Writing Group: Little Sounds in the Night (PRIVATE)

Hello, Darkness Lurkers and Nightowls!

Did you hear that? What do you think it was? Have you heard anything like that? I want to check it out, but I don’t want to go alone… can you come with me? But you’re going first, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

Little Sounds in the Night

RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

Ah, nothing like lying in bed, peaceful and snug and almost asleep… and then hearing a creak in the hall when no one should be out there. Was it your imagination? Was it the family pet? Maybe dad is getting some water? Are you brave enough to go investigate?

There are plenty of things that make noise in the night, and just as many stories can be conjured up from such an idea. Perhaps a thief has snuck in through a window in search of money or jewels, but wasn’t counting on such a lavish house to have such creaky floors. Maybe a young child is unable to sleep because of the storm outside, and the wind is causing the house to settle. It creaks and groans under the force, making the little one hide under their blanket with their stuffed toy guardian. Or maybe you choose a group of friends having a slumber party, and decided horror movies right before bed was a fantastic idea. 

What if those little sounds are from something not so small? A tiny, faint scratching at the door. Must just be the cat, right? But then you open the door, and something else is standing there. Something much bigger, and much more eldritch looking. Maybe you write about someone woken from their slumber by their sibling sleepwalking. Or perhaps instead of sleepwalking, they’re sundowning. It could even be as simple as a child sneaking out of bed at two in the morning for cookies, completely forgetting how every step makes their little ankles crack.

One tiny, out of place sound is all it is, but oh, how it can make the imagination wander and spiral out of control.

So go on. What are you waiting for? Get your flashlight, put your feet on the floor, and go check it out. I’m sure the under-bed lurkers will thank you later.

—Shawna

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.

Rules and Guidelines

We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
    7. No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
    5. Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
    6. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
    7. You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
    8. Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

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King_Nix
King_Nix
8 months ago

“Scratching at the Doors”
By King_Nix

[An entry in the field journal of Francis Plantagenet, Captain General of the Inquisitorial Dæmon Hunters]:

October 18th

First night of our vigil in the American state of Arizona. As I began preparations to retire for the night, I heard a tapping at the window. The untrained might have thought it was merely the branches of trees or grains of loose soil, caught in a sudden breeze. I know better.

Sure enough, the door to my bedchamber was thrust open, and in came Michaël.

With a salute, he began to speak, “Captain General. It has come to my attention that Private Thomas has laxed in his blessing of the perimeter.”

I responded, “I’ve noticed. We will have to decide on a penance after the expedition.”

“I am afraid,” he said, “that he has already reaped the fruit of his negligence.” Michaël’s eyes lowered. I would only later find the body of poor Thomas, his skin flayed off, apparently while he still lived. How his screams were kept from us I cannot say, such is the danger of our foes.

“I see. Let us pray, then, for his swift passage into Heaven.” Thus, we held a minute of silent prayer for our fallen soldier. “Rouse the others if they’re not already aware. There’ll be no rest tonight, it seems.”

Michaël gave another salute, and departed. The night was spent in tense vigilance. Cries and howls echoed in the night, some more animalistic and others too human. Sebastian thought he heard the sobs of his mother, five years deceased. At the edge of the cabin’s lights, shapes haunted our vision – twisted forms of beast and man that stalked like hyenas in the cold night – filling the air with an odor of blood and rot.

Among the horrors, I know I saw the face of Thomas, stretched and distorted over a canid muzzle in a sickening grin.

The confrontation subsided by morning, and we wasted no time in blessing the perimeter, and steeled ourselves for the nights to come.

[End of entry.]

Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
8 months ago

Lying Close to You
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)

It was cold that night, so we decided to make hot cocoa, cuddle up under a blanket and watch our favorite netflix series. I grabbed our warmest fluffiest comforter, and you prepared the hot chocolate. Soon enough, we were embraced under the warm protection of the blanket, sipping on hot cocoa and enjoying the film.

We laughed, giggled, and cheered as episode after episode went by. Eventually, we finished our hot cocoa and became even further entrenched under our protective comforter. Finally, the night winded down and we both layed there, just chatting about life, the stars, and the snow.

Sometime later, I find myself waking up beside you, the room completely dark. I feel your head against me, using my chest as a pillow. Your gentle rhythmic breathing told me you were fast asleep, and I smiled.

Holding you closely, I felt the warmth emanating off you, and the gentle patter of your heartbeat. All I felt and heard was you in that moment, your closeness, your being, intertwined with mine. I could practically feel my affection for you pouring out of me.

It’s such a little thing looking back, but at the time, I never wanted that moment to end. I wanted you to stay safely protected in my arms, always happy, comfortable, and warm. I had nothing on my mind but being there for you forever.

After a moment, I could feel my face going red as I began to look through the memories of the day. You’ve always made me so happy, and that day was no exception. Even in sleep, you brought a smile to my face. I made a pact then and there to never let you go, to never hurt you, and to never give you up. I hope I’ve lived up to it so far.

Last edited 8 months ago by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
i-prefer-the-term-antihero
i-prefer-the-term-antihero
8 months ago

[Removed]

Last edited 8 months ago by i-prefer-the-term-antihero
jesse fisher
jesse fisher
8 months ago

Bump in the Night
By Jesse Fisher

The darkened tan wooden room lay in a state of quiet as the occupants were wrapped in a sheet cuddled close together. The dark navy wolf’s ear began to twitch. While still asleep it moved in the direction of the sounds of the room.

The slow breathing of him and his draconequus mate came first, along with the slight whistle from his mate’s beak. Next came the sounds of the monitors from their children’s room. Something they had gotten after they found their eldest had intangibility.

The far off sounds of a door opening and closing were assumed to be the nanny doing one last check before she too slithered off to rest in her new room.

So the ear stopped it’s movement and the wolf let the rhythm of the night take him back to the realm of sleep.

—-

He shot straight up after who knows how long, his mind did a quick round up on what he could hear and see.

His mate was awake and wore the same expression of surprise and worry. Her eyes to see more of the room even in this darkness and his own night vision.

The cries of the kids could be heard as well as the sounds of slithering. Both of them looked to the door connected to the bar. They noticed it seemed ajar yet still held strong.

Both of them woke up and directed it into parent mode and whatever comes through that door is dead.

Then the door opens to find the hybrid child of their bosses, happily ignorant of the pain it just caused the household.

ClockworkPigeonz
ClockworkPigeonz
8 months ago

“Drowning the Silence.”
By: ClockworkPigeonz

The warehouse hums around him. Buzzes like a hive. Lines of ones and zeros zipping through cords, pinging off radar dishes, and hurling themselves into space and back. Server fans whirl. The heater kicks on with a whuff. Simple mechanical white-noise against the harsh silence of snow.

Luke blinks blurrily at the row of monitors, watching as the download bar slowly creeps forward. Another update for Fyrefly’s software, written and rewritten late at night when sane people sleep.

The sound of a key rattling in the back door makes his hair stand on end. He’s halfway to his plasma rifle- lupine growl rising in his throat when the door swings wide…

It’s just his cousin. Cursing at the ice clinging to her tail feathers and stamping the snow from her boots.

Luke lets out a sigh

“You’re still up?” Ember asks, not sounding surprised.

“Always.” He huffs. Luke doesn’t sleep much anymore. It’s gotten better now that he’s moved to the warehouse. Better now that the hum of machinery somewhat matches Cardinal Directions’ engines.

She doesn’t respond as she staggers past him and into the kitchenette. Golem, Luke’s house-gryphon rouses with a quiet ‘murrrph’ as she rummages through the cabinets.

“Cider”

“Did I ask what you wanted?”

“You were about to.”

“True.” She laughs.

A comfortable silence falls over them for a few minutes before he dares to break it. “Bad dream?”

She pauses, the rattle of the kettle on the stove-top the only noise between them. Ember turns, not quite looking him in the eye. “Yep. You?”

“It’s snowing- power might go out…needed to be awake.” She nods, understanding immediately. He’s glad because he doesn’t know if he can quite articulate what might happen if he wakes up and the warehouse is silent. As silent as it was when Cardinal Directions’ engines stopped…at least before the screaming. Before the Falling. And the water.

And the Silence…

But tonight…there won’t be any silence. There will be the hum of his computers and the laughter of his cousin as the snow gathers outside.

WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
8 months ago

“Night of the Yanari”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane

Lien sighed as she sat on her futon. This new hot spring inn was something she could get used to. A nice private place to soak away the worries of the day. A hearty meal of freshwater fish, local vegetables, and a healthy portion of rice. The futon was nice and soft, too. If it wasn’t for the host’s insistence, she probably wouldn’t have stayed the night. But he was nice enough to include the room for free. How could she not take the offer? It was better than waking up to a chicken trying to make a nest in her hair again.

Lien laid down and closed her eyes. It was almost like a cloud beneath her arms and her legs. She struggled to get back up to blow out the lantern and, once back on her futon, she fell into a sea of black. The falling was endless. It felt as if heavenly spirits slowly massaged all of the fatigue of the day away. Lien hoped it would last forever. This was—

CRASH!

Lien awoke. She rushed over to the area where the lantern was. Suddenly, the entire room shook. The akuma fell to the floor and hit her head on something. Must have been the table. Dazed, she stopped moving and reached out all around her. Nothing. Lien cursed to herself. Suddenly, she heard a little chuckle behind her to the left. The akuma dived, only to meet an empty tatami mat and another blow to the head.

Wait. There was only one table in this room. How could she have hit her head on a table twice in two different areas of the room? That’s when she heard shuffling. Lien closed her eyes, took in a deep breath, and locked her hands into the kai mudra. The shuffling became clearer: the sounds of tiny feet. Lien calmly walked over to where the moving table was and picked up the lantern, casting light into the room. She opened her eyes to see a number of oni only about three inches tall carrying mallets and clubs. Pests. Great.

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
8 months ago

The Noise from the Forest
by Carrie (Glaceon373) (please give my spot to IsaDragon)

He could hear it every night.

He didn’t like it. Like a cricket, but slower, deeper, yet quieter. More sinister. More anxiety-inducing.

Why was it always so anxiety-inducing? It made his stomach churn, his shoulders tense. Every night he wrapped his pillow around his head, trying to shut it out.

He didn’t like it. And one night, he shot out of bed, fed up with it all and ready to do something about it.

He grabbed his boots, a hat, and a flashlight, then threw a coat over his pajamas. On his way out the door, he picked up his father’s cane, gripping it like a club. He stepped out into the night.

He had no experience tracking sounds, but after a few minutes he started towards the tree line, when he was sure that was where it was coming from.

Every few paces the sound got louder. But as it did that, the sinister edge began to ease away. In fact, it started to sound less and less like a dark cricket buzz and more like… music?

He fought his way through a particularly dense bush, squeezing the cane with white knuckles. When he finally got his head through to the other side, he gasped.

The bush concealed a structure akin to a concert hall, but only about the size of a tree stump. In fact, it most likely was a carved-up tree stump, with the rows and rows of tiny empty seats sticking up from the floor, patterned with wood grain. The seats cascaded down towards the stage, a level part of the stump with no curtains or lights, just a place to perform.

And, indeed, someone was performing. A somewhat-humanoid figure, about three inches tall, using its four hands to play an instrument that resembled a harp, made of broken branches and spider silk. Its tiny fingers, six on each hand, plucked the strings with an elegant touch, the sound reverberating out in a smooth buzz.

The performer glanced up at their intruder. “Hello, young one. Would you care to be my audience on this fine night?”

MasaCur
MasaCur
8 months ago

An Unexpected Midnight Visitor
By MasaCur

Cristian stirred awake. Footsteps could be heard in the hallway. It had to be Ryan going to the bathroom. He shut his eyes, letting himself fall back asleep.

His eyes slowly opened again. The footsteps didn’t stop at the bathroom. And they didn’t sound like his housemate. They were more deliberate, as if trying to sneak around the house without making that much noise. Ryan certainly didn’t care enough to be stealthy in his own home.

Cristian slowly slid out of bed and grabbed his phone off the nightstand. He looked around for something to use as a weapon, just in case things went badly.

His eyes fixed on the ironing board in the corner. The clothes iron would work. Cristian grabbed it and snuck out of the room.

Cristian moved down the hallway, staying close to the walls in order to stay as quiet as possible. There was a light from the kitchen, so he crept as silently as he could to its entrance.

Someone was rummaging around in the refrigerator, but they were crouched down behind the door, and he couldn’t see them. Cristian weighed his options. This wasn’t a very professional home invasion if they stopped to get themselves some food.

“I’m about to call the police,” Cristian said behind the corner from the kitchen. “I’m also armed and will defend myself. It’s best if you leave now.”

“Shit!” a woman’s voice cursed.

Cristian poked his head around the corner. He knew that voice.

Erykah was standing in the kitchen, dressed in panties and one of Ryan’s t-shirts. She was holding a slice of pizza with a bite out of it.

“Hey Cristian,” she said sheepishly.

“What are you doing here?”

Erykah sighed. “Well, uh, Ryan and I were out on our date a little longer than we thought we’d be. So we thought it would be better if I crashed here, instead of him driving me all the way to Del Mar, and then coming back.”

“You and Ryan are dating?” Cristian asked incredulously.

“Dammit! Please don’t tell anyone else at work!”

Lari B. Haven
Lari B. Haven
8 months ago

The Package
By Larissa (Lari B. Haven)

The sterile fluorescent lamps buzzed in the Agency’s hideout. He was safe for now. Agent K stared at the skinny little human, sleeping on a worn out pillow, inside the glass enclosure. Their toddler face showed a calm that only a child could.

They had provided little information about the package. They only reassured that K’s team needed to recover the package from the illegal lab they were growing it. And all personnel were to be eliminated.

When K and his team had arrived, things were already off. It wasn’t an extraction mission anymore. It was a clean up mission.

The lab was ransacked, tables flipped, broken glass and blood everywhere. The most terrifying thing was the soon to be corpses that were fused with the building. Still screaming through holes in the walls, or pools of black goo on the ground.

As they advanced over the floors, the silence grew with the darkness in the building. The shocking, grim scenes of earlier were still there, but all the personnel were dead for much longer than the others. As a shock wave hit all the people in the place.

When they arrived on the last floor, nobody could see anything, even with night-vision. K’s team aimed their guns at the random spurts of sound. Trying to cover ground, and find the package. As the giggles grew closer, every single one of his teammates went silent.

A single lamp buzzed into light as a wobbly kid limped in K’s direction. It was the package; it did all of that. He tried to pull the trigger, but couldn’t move his fingers. He dropped the gun.

The little one extended his tiny hands and asked to be cradled in his arms.

“Daddy! Found you!” they said, hugging the agent.

Light shone over them. In the dark of the shadows cast, glowing eyes appeared with a wide, unnerving grin.

The lights flickerd as the agent paid attention to them turning in the makeshift bed. The shadow eyes blinked with the lamp over K’s back. He was their caretaker now.

Last edited 8 months ago by Lari B. Haven
TheAssassin
TheAssassin
8 months ago

Night
By TheAssassin

The harbinger of darkness, the villain of unknowable evil, the looming threat that brings wrath and ruin -the night – pulsed to the beat of a boy’s broken heart. It pulsed to the beat of sorrow, suffering, and sadness. It pulsed to the beat of protection, shielding, and health. It pulsed against its own rhythm in its desperate attempt to help that sad boy.

The night saw what few else could. It knew the world in all its detail. It saw the ants scurrying in the sand and the tides raging in the sea. It saw the mighty mountains standing ever-stalwart, and it saw the seeds of flowers gently dancing in the wind.

It also saw the horrors that unfolded when it touched the world. It knew the creatures that lurked under its shadow. It heard every scream and felt every wound. It felt that terrible sensation of claws ripping through tender flesh, that burning, visceral fire that paralyzed the mind.

Those beasts always hunted, seeking their next victim. The night ached for those slain by its denizens. It did not ask for such creatures, yet they always came.

Always.

They came now, hunting the young boy whose heart beat in tandem with the night. The night heard the cracks of branches, the rustling of leaves, and the salivating growls that preceded an attack. These things the night knew well.

Lightning splintered the dark sky, and the beasts pressed forward, the lone boy in their sight. They circled their prey.

The boy cried as he heard, but could not see, his predators. A final tragedy for the boy, a final cruel act to conclude his play. He clutched a small teddy bear and knelt in the storm, awaiting his execution.

The night rumbled with a vengeful fury.

“NO MORE!”

Raining bolts of electricity smote the beasts, their anguished howls mixed with the night’s own suffering, for he felt their pain too.

Each agonizing bolt shredded the night’s soul.

But the night saw that the boy was safe.

That was all that mattered.

That was all that ever mattered.

Last edited 8 months ago by TheAssassin
Isa Dragon
Isa Dragon
8 months ago

A Brief Expedition on Discoveries of Shipboard Living, Long Term.
By IsaDragon

There it was again.

Quin put down her pad, whiskers twitching. She was a scientist, first and foremost, even if she was now working on smaller projects than that ice moon. Living shipboard wasn’t that much different to a sealed and isolated research station, but with the added bonus that every time planetside was someplace new. She had a whole set of notes just on observations of shipboard compared to station living, and this new discovery might need to be added onto it.

Something was making noise in the walls.

Planetside, that would be settling foundations or insects. Spirits, perhaps, even though she had yet to find evidence of any. Perhaps today would be the day she found a… gremlin, she believed it was in English? How marvelous!

Quin tucked her notes away and started opening the vent cover. The hunt for glorious knowledge begins!

~~~

Contrary to popular belief, spaceship vents—vents in general, really—were quite dangerous. They were made to distribute air that was heated, sterilized, and oxygenated, not to be crawled in. The pipes themselves were tight and smushed in between all the spaces where machinery wasn’t, often taking tight turns and going vertical in places. They were certainly not large enough for most sentient species to fit into. Fortunately for this expedition, Quin was a meerpine, one of the smallest known space-faring species.

These vents were much cleaner than she expected for a human vessel; humans certainly couldn’t fit in them to clean them. She could hypothesise on that later.

The sound was loud enough to be clear now, the whirring of a motor. Something scuttled along just in front of her nose.

Oh! Oh that was delightful! And so clever! A teeny little robot who mopped up all the dust!

Quin tucked her paws out of the way as it passed the corner, the rounded corner, rounded so that it could climb the walls! It must be magnetic. She followed it up the vent, tiny dewclaws catching on nearly invisible seams to haul her back up. This was fascinating, she had to know where this went!

Constellasphere
Constellasphere
8 months ago

“Songbird”
By Constellasphere

The cool July breeze, carrying many nostalgic scents, brushed against his face and roused him from a deep sleep.

Nero’s eyes opened lazily, bleary for a moment as they cleared and he recognized where he was. From the window beside the bed, he could hear a vehicle pass by on the country road this secluded motel was connected to. Crickets and frogs and all the creatures of the night were calling out, telling those of their kind listening of their existence and desires. Somewhere behind the motel, cloaked by the shadows of the trees, the faint trickle of a flowing creak could be heard.

None of things were within his focus though.

Carefully, as to not wake the other being resting beside him just yet, Nero rolled over onto his right side away from the window. The outside world seemed to disappear, fade away, as he gazed at Saor’s sleeping face.

As they traveled further and further from the city, Nero could see that the dark bags and worried lines on the Avian’s face had vanished. He looked and felt more relaxed, it was obvious no matter how Saor struggled with his emotions.

From slightly parted lips, a whispery cooing came out each time the man breathed out. As his chest and shoulders slightly rose with each in and exhale, the breeze from the window ruffled his feathers a bit. It was soft and almost inaudible, but the rustling reminded Nero of driving through the forest; he could imagine it now and felt his heart swell with love and all the possibilities of the future.

A small murmur came from Saor as he shifted a bit closer, his wings stretching out for a second before falling limp once more.

Nero couldn’t help but grin stupidly like a lovesick teenager; no matter how many times he’d wake at dusk to see his Songbird cuddling close to him, hear those little sounds he made while sleeping peacefully for once, he’d never get tired of them.

Though their journey would continue again tonight, he would wait just a bit longer to wake Saor.

RVMPLSTLTSKN
RVMPLSTLTSKN
8 months ago

Of Silence and Darkness
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)

There is nothing so lonesome as silence and darkness paired. It’s like a dance, gentle and slow; a cruel prank of gods who want nothing more than anonymity and perspective; a celestial movement with so little time, it seems like nothing happened.

In the darkness and silence, moods flare. People do not handle absence well. Some grow meditative or tired, others angry or scared and louden to fill their sense of absence with distraction, longing to avoid feeling insignificant or haunted.

A ghost can be haunted too, by memories and traumas of a life once lived or nearly lived. These things are physical manifestations on the soul, memories are connections of the brain—traumas too—but so much more the scars on the skin, that most sensitive of organs. Some revenants are released from their charnel hindrances in death—limbs reinvigorated, tongues loosened, eyes opened—but some are not.

Vienas found herself awoken in her body. She thought she had given up her ghost, but soon knew her mistake. She had only just breathed her last breath and she felt her arthritic joints fall away from her control and harden in death’s vigor. She was still blind, still in the temple, still stuck in a broken body, waiting to be released. She wanted desperately what she was promised by those old texts. The fate of souls was well known to the upper priesthood. It was they, after all, who had fashioned the gods of Sostine and kept them fed, but Vienas had never experienced it herself. How could she? She had always been alive.

She waited in blindness and silence as her charnel cage began to decompose. She had a long time to think. She was still blind and the only sounds that pierced her dead ears were those of memories. She came to understand why some priests asked for skyburials or immolation. Impatience.

Time was what she needed though. She had much work to do on herself, memories to forgive and ideas to consider. When her corpse, now salt-wet and fish-gnawed, finally released her, she went looking for Padas.