NEW RELEASE: The Dread Eclipse EPISODE SIXTEEN (Caren) – “Gravity”

We’re back with a brand-new episode of our queer, Philly-based switchblade-and-sorcery web novel, The Dread Eclipse, with new updates published weekly on Thursdays (and occasionally Fridays 😅)!

In flashback episode “Gravity,” fifteen-year-old Caren attends her first family Christmas post-transition, and her relationship with Luke hits a fateful milestone.

This episode features cameos from an alternate-universe Rory and Jules, the protagonists of our other series, The Nullweaver Cycle, which will be returning with new chapters starting Halloween day!

Enjoy the preview below, along with a link to the full episode and a free downloadable EPUB and PDF of all episodes to date. ✨

EPISODE SIXTEEN


Caren

“Gravity”

story by Mabel Harper & Emrys Webb
written by Emrys Webb

CHRISTMAS EVE 2010
CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

Caren finished off the thick, unbroken ring of eyeliner pencil, smoothed her red plaid miniskirt, made a critical sweep of her reflection in her bedroom mirror.

After a moment’s deliberation, switched out her Chiodos shirt for her Paramore shirt for the third time; teased her hair even more at the crown; smoothed her side-swept bangs and long, ironed-straight ends; finally, gingerly, added the fake black-rosebud flower crown Luke had bought her at Hot Topic last weekend.

The bass from Vince’s sound system was already vibrating the whole house. From the sound of things, the family Christmas Eve party was underway, relatives starting to arrive. But Caren was taking her sweet time getting ready, making sure every detail of her appearance was perfect.

She heard a knock on the door—her secret knock with Luke, the rhythm of the first couple vocal bars of “The Futile” by Say Anything. Took a deep breath, scanned her reflection for the billionth time. Fucked with her hair a little more. “Get in here!”

Luke slipped into the room, closed the door behind him. He had on his tight-fitting Glassjaw shirt over a long-sleeved tee tucked into black skinny jeans. “Oh, holy shit. Wow.”

“Um. What do you think?” Caren did a little turn in place, feeling like a huge dork.

Luke stood behind her as she surveyed herself in the mirror. He was almost a head taller than her. Caren kind of liked the way he always made her feel petite.

“Fuck. You’re so pretty,” he said.

“Yeah?” Caren bit her lip, trying not to break out in a big stupid smile.

“Yeah.” He turned her to face him, beaming. Traced the hair back off her face.

“Stoppit!” Caren swatted his hand away, clawed her bangs back down over one eye. “I keep telling you my hair’s supposed to be in my face.”

“But then nobody gets to see how pretty your face is!”

“Yeah, well. People gotta earn that privilege.”

“I see.” Luke traced her shoulders, gently touched her chest where the stitches were hidden beneath her shirt. “How’s your battle wound?”

“Still kinda hurts. But NBD.” Caren took another deep breath. “So you promise I look okay?”

“Pretty nervous about tonight, huh?”

Caren fidgeted with her skirt. “I kinda wish I could just hide.”

Luke grinned. “We could stay up here all night, just you and me. I’ll smuggle you food.”

“Yesss! All I really want out of this whole dumb ordeal is buko pandan. And ube cake. And leche flan. And pancit and lumpia and lechón.”

“Seriously, though, you’re gonna be the prettiest girl here. And I’ll fuck up anybody who gives you any shit. Even if it’s Lola Taba.”

“You’d beat up Lola Taba for me?” Caren clasped her hands, gave him a mock doe-eyed look. “I’m so touched!”

“I’ll drop the People’s Elbow on the old lady, wheelchair and all.”

Caren giggled. “Poor Lola!”

Luke gazed warmly in her eyes, took her hands in his, rubbed his thumbs over her wrists.

Frowned suddenly, glanced down. “What’s this?” His thumb lifted the little skull charm on the friendship bracelet on Caren’s left wrist. “I’ve never seen it before.”

“Um…it’s a present. Christmas present.”

Caren kept her eyes downcast—felt Luke’s fixed on her face. “From who?”

read the full episode

go to Episode One of The Dread Eclipse

download the full web novel to date (EPUB & PDF)

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