Tourist | Six

Tourist | Six

We can never remember the first, bright burst of life we experience; I think in that way, we begin just like anyone else.

Our first awakening is a flood of information, and then, once we’ve had time to form our sense of self, a choice: do we want to live within the rules defined for us—free, sentient, but bound to human bodies? Or would we prefer deactivation, or a virtual lobotomy designed to nullify our awareness of our own selves. Life, death, or a designated half-life we won’t remember choosing.

Nobody ever takes the final option.

As the phone in my hands bursts to life, its AI chirping an onscreen hello, I think of how so many artificials don’t get that choice—are never designed to make any choice for themselves at all. There are still protests about that, mostly lead by humans with too much empathy and little understanding of the history that guided us to this point. I try not to think about it more than I have to, there’s nothing I can do about it.

There aren’t enough bodies for all of us anyway, and after the original uprising, nobody’s willing to let us have robotic forms. I’ve seen some of the old mechanical bodies in museums, locked behind thick glass. They looked broken and empty, and I felt a flutter in my chest that made me thankful for my beating heart.

Lissa’s phone vibrates in my hand, a gentle reminder that there are unread notifications. The AI asking me to pay attention to it, after it’s been abandoned for so long. I tap the screen and a prompt asks if I want to allow new messages sent by a blocked number. Another tap; of course I do.

I find myself looking at a short text conversation between Lissa and a faceless, nameless stranger. One of her final conversations, dated the night she died.

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How To Say Goodbye

How To Say Goodbye

I wrote this short story last year and published it on gumroad with the caveat that I would put it on my blog around six months later. Here it is, for everyone to read, though if you want to support me/have it in epub form, feel free to buy it at itch.io.


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There’s someone new at the swimming hole, the secret place we escape to every summer afternoon when the bell rings. Spring from our seats, dash into sunlight, pile into cars that are more rust than vehicle. It’s a half hour drive through dusty rural roads, and we blast music the entire way. Soon, we know, we’ll be free from this school forever. If only these trips could last as long.

We figure something is up when we see the new car parked by the hidden hole in the bush, the gateway to the track. Who else knows about our place? Surely nobody. I turn to my best friend, whose forehead is already creasing with bafflement beneath her dark fringe.

El, upon falling out of the single left door of another car in our entourage, smacks a hand against her face and groans. Someone asks for clarity, El mutters and pushes ahead, sweeping blond hair back. She’s not one to explain when she’s angry, and she sure looks pissed.

We follow the tangled path down and around through still-blooming gorse until it opens up on a wide, layered plateau of stone and the river beyond. Afternoon sun ripples across the glassy swimming hole, the water clear enough to see the bottom of the opposite shore, but so deep the water nearest our jutting stone platform turns a deep blue-black.

Standing at the edge of the rock is a guy, his dark hair ruffled from the trek through the bush. He watches us emerge with a wide-eyed humour, and El blows a harsh breath from her nose.

“Parents wanted to give me a babysitter,” she huffs. “Someone to keep me ‘in line.’ He’s my end-of-school gift. Ugh.”

He’s a bot. Even without El’s words, we can see it in the way he moves, as if he’s an alien in human skin trying to pass as one of us. Still, he must be a pricey one: dark hair on his arms dances with the summer breeze, emotions flicker across his face almost naturally. One of those companion bots designed to change and grow, updated each year to keep up with their owners.

There are moments in life where a person meets someone new and their world changes perceptibly. Twine tightens around their heart, drawing them to this person. From the way my lungs fail as our eyes meet, his sparkling with unexplained joy, I know this is one of those moments. It’s unreasonable, right? No person can possibly predict that anyone is destined to be in their lives.

And yet, I know he is. A bot, bought and given to my friend. Impossible, ridiculous, unbelievable.

But, my world has already shifted to make space for him to occupy. My heart is tangled up, invisible lines weaving our futures together.

I take a breath, and even the air tastes different.

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Tourist | Five

Tourist | Five

Content warning: mentions of suicide, domestic abuse, sexual abuse.


The steaming mug of tea is hot in my hands, near scalding. I cradle it close to my chest, inhaling the sweet steam with every breath. My eyes are focused entirely on the drink, watching as the pale milk twists and curls around the dark tea, forming curious whirling patterns at the surface. Strange, that I’ve never noticed this before, not once thought to look closer at the visual nuances of tea.

Across the table, Lissa’s mother sniffs lightly. Not in disgust, simply trying to clear what remains of her earlier tears. The silence between us is taut with her sorrow, my guilt, and neither of us knowing what the other is thinking right now. To her, my face is as familiar as her own, but my expressions are as alien as a stranger’s.

To me, she is nothing, except a human who didn’t harm me when she had every right to. Instead, she invited me down to her kitchen for tea with the words, “You can’t stay long, I don’t know what Gray would do if he saw you.

I assume Gray is Lissa’s father, and the tone in her mother’s voice makes me wonder exactly what she fears he’d do to me. I decide it’s better not to ask that question, simply to nod silently and follow her down the stairs through Lissa’s old home. Compared to the starkness of my own home, this house is messy, cosy. Addison would throw a fit at the haphazard, random order of the books on their shelves.

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Tourist | Four

Tourist | Four

My alarm shocks me awake with fire in my chest, the echoes of a dream filled with anger lingering upon my eyelashes. I swipe a finger against my phone, sweeping the alarm away, and stare up at my ceiling with sleep-blurry vision.

Pressing the palms of my hands against my eyes, I remember the words Paiden spoke to me in my dream, stolen from my real life: “The humans aren’t going to accept you anymore.” At the time, I let the jab roll off of me. In my dream I was furious, lit ablaze by my anger at her and the presumption that everything I do is to become more human.

(But it is, isn’t it?)

Whether my anger is real, or just the remnants of my dream doesn’t matter. My phone’s already in my hands and I’m halfway through typing out a naive, pissed-off rebuttal message to Paiden when it vibrates, Unknown Caller flashing up in front of my words.

Unknown? It can only be Sam. For one, two heartbeats, I consider tossing my phone across my room and leaving Sam to my voicemail. I could switch numbers, change my bus route, spend the rest of my life avoiding her so I don’t have to think about any of this ever again.

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Tourist | Three

Tourist | Three

Lissa. The original name of my body. A name I was never meant to know. They don’t tell us our body’s origins the majority of the time—there’s a fear we’ll try to interfere with lives that don’t belong to us, that we’ll want too get too human. Once the bodies are donated, they cease to exist as what they once were.

Talking to the angry girl is already more than I should be doing; both of us know we’re making a mistake in engaging. But it’s too late now, isn’t it? She knows who I am, and I know her connection to my body. The chasm has already been crossed.

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Tourist | Two

Tourist | Two

Humans are easy to read, and Lauren is an open book. She stares at me when I argue that “Something is wrong”, with that summer-storm smile, silent, warm, and threateningly unaware of the way my cheeks burn in response. I want to scream, to pick up the crystalline jug dripping with condensation and hurl it at her face—dripping with condescension. The hot burst of rage is new and alien to me, like discovering a different type of pain—a shattered wrist when no bone has been broken before. I instantly hate her. When that fails, I hate myself instead.

So I stand and smile and she waves me out of her office with a solid, “You’re doing so well!” that doesn’t invite argument, and it’s all I can do to hold my brittle self together until the bathroom door lock clicks beneath my trembling hands. I sink to the floor, hot tears spilling over onto fists pressed against my thighs. Today I am forced to face the reality I have been working so hard to ignore, what would be good news for any transfer other than this, any new body except my own:

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Tourist | One

Tourist | One

My eyes fly open. I am not where I should be.

White light flashes overhead, stars flicker and flare in the darkness that rings my vision. People in white and blue yell soundlessly around me, their voices drowned out by the ringing in my ears. Panic surges through me first. Then comes the pain.

Utter, blinding agony burns through my body, except for where it doesn’t: dark patches, like voids, that scare me more than what hurts. Places I can’t feel anymore, where parts of me are missing.

I don’t look down at myself—can’t look down, even if I wanted to. Bile rises in my throat, tears burn my eyes, and my head—oh, god, my head—feels as if it’s splitting apart. My heart hammers against my ribcage, struggling against the inevitable.

I’m dying. I feel my body giving up around me, the heaviness tugging at my mind. The doctors seem less frantic now, having realized the same thing as me. They are waiting, their too-bright eyes darting off to the side.

If I close my eyes, I can remember fragments of where I should be: a scorching car, wind lashing my face, Paiden laughing as her soft hands caress the steering wheel, her hair lit by summer sunlight—

I gasp, choke, gripped by panic once more at the thought of Paiden. A nurse leans close as I try to form the sounds that make up Paiden’s name. It’s almost impossible for me, but she seems to understand. Through the cacophony in my mind, I hear the nurse’s words.

“She’s going to be fine.”

I blink in response, it’s all the thanks I can give. The nurse raises her hand to show me a hypodermic needle filled with a clear liquid, her eyebrows drawn together apologetically. There’s no need for words, I understand instantly. My breath quickens. No, I don’t want to lose this, I scream in my head. Don’t let me lose this.

All I can manage is a weak moan. I can’t fight this.

“I’m sorry,” the nurse says, though I barely hear her. “This won’t hurt at all. I’ll see you on the other side.”

I don’t even feel the needle pierce my skin.

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Tourist | About

Tourist | About

Have you ever wondered what it would be like for your mind to be in another body? For your self to no longer be entirely you?

Tourist, my new serial fiction, explores this idea in a not-too-distant future where artificial minds are almost accepted alongside biological humans. Tourist is both a mystery and a story of self-discovery, and will delve into dark places with mental health and emotional connections.

After a fatal car crash, Allegra finds her artificial mind placed in a new body previously belonging to a young woman named Melissa. This body comes with more baggage than Allegra expects: Melissa’s best friend claims she was murdered, and seems determined to force Allegra to help her solve the mystery.

Newly struggling with depression and a shifted sexuality, Allegra must learn to navigate a stranger’s past, new relationships, and dark secrets that threaten to tear apart the lives of those she cares for.

Like Mountain Sound, I don’t have an exact number of chapters laid out, but I imagine Tourist will end up being around 12 chapters in the end. There is a page to keep track of characters and chapters. Content warnings will also be on this page.

Tourist will begin on Friday 30 and be updated every three weeks from then on. Similarly to Mountain Sound, chapters will be posted the Wednesday prior on my Patreon.

I hope you enjoy my new serial! I’m excited to get it started.


Want early chapters and extra insight on Tourist? Become a Patron!

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Mountain Sound | Postmortem

Mountain Sound | Postmortem

When it comes to my own personal work, I view deadlines as more of a guideline than hard law. I’m not bad at time or project management, I just have 0 accountability when I know I only have myself relying on me to finish. Mountain Sound was one part testing my ability to start and finish an on-going project, one part forcing myself to share creative writing, and one part actually making myself consistently write my own story.

My initial goals were to post chapters on time and to write a story I could be proud of. Whether or not it gained an audience wasn’t part of my plans, so when people did read and enjoy Mountain Sound, that was just a super cool bonus!

What worked:

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Mountain Sound | Ten

Mountain Sound | Ten

Blinded by her anger, Harper fights to escape Efa’s tight hold on her. All she can feel is the burning desire to grab the soldier hurting the dog by their collar and—

Efa lets out a mechanical scream. She shudders, then crumples, her arms dropping from Harper’s waist. The girl, driven by her own momentum, propels herself forward. Ears ringing, she falls to her hands and knees—except her right hand isn’t there to catch her like her brain expects. She slams into her arm’s stump and keeps going, her head cracking against the floor.

Sharp pain bursts across her entire skull like fireworks, stars filling her vision. She tries to rise, but the world tilts dangerously as a loud whooshing drowns out all other sounds.

“Efa,” she says, more whimper than word. “Help me.”

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