on my face and saw the flashing lights and hear the loud, clamoring noises of being alive, all the sensations working overtime, introducing themselves without invitation to the little body who just wasn’t quite ready for the world. The face brought me peace. Gave me something to hold on to when I was afraid I would drift away in to all the sounds and sensations; when I was longing for the dark warmth of my mother’s womb; when I was turning my tiny lungs inside out in my desperation to drown it all. The face brought me comfort. The face belongs to someone who has always been there, watching me. Never interfering, just watching. Almost curious. Until...

Writing for Children Competition 2017

Winkle and the Window


    
    A long time ago, there lived a small boy called Winkle. His mother had named him after the stars, which had winked and twinkled in the sky at his birth, laughing at nothing, as stars do. Winkle lived with his mother and father in a cottage by the sea, and every day his parents would go out in a little fishing boat to catch their supper. But one day, when the sun began to sink in the sky, Winkle’s parents did not return. Winkle sat in the sand on the beach, watching the sun dip below the waves, looking for his parents’ boat. It did not come.
    “That’s strange,” Winkle said to himself. “I wonder if they lost their way.”
    Winkle was a resourceful boy, and he decided that he would go and ask every creature he met if they had seen his parents. He stood, brushed the sand from his tunic, and walked into the forest.
    The first...

Writing for Children Competition 2017

Winkle and the Window


    
    A long time ago, there lived a small boy called Winkle. His mother had named him after the stars, which had winked and twinkled in the sky at his birth, laughing at nothing, as stars do. Winkle lived with his mother and father in a cottage by the sea, and every day his parents would go out in a little fishing boat to catch their supper. But one day, when the sun began to sink in the sky, Winkle’s parents did not return. Winkle sat in the sand on the beach, watching the sun dip below the waves, looking for his parents’ boat. It did not come.
    “That’s strange,” Winkle said to himself. “I wonder if they lost their way.”
    Winkle was a resourceful boy, and he decided that he would go and ask every creature he met if they had seen his parents. He stood, brushed the sand from his tunic, and walked into the forest.
    The first...

Writing for Children Competition 2017

Winkle and the Window

    
    A long time ago, there lived a small boy called Winkle. His mother had named him after the stars, which had winked and twinkled in the sky at his birth, laughing at nothing, as stars do. Winkle lived with his mother and father in a cottage by the sea, and every day his parents would go out in a little fishing boat to catch their supper. But one day, when the sun began to sink in the sky, Winkle’s parents did not return. Winkle sat in the sand on the beach, watching the sun dip below the waves, looking for his parents’ boat. It did not come.
    “That’s strange,” Winkle said to himself. “I wonder if they lost their way.”
    Winkle was a resourceful boy, and he decided that he would go and ask every creature he met if they had seen his parents. He stood, brushed the sand from his tunic, and walked into the forest.
    The first...

1 Photo, 100 Words

Black and Blue

    Black and blue. The colors of bruises and sleepless nights. The colors of bottomless oceans and the dark circles under my eyes. I survey the room; black and blue are all I see. The unyielding blue of aquarium tanks, almost masked by inky silhouettes. I shiver. With this crowd, the room should not be so cold. Maybe I am the only one who feels the chill. I step forward and rest my head on the glass. I can no longer see black, only blue. Without its counterpart, it appears shapeless. Bland. Maybe we need black to help define the blue.