For Julie and me.
AN AXE +2 GRIND
THE DARK SIDE OF THE LIGHT
THE DREAM REGISTER OF TVS
THE WEIGHT OF WORDS
The Secret of Secrets:
EVERYTHING FAILS: A SCIENCE FICTIONAL MEMOIR
THESE ARE THE THINGS I KNOW
THE GRAND STORY OF NOT
THE THIEVES OF ALL THAT YOU ARE
WE CAN NEVER GO BACK
LOVE IS WHAT YOU HAVE
BE A DARK HORSE!
THE STARS CALL US HOME
T VAN SANTANA & THE BLACK BOOK OF FEAR
A GALAXY OF SUBMISSION
T VAN SANTANA & THE CODEX OF COHERENCE
TALES FROM AZZA-JONO (also contributing author)
TVS NANOFICTION ANNUAL 1
My eyelids are heavy. Where am I? What’s that against my arm? So soft …
“Oh, hey, kitty …”
“Kitty? I’m Pem.”
Did that cat just talk to me?
“Excuse me?” I clear my throat and say it again. “Excuse me?”
“You don’t recognize me, William?”
“Holy cow, you did just talk to me.”
“Are you drunk?”
“Um, no. No, I don’t think so.” My head hurts but not like I’ve been drinking. It’s an unfamiliar pain. “Um, where are we, Pem?”
“We’re at the Station. Where else?”
Pem paws at her face in small circles that are getting larger with each swipe.
“What’s the Station, Pem?”
Pem stops wiping. Stares at me with wide, unblinking eyes. Then pulls back and lets go with a giant lick down the side that lifts the foot up. Does that about twelve times, then licks chops.
“Huh? The Station. You know. Our house …”
I don’t recognize this place. It certainly doesn’t feel like home. My finger hurts. There’s a callus here. Looks like a ring.
“Did I lose my ring?”
“I dunno. Did you? I don’t have any use for rings.”
“Oh. Of course not. Well if you see it around, tell me, okay?”
“You bet. Hey, I’m hungry. How about you open a can of food for me, huh?”
“All right. Where is it?”
“Over here.” Pem trots in dainty little steps over to a stack of canned food.
I read it out loud: “Grool’s Gruel.” There’s a black, wispy tentacle dripping some slime. “You eat this stuff, Pem?”
“Hey. Momma’s hungry, okay? Give it.”
“All right, all right.”
I crack the can, but now I need a fork and plate. I look around in the cabinets for dishes. There aren’t many, but I do find a stack of saucers. Drawer has some silver in it. I fork out the food and put it down. I stroke her back, like a reflex.
What’s out the window there, over the sink. Let me take a look …
“Holy cow! How high up are we, Pem?”
“Is that a mattress down there? At the base of a tree? We live in a tree?”
“Nom nom nom …”
Not getting anything from her while she’s eating. Go take a look out the front door.
“Wow, that’s a long way down. Are those steps or a ladder? I guess it’s kind of the same ….”
I feel a pull, like a magnet in my chest near my heart. She’s out there somewhere. I know she is. I feel my finger again, and it points.
“Um, what’s with this, Pem?”
She’s licking her face but is done eating. “You’re pointing again. You do that sometimes.”
“Right, but what does it mean?”
“I dunno. It’s how we know where to go.”
“Where to go where?”
“You know. Where we go. We do stuff every day, then come back here and sleep. And more importantly, eat.”
“Huh.” I take a step outside. Feels new.