The Small Stranger – Part Two: Merowinter

There was a rumble of distant thunder; it was dreadful that such depth of sound, as of an earthquake, should be created by the sky.

Dolores pushed open the gate, with its glaring danger sign, and Otto followed her into the field towards the stranger. It was clearly someone small, a child. Blank fear burned in his cold joints.

“Where are the goats?”

“I see them over on the far side. They’re sleeping, I think.”

Otto prayed that they were.

As they shuffled slowly through the grass he saw the stranger more and more clearly: a small girl, dressed in brilliant white, sitting on the ground, staring fixedly at them. Her smallness seemed more and more strange, and her stillness, and the colour of her eyes, bluer than Dolores’ dressing gown. She didn’t look real, like some doll left behind by a child rather than a child herself. Her skin gleamed white, her hair a pale flaxen. She didn’t seem afraid at all, or even cold in the sharp autumn air; there was no red in her cheek. A glimmer, which might not have been from their torch-light, showed in the small hole in the ground, where the fairy prince dwelt. The girl was sitting almost on top of it.

Dolores stopped, and with her blazing lamp, and Otto with the heavy shotgun, both tingling with apprehension, they stared down at the child. Dolores curtsied in her dressing gown, and spoke with a faltering voice,

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The Small Stranger – Part One: Beneath the Shadowed Moon

Autumn arrived like a newborn child: very loud, messy, bare, and filling the heart with warmth and wonder. He would grow into a strong and lusty winter. His teeth came in small, but very sharp. Those were the days ruled by the moon, as a symbol of change and season, and as the nighttime of the year drew closer.

Otto Kunger could not sleep, so to calm himself he pulled his heavy quilt tight and thought of Else Verboom, his sweetheart. It had been more than three months since she had defeated the zonnestrider, saved their lives, and impressed the deeply unimpressible Prof. Morhier, their teacher of Magic at Cancer Independent. Nothing so supernatural had happened since that dreadful time. Dr. Tom Kikkert had warned him and his friend Kitty Bauer not to disturb the fairy prince in the Bauers’ pasture:

“He’d be offended if you conferred as a casual thing; it must only be as a ruler seeks a ruler, to give aid, or to ask for aid.”

They had not needed aid, and the fairy had not made any sign. There had been other notable events: a transfer student, an eclipse, a severe illness that had kept him home from school, a last rain party before the colder weather…

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Darkness…

As one may have noticed who has read any of my stories, they often (possibly always) involve something of darkness in them. This is indeed part of my life’s focus, near to heart, and part of the fundamental aim of OOM.

It recently occurred to me that dark things can fall into three categories:

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The Burgeoning Chute – Surreal Flash Fiction

The surreal is usually an element in most everything I write or make, but of course there are different degrees of this. This flash fiction is a recent sally into the pure surreal. It has some uncomfortable themes, but is one of the least harsh of my stories.

The surreal is not a lack of basic rules, it isn’t chaos (that would just be static, if anything), rather, it creates rules for its own use. For a certain purpose, the right rules must be used (imagine playing chess by the rules of basketball). Fiction can achieve purposes which history cannot achieve, because it creates its own rules for events. Fantasy can achieve what non-fantasy cannot, because it creates its own rules for possibilities. The surreal can achieve what the non-surreal cannot, because it creates its own rules for the basic fabric of experience.

Of course, something that would be purely surreal probably could not be conceived by the human mind, so this story isn’t technically pure surreal, but I call it so because, for example, it is more surreal than a dream usually is. Usually dreams have characters and events: this story simply has structure: sequence, themes, moods. If you would like to try and find hidden meanings in it, that may be enjoyable and interesting. But, recalling C. S. Lewis’s metaphor of the beam of light in the shed, do not neglect to experience the story by examining it instead.

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The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin – My Review


I try to avoid spoilers in my review, yet also include more than you would get from a blurb or general description. Since the book is free on Kindle, you may want to just read it for yourself!

Review of the Unexpected Enlightenment Series (so far)

If you like Charles Williams, The Chronicles of Narnia, Terry Pratchett, Harry Potter, and reading about folklore and history, then you’ll probably love these books. In any case, there are three people in my family who have highly diverging interests (myself, one of my sisters, and one of my brothers), and all three of us love these books immensely. Even people who don’t usually like weird things or even Fantasy will probably like these books. They’re the kind of books you could “eat every day”. For myself, I personally connect to the strangeness of the events and the setting, so I am grateful for the existence of these books, and I very much look forward to following the rest of the story.

Continue reading “The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin – My Review”
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