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Unbetaed conceptual crack I have to somehow get out of my head.

Title: The Case of the Haunted Detective

Although I have in many opportunities commented on my friend's talent for disguise, I have kept from my public notes the true depth of his theatrical skills. Of all the characters he has ever "composed" for the benefit of both those who would consult and those who must suffer him, the most elaborate is without a doubt his well-known persona as a coldly rational empiricist guided solely by the evidence of his physical senses.

Granting his almost superhumanly keen intellect, vast erudition, and natural perceptiveness, he is most emphatically not the machine-like calculator that my tales have, at his request, so forcefully delineated.

Because it annoys the Ghost, my friend, that's why, is the only explanation I have been given, and if I must judge by the thunderous visage of the specter only the two of us can see — and who will only talk to him — there is some truth to this. There's no love lost between the deceased king and his ever-delaying avenger, despite the terrible strength of their sworn oath: once my friend his *sure* of the Ghost's good-will by his supernatural aid in the lawful solution of other crimes, and not a day before, will he take justice by his hand and slay the man he wordlessly fears is his true father by blood.

I believe my friend will never willing tackle this final problem, and I think even the somewhat obtuse Ghost has finally understood it and shifted the focus of his hatred to his own son. He subjects him to such horrid invective every night that only the enforced sleep of opium grants my friend some bad semblance of respite. This would be worry enough and more than enough for one who cares for him as much as I do, but we've been informed minutes ago that she (only one of that gender, other than his mother, seems to enter his thoughts) has taken her own life. I don't know if this is the Ghost's doing, or simply another tragic incident in my friend's life, so intimately bound to crime and blood, but I fear some dark game is afoot.

In front of me stands the Ghost, not caring to attempt to read my words as I write them or to hide his disdain. Is it my own fear and hatred tricking my eyes, or do his ghostly lips carry the ghost of an smile? Has he seen future murder with the certainty with which he has proved to us a thousand times he can see past ones?

I don't know what my friend's next actions will be. It is at times like this when I wish his mind truly had what it affects to in public, a detachment bordering on madness. All I can do is prepare my weapon and be ready for his call.

.finis.

Original fic: The Voice of Things (PG13)

She had liked the illustrated book so much much she told you right away she had prayed to get it for Christmas, alone in her bedroom where nobody but God could hear. You didn't mention her teddy bear had probably heard her and the toy company then sold the information to an advertiser who had offered you the book with an extraordinary discount. If she was happy, that was what mattered.

You never realized the bear sometimes talked back, not until the scandal made the news. It turned out it always could, it just had waited until its sensors told it kid and toy were alone. The license that came with the bear's software made this "user bonding" legal; the company went bankrupt anyway.

But nothing's ever forgotten if there's money in remembering, and sometimes you're almost sure things talk to your daughter not with their standard voices, but with one she remembers and trusts.

So you talked to her about cookies and the cloud, at least what you understand of it. She nodded along to your explanation, unsure, asking nothing. Afterwards, you wondered what things would tell her when she asked them.

.finis.

Yuletide reveal

I quite enjoyed writing this, besides/because of the self-creeping-out aspect of it.

The Long Summoning (2411 words) by marcelo
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Cthulhu Mythos - H. P. Lovecraft
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Additional Tags: Misses Clause Challenge
Summary:

Time isn't real. There is only what you need, and what it costs.

Drabble: War in the Blood (PG13)

(I won't lie: this one I had fun writing)

* * *

The guy is moving inhumanly fast, so you just wave your gun around without aiming.

You didn't become Detective by being ignorant; you know history. How retrovirally enhanced soldiers became an standard part of war. How a generation and counting of high unemployment pushed many veterans to poverty, and some to crime. Former soldiers, others try to help.

You don't know which ones are worse. At least the younger ones don't wear costumes.

In a few seconds your gun decides that distances, angles, and trajectories are just right, and fires a round into the caped man.

Drabble: The Companion (PG13)

Vague trigger warning: There's nothing triggery in a literal reading of the story (for the usually cheerful parameters of what I write). However, besides being a rather depressing scenario on its own, it's also a transparent, heavy-handed, and only half-informed metaphor for something even more depressing, sometimes triggery, and absolutely non-fictional.

Bottom line, this might be upsetting, although not through any particular skill of mine, and I'm more open than usual to being told that I got it wrong and should throw it away. (Or maybe the metaphor is only in my head, in which case I'll be both happy and sad.)

ETA: Reposted with minor edits.

* * *

(Story under the cut.)Collapse )
Title: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Rating: PG13
Length: One hundred words.
Summary: The quality of mercy is not strained.

My brother has been isolated for twenty years; some others longer than that. The drugs are the worst: they keep them from becoming insane. Prisoners cannot leave their cells, not even into their own minds.

Second worst is the world-class medical care. They get treatments they would be unable to afford outside prison. Unless you have looked into how good they are, how fast they are improving, you won't understand the sophisticated cruelty in that.

We don't ask for their life sentences to be commuted — we just keep begging for them to be allowed to die.

.finis.

It's longer than six words, though.

"There, there," I lie to the children, "it's not the end of the world."

A non-original non-fic

(Tried to write - and ended up with this. It's... ugh. I guess I'm not in a place where the world feels particularly rife with agency.)

This story begins with a book.Collapse )

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