Hey y’all, here’s Chapter Eight of our epic switchblade-and-sorcery e-novel, Those Who Create and Destroy. The novel’s almost finished and expected to come in at around 250,000 words. While we’re putting finishing touches on Parts 2 and 3, we’ll continue releasing Part 1 in weekly installments on Wednesdays, with audiobook and e-reader formats coming soon.
—Mabel & Cass
“A Gift for Fiction”
story by Mabel Harper & Cassidy Webb
written by Cassidy Webb
Content Warning: TRANSPHOBIA
Elisha hunched forward, squinted his eyes. A fine film of sweat formed on his brow.
Focus up, Weyland. Just another half-inch. You got this.
He twiddled his fingers compulsively in the air, coaxing the object of his telekinetic exertions—a three-inch rectangular wooden block—ever so carefully from its nesting place among a rickety stack of its fellows.
Almost … there …
He jammed his tongue in the pocket of his cheek, tensing as the whole column of blocks gave a perilous wobble.
He halted his efforts, remaining disengaged till the stack had stabilized.
“Hoo!” he exhaled in relief, seconds later, as the block under his command finally worked itself free.
With a wave of his hand, he sent it bobbing unevenly up and over the Jenga tower, then lowered it gently, ever so carefully, straight down onto the top.
“Your move, chief.” He sank back in the rolling chair he occupied in Magistrate Noman Kher’s office—which, to his eternal delight, reclined—and rested his chin on his chest, elbows propped on the chair’s padded arms, steepled fingers twiddling at his lips.
Magistrate Kher took a pull from his canned Mountain Dew and scratched one side of his patchy black beard with a gaunt hand. Meanwhile, a block eased itself swiftly and cleanly from the bottom of the stack. It zipped upward and came to rest gently, with impeccable balance, next to Elisha’s, while the Magistrate filled in another square of his Sudoku puzzle.
Elisha’s mouth hinged in a wry grin. “You can’t even pretend this takes effort for you, can you?”
“Would you feel better if I used a handicap again?” asked Noman, with a complete lack of perceptible irony. He rummaged in one of his drawers. “I’ve still got that sleep mask here somewhere in my desk.”
“God and the Christ child, no. You spanking my ass at telekinetic Jenga while blind is still one of the more traumatic memories of my admittedly mostly charmed life.” Elisha sat forward, bit down on his tongue as he set to work teasing out the next block.
Throughout most of their visit so far, during both Elisha’s turns and his own, Noman had divided his time between pawing through the worn copy of Watchmen on his desk and scribbling away at his Sudoku. Now, Elisha could feel the Magistrate’s tranquil dark eyes on his face, studying him keenly.
“You trying to psych me out now?” Elisha immediately regretted his decision to speak as his concentration—and, by extension, the tower—teetered dangerously.