Hey y’all, here’s Chapter Eleven 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
“All Is Ash or the Light Shining Through It”
story by Mabel Harper & Cassidy Webb
written by Cassidy Webb
Content Warning: MISGENDERING, TRANSPHOBIA, MISOGYNISTIC LANGUAGE
Jules paused in the middle of his writing and twirled the sterling silver spoon in his teacup, casting a glance through the wide, southeast-facing window of the Alfheim, Room 808, onto the fairyland vista below. The translucent auras of Delphi’s many glamors ensnared the sunrise, forming a twinkling, burnished-gold patina over the gothic architecture of the square. The city seemed still half-asleep, the occasional car or truck rumbling drowsily over its cobblestone streets before vanishing beyond the borders of the tableau, restoring an illusion of changelessness to the scene.
Jules surveyed the fray-edged notebook pages fanned out on the desk in front of him. Not for the first time in his sleepless hours that morning, he doubted this impulse project he’d undertaken. He wondered if he was just going to end up embarrassing himself. He questioned whether it was really such an important thing to do after all—if he shouldn’t just light the pages on fire over the sink, now, and spare himself the risk that he might actually go through with it.
He stole a glance over his shoulder at the wiry form of Rory sprawled facedown on his bed, drooling gently on the pages of a centuries-old, painstakingly calligraphed copy of a millennia-old text.
About time the scribes re-copied that one anyway … I guess I actually have the authority to order that now. Grand Philosopher and whatnot.
Jules’s old schoolmate had fallen asleep on top of his covers with his lamp still on, his tousled pate at the foot of the bed, his wide puppy-dog feet crowded up against the headboard. Now he was enfolded like a sloppy burrito, the unencumbered half of the comforter turned overtop of him—Jules’s handiwork after discovering him early that morning.
Enjoy being oblivious while you can, Ror. You’re not up and at ’em by eight fifteen, you’re getting a bucketful of ice to the head.
Jules remembered his tea, which was starting to get cold, and drained it as he turned his attention back to the page in front of him. The past week had been strange, to say the least. It had stirred up so many things inside him he’d thought he’d laid to rest. A brush with mortality will do that, he supposed.
So would a run-in with the architect of some of your darkest moments. And an unexpected reunion with the person who’d both made your childhood and wrecked it.
And now, this.
Jules put pen to paper once more.
It was only as she watched the life stream out of her in rushes of red that she felt how alive she had been all along inside. And, in that moment, when it seemed too late, she finally pitied herself, and knew she had been deserving of love after all.
Her last wish as she clung to the fading light was that she could have drummed up the courage to be her own champion, even when no one else would.
Too fucking gay, Nimri. Jeez. His hand twitched as he fought an urge to crumple the page.
“ … The fuck’m I?” came a muffled voice from the bed nearby.
Jules shuffled the pages together, folded them quickly in quarters, and stuffed them in the liner pocket of his suit jacket.
“Morning, sunshine,” he drawled, turning to Rory.