hungry thirsty roots: 08

It was odd, the little things that changed. It was as if a switch had flipped when the Goblin Lord decided he’d be stuck with her for the long haul.

Clara scrubbed the floors with old rag blankets and the soap he insisted was for flea-bitten horses. She scrubbed the tub and the toilet, and even the shackles just on principle. Attendants took her old bedding, all stained with sweat and blood and gods knew what else, and left her new things. A buckwheat futon, wooly pillows, woven blankets. She enjoyed the novelty of setting them up, making herself a bed as if it would ever be restful.

This story is subscriber-only! If you’d like to read more, consider subscribing for $2+ a month, or $15 for one year.

Sign in if you’re already a member!

hungry thirsty roots: 07

The Goblin Lord’s notes were less helpful than she might have hoped. The Winter Tongue had many more symbols than felt necessary, for many more sounds than felt practical. There were a number of spots where she could not tell if he had written a deliberate intensifier, or his ink had simply dripped, as the shape was not quite right for an accent. In spots he had written Veren words, pointing to the letters to indicate the proper sounds, but these only confused the issue further.

In what way could it be said that a symbol mapped to the letter X, if it was pronounced like the J he alleged was present in the word croissant?

This story is subscriber-only! If you’d like to read more, consider subscribing for $2+ a month, or $15 for one year.

Sign in if you’re already a member!

hungry thirsty roots: 06

The room felt somehow more claustrophobic with the door open. Clara became hyper-aware at all times of what she was doing, of what he could see her doing. And he did watch. He would stand in the doorway sometimes, eating candy and watching her go about her business. What little business she had. Washing her hair and staring quietly at the walls.

She didn’t exercise while he could see her. She didn’t want him to forbid it, or else have it give him ideas.

This story is subscriber-only! If you’d like to read more, consider subscribing for $2+ a month, or $15 for one year.

Sign in if you’re already a member!

hungry thirsty roots: 05

“I’m going to start leaving this door open,” the Goblin Lord decided.

Clara stared at him.

This story is subscriber-only! If you’d like to read more, consider subscribing for $2+ a month, or $15 for one year.

Sign in if you’re already a member!

hungry thirsty roots: 04

The Goblin Lord did not take the silk dress away from her. She guarded it jealously, didn’t leave it where any lesser goblin could take it while she slept. She washed it in the tub before she washed her hair, and sometimes wore it wet. Without laces to make it fit, it was shapeless and large enough that she could rearrange it to protect her from direct contact with her blankets.

Clara resented his having let her wear it in the first place. Everything else hadn’t seemed so bad until she had the contrast. Surely he’d had something else he could have covered her with.

This story is subscriber-only! If you’d like to read more, consider subscribing for $2+ a month, or $15 for one year.

Sign in if you’re already a member!

hungry thirsty roots: 03

“You have guests,” the Goblin Lord said.

Clara stared at him.

This story is subscriber-only! If you’d like to read more, consider subscribing for $2+ a month, or $15 for one year.

Sign in if you’re already a member!

hungry thirsty roots: 02

Clara categorized goblins by the animals they reminded her of. The green goaty ones, the orange catty ones, the brown owly ones. One of the goaty ones was the first she saw, what felt like later in the day.

She didn’t know how long she slept after she washed a second time. She’d tried to make herself vomit, but it hadn’t worked. She had wrapped herself in blankets, and when she woke the torches were lit and there was a glass bottle in the middle of the floor. It was nothing but milk mixed with honey. It would keep her from starving, at least, and quieted her stomach. She stayed in her makeshift bed, wrapped in blankets, and drank it slowly.

This story is subscriber-only! If you’d like to read more, consider subscribing for $2+ a month, or $15 for one year.

Sign in if you’re already a member!

hungry thirsty roots: 01

Clara was going to die.

Her mouth tasted like blood and bile. Everything hurt, pain throbbing every time her heart beat. Her breath coming in short gasps, feeling like her ribs had shattered inward to crush her lungs. Her left arm was limp and the fingers of her right couldn’t grip a dagger. Her legs must have broken, because they couldn’t hold her weight anymore. She’d used every bit of aether in her blood, and it had left her wrung out, an acid burn in her veins.

This story is subscriber-only! If you’d like to read more, consider subscribing for $2+ a month, or $15 for one year.

Sign in if you’re already a member!