A chapbook of my short story "Fortune", with illustrations by ultra_lilac, bound by themaskmaker of Listening House Press. #9/10.
In the first picture, you can see the dust jacket. Since the story is narrated by a fortune teller, I chose a light Indian tissue, hand-printed with copper ink, to evoke the silk scarves fortune tellers use to wrap their cards...
A close-up of the interior, showing what the pamphlet stitch looks like on the inside, and how I mounted the illustrations so that they would look like individual cards.
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Autographed Sirens CD by SJ Tucker.
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The serpent-girl, seated, in profile. She holds a massive snake aloft, twined around her arms. Iridescent scales glitter along her limbs, everywhere not covered by the simple green silk dress, slit to the hips and sleeveless to show her off all the better.
I am alone among my friends; I am the only one who is not a creature of myth and magic. I was born to utterly normal parents who recoiled at the sight of my shimmering scales. Mutant, they said. Freak. Something in the water, maybe. Some secret corruption.
I was not yet five when my father sold me to my first carnival, and I stayed there until I was fifteen. It was a good place, as these places go. No collars, and no magic - just us freaks of nature and those who performed feats of stage magic, trained animals. It was there that I learned to sing to the snakes, to charm them with my voice as they do with pipes in India.
I do not know if there is some affinity because of my scales, or it it is just that they like my dance, and that I am kind to them.
I grew up in the carnival, singing my snakes out of their pit and dancing with them, skirts flaring around my ankles. I watched it fall apart over time - the show was no longer intriguing enough. People were no longer willing to pay just for sword swallowing and the guessing of weight. They wanted more, and the owners of my carnival were tired and growing bored, and it did not take much of my disgracing myself and them for them to sell me.
The boy had made eyes at me during my performance. I was used to that - I was not very womanly, and still am not. Slender as a reed, he said. But the dancing, the singing - any girl who sings and dances like I must will get those looks. This boy, though, came to me after the show. He brought me flowers plucked from just outside the fairgrounds, and I thought that I must be falling in love, and so must he. The third night that he courted me, I met him behind the big top, long after midnight, when everyone else was asleep.
In the morning, he recoiled from me.
He had thought that the scales were painted on. He did not know - he called me a freak, and the word had never hurt before the way I did that morning. A thing. He spat on the ground beside me, and I wept - hollow, frozen, despairing.
It was that morning that the Ringmaster appeared. He looked down at me, into my tear-streaked face; he helped me up, and stroked the scales on my arm soon as I was on my feet. I pulled my arm away, and he begged pardon for being forward and begged directions to the owners' trailer. I led him there... and before I knew it, I was sold, and before my snakes and I were more than a mile away, I had a steel collar locked 'round my neck.
It will be seven years tomorrow that I have been his. Seven years that I sang my snakes out of the pit, danced for him, for them. Seven years of the Ringmaster's bed, of his cruelty. Seven years of basilisks and gryphons and pegasi; seven years of magic, and I the only true freak among them.
I alone am not a being of magic.
And I alone am mortal.
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I wrote the serpent-girl out of s00j's song "Carousel", because I wanted to give her a better ending. Which you'll see in the next post.
mgrasso: "If I fall asleep in this chair, promise not to draw on my face?"
Me: "I... cannot make that promise."
Kat: "I'm related to you on the internet!"
Mike: "You can use your butt for wrestling?"
Mike is making a shuriken out of Saltines.
Tem Venture is now discussion Lucky Golden Poop. Because we're classy like that.
Also, with NSFW language: