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 | 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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Mountain Sound | Nine

Mountain Sound | Nine

Frosted grass crunches beneath Efa’s feet as she flies across the paddocks. Dead to the world but still living, Harper sleeps, safely held in the droid’s arms. For Efa, there’s the niggling worry of concussion, wondering if they should take a break so she can check the girl over.

But the thought of the soldiers coming to and making chase with their ship and their guns wins out.

And so Efa runs.

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Mountain Sound | Eight

Mountain Sound | Eight

“When are we leaving?”

The moment the words leave her mouth Harper feels Efa stiffen around her, the droid freezing so completely she may as well be sculpted stone. Efa’s silence descends upon Harper’s skin like a cool mist.

“We are leaving, right?” she asks. “We can’t stay here.”

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Mountain Sound | Seven

Mountain Sound | Seven

Efa spears the shovel into the soft ground, taking in her finished work. Four graves, two smaller than the others, rest beneath an old oak the Farmer’s wife once admired aloud on a golden spring day. The physical labour of digging and burying at least granted her a few good hours of work to distract herself, but now Efa finds herself alone with her own thoughts. Not feelings, she knows, because she can’t be feeling. But the thoughts are there, and they are not kind ones.

Nearby, the sheep drift around the small meadow as they graze, though many of them wandered over earlier to sniff what she thinks may have been goodbyes to Cinna’s small body.

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Mountain Sound | Six

Mountain Sound | Six

All at once Efa’s body goes limp, slouching forward over the dying sheep. Though she has no breath to silence, there’s a sudden, deathly stillness about the droid that fills Harper’s veins with a cold fire.

“Efa,” she says, hesitantly at first, then again, louder: “Efa. Efa, wake up.”

The sheep have returned by now, crowding around with low bleats that remind Harper of her brother’s somber humming. They seem to look to her for answers, because Efa is quiet and cold in a way so like Harper’s mother, her sister, and—

and—

her.

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Mountain Sound | Five

Mountain Sound | Five

The morning begins with a scream. Piercing the still morning air, Harper’s voice echoes across the frosted landscape just as the sun’s soft light touches the mountains.

Head snapping around to look at the cabin, Efa rises from her crouched position and grabs her staff from where it rests.

“Harper?” she calls, tingling fingers tightening around the staff. Silence is her only reply.

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Mountain Sound | Four

Mountain Sound | Four

Efa stands still and silent as Harper wipes away the grime smearing her ceramic skin. She could be powered off, nothing more than a statue, but for the soft whirr within her. Her chest doesn’t rise and fall with the breath of the living; she has no twitching muscles, no fluttering eyelashes to betray her feelings.

Harper had thought cleaning Efa would have been like cleaning machinery, like washing her mother’s car. Instead, she finds herself hesitant to touch Efa’s body, as if she were a real human woman. There’s a strange quiver in her chest, something intimate, delicate and, yes, afraid.

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Mountain Sound | Three

Mountain Sound | Three

Fair hair splayed around her head like a storm, the human girl—Harper, Efa reminds herself—seems so oddly at peace when she sleeps, so unlike her conscious self. Awake, she is angry, near-feral like the weasels and wildcats that terrorize the chickens. Efa has never met anyone like her, though she can’t say she’s met many people beyond this farm’s borders before now. Perhaps the war the Farmer has mentioned has turned Harper into this wild animal, but Efa can’t picture her any other way.

War brings out the monsters in people,” he’d said, his eyes focused on a horizon darkening with smoke. “Some days I can’t help but wonder if your kind might be better at humanity than us.

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