I have just completed a short story (23 pages, 12 point font, 1.5 line spaces) that I intend to submit for publication in the first week of March 2015, after revision with the help of test readers. Globe Without Goodbye is a modern fantasy story of an unintended journey to a mystical land, completed by a 21st century office worker. He meets a transformed human and a force to be reckoned with on this journey and brings a trophy back with him. If you would like to be part of the test audience, please let me know; I’ll be linking to it on my Longer Material page eventually, regardless of whether or not it gets published. Here’s a teaser to pique your interest!
Jeffrey could see from across the cave, just barely, that the doll with the glass eyes was sitting on a flat piece of rock at waist height. He walked toward it, curious, and noticed that it had joints that allowed it to bend at its knees, to balance on the edge of the piece of rock. It was about a foot long, and its body was the same dark, dull tan of the shadowed rocks that made up the interior of the cave. Jeffrey picked his way through the rocks on the floor of the cave to get a closer look at the doll.
It was briefly hard to find again, because he stood between the doll and the light that had been reflecting from the twin pinpoints of its glass eyes. He could see those eyes were clear, uncolored, and they protruded slightly, curving out of the flat surface of the doll’s face. While the doll’s shape and proportions were clearly human, its body had been shaped androgynously. It had no clothing on. Its joints were articulated at wrist, elbow, shoulder, waist, hips, knees, ankles, neck and chin. Its hands and feet were correctly shaped, but blocky, with no fingers or toes. It had no nose, navel, ears, or genitals. It looked like its head could rotate from side to side. It had an articulated jaw, but its mouth was closed. What it reminded Jeffrey of was the sort of tool visual artists use to help accurately sketch the proportions and movement limitations of human beings. That type of doll can be moved from pose to pose, and it did look like this doll had been posed by someone as sitting with its calves dangling over the ledge formed by a rocky protrusion of the cave. Jeffrey wondered if he could move the doll into a different pose, perhaps one of action or dancing. So he set his wet rock down on the floor of the cave and picked the doll up, to reposition it.
Jeffrey couldn’t see exactly how the doll’s joints were linked together, perhaps some sort of metal wire, but he could tell by the weight, the temperature, the feel of the doll in his hands that it was made out of linked stones, probably the same type of stone as the ones littering the cave floor around him. He lifted the doll by gripping it around its upper arms and as he lifted it, the doll’s legs swung loose and limp. The stones clinked against each other audibly as the legs moved in their joint sockets, and when Jeffrey shifted his hands so that he was holding the doll on its back, the doll’s arms also swiveled, obeying the simple and inexorable law of gravity.
As Jeffrey studied this human abstraction, lying poised in his two hands before him, the doll’s jaw clicked open. A voice issued from it, tinny, thin, and unearthly: “Mind my skeleton!”