Tourist | Thirteen

Tourist | Thirteen

Brief note: this ended up not being the last chapter, oops! One more. 

A phone rings.

In this room, a phone rings. It’s a quiet tone, so soft and melodic I almost mistake it for the music from the TV. Except that music stopped playing over an hour ago.

This is something else.

When I look around, Chase is sitting cross-legged before the window, his body silhouetted by the streetlight, his face lit by the ringing phone in his hand. He tilts his head up, eyes meeting my own. How mine must glow for him, here in this dark room.

“You have her phone,” he says.

“You’re the blocked number,” I say. There’s a pause, a tense, heavy breath held between the two of us. He averts his gaze.

“You’re not telling me something, Chase,” I push. “I don’t know what you’re hiding, but I know you and Audrey lied about why Emily attacked Lissa.” I hang up the call and wave the phone in his direction. “Now I know Lissa didn’t want to see you, and you went to her house anyway. What did you say to her—what did you do to her?”

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Tourist | Twelve

Tourist | Twelve

Content warnings for alcohol, suicide, allusions to sexual violence.


If there’s one person I never want to see when I wake, it’s Sam. So when I open my eyes to her sitting at an unfamiliar desk in an unfamiliar room, her back to me, my first reaction isn’t confusion. It’s a sudden exhaustion at the unfairness of the world to place me somewhere so obviously hers.

The room is a mess. Creased clothes tossed over every surface, at least three mugs on the desk, photos peeling from where they were stuck to the wall with gaps showing where pictures have already fallen into the chaos of the room. What sticks out most of all is a jar filled with half-dead flowers beside Sam. There’s enough life in them still to justify keeping them, but I can’t help but feel that the room itself is pulling the flowers closer to death. The limp, purple blossoms lean away from Sam as if trying to escape her anger—her room’s atrophying presence.

Or maybe that’s just how things are when you’re organic. Flowers die. Sam loses Lissa. I continue existing.

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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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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 | About

Mountain Sound | About

Starting (northern hemisphere) Friday next week, I’ll be releasing my FIRST serial fiction story: Mountain Sound, with a new chapter every third Friday from then on.

With the cities aflame and massive warships silhouetting the sun, the human race is once more on the verge of destroying itself. The countryside was supposed to be far from the war, but death spreads like a virus—not that Efa would know. An android built for many jobs, Efa was given only one: to protect the sheep placed under her care.

Until a dying girl stumbles upon the flock, shattering Efa’s peaceful existence and forcing the android to think beyond her basic programming. The war is coming—has already come—raising new questions neither of them can answer alone. All Efa knows is that she cannot abandon her sheep.

Mountain Sound is a story about humanity, love, responsibility, and sheep. I don’t know exactly when it will end, but I’m planning around 10 chapters. I have a page dedicated to keeping track of chapters and characters, and it will be updated as the story progresses.

This is an effort to start showing my creative writing more, as all I’ve done publicly for the last year plus is write editorials and book reviews, with my creative stuff hidden behind-the-scenes. No more!

Patrons will get to see chapters early, on Wednesdays!

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