Magic in The Slaughter Chronicles.

Demon Tooth was the first Slaughter Chronicles short story I ever published (originally titled Demon Moon back in 2019) because I wanted to share Squee’s backstory and explore how magic works in my imaginary world.

Usually humans with supernatural abilities can do what they do because they have Void Creature DNA somewhere in their genetic makeup. Even though most Mages look human on the outside because their Void genetics is usually extremely diluted, they are still classified as non-human threats by HADES and Sanctum.

I don’t specifically say it in this story but I hint at one of the characters having a Mage in his family so he himself might have had special talents that helped open the portal.

This story specifically deals with opening a portal into the Void Dimension, something that doesn’t necessarily require a Mage to do. Any normal human can acquire Mage talents and perform feats of “magic” if they have the right tools. Void Creature bones and blood can open portals into the Void dimension and, for example, give a normal squishy human the ability to see the future. Or one version of the future. But there’s a price. There always is.

There aren’t necessarily “spells” or words of power in these universes but there are a lot of rituals that revolve around sacrifice. As the great Terry Pratchett once wrote, “[T]he very oldest stories are, sooner or later, about blood.” (Hogfather) In order for a non-mage character to perform these rituals or acquire Mage talents, they have to pay for it. Sometimes they can use their own blood, their own life essence, and hope they don’t die in the process. But big rituals, big tasks, require a lot of blood.

Which is why the big rituals rarely get performed and if some idiot tries, they usually don’t do it right. How do I know? The world hasn’t exploded yet…YET.

So, what exactly is Squee?

Squee is a Void Creature that toddled in to our dimension when the four teenage friends in this story opened up a portal into the Void dimension. Now, this story is called Demon Tooth because *spoiler alert* there is a Void Creature artifact that is, yep, you guessed it, a tooth. Is it Squee’s tooth? It was a pretty big tooth in the story and Squee is the size of a soccer ball…was Squee just attracted to the portal and got caught accidentally? Or was Squee the actual creature the four friends were trying to summon and something go horribly wrong?

You’ll have to read the rest of the series to find out. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish more stories for you soon.

You can find Demon Tooth in my short fiction collection: Pulling Teeth and Other Stories of the Slaughter Chronicles. You can get a copy of this collection for free if you sign up for my mailing list OR you can buy it at your favorite ebook retailer for 0.99 cents.

The Librarian

a Short Story by Jessa Forest

Download your free PDF version here.

The big table makes you look smaller than you are. Like a little morsel, a macaroon, a petit four alone on a dinner plate. You twitch, fidget. You curl your spine protectively over your phone screen despite the towers of books that surround you. Ponderous tombs of science, philosophy, and madness.

The World Atlas Extraordinaire sits on a stand older than this building next to you, propped open to the Pacific Islands, resplendently corralled by the cartography of the currents, dancing whorls of sacred scarification.

Each time the door slides open your eyes dart around in your skill like scared rabbits. You’re looking toward the door now; the shining glass, the herald of the morning sun. You are waiting for someone.

Continue reading “The Librarian: a dark fantasy short story”

(I’ve edited and re-published this post from last year because I wanted to add more pictures and remember a fun road trip while I am sheltering in place. I hope all of you who read this are safe and healthy and I wish nothing but the best for you during these difficult times. I love you all!)

Last Summer (as I write this) I drove down to Mena, Arkansas with the intention of hiking in the morning at Queen Whilamena State Park and driving around in the afternoon exploring the teeny-tiny towns surrounding the state park.

The drive down was really pleasant. But then it started raining. Thankfully, by the time I got to the Queen Whilamena Lodge and Restaurant the rain had stopped BUT there was fog EVERYWHERE!

I had not checked the weather on my phone. I didn’t even think about the possibility of anything but clear skies and humid air (Summer in Arkansas, y’all). But that is not what I got.

There was a fleeting moment where my heart sank and I thought, “I drove all this way and now I have to go home…”

But then I took another look at the fog, which was literally getting thicker by the minute and I thought, “HOLY SHIT THIS IS PERFECT WEATHER FOR A HORROR NOVEL!”

I mean look at that! That’s amazing!

If I’d gone on a “normal” day I’d have hiked, got some nice pictures of trees and buildings, and gone home with nice things to think about but this–the fog, the rain–gave my setting character. Or my setting looked at me and said, “Acknowledge that I am a force of nature!” while slapping me in the face.

And there was this really nifty fungus on the trail that was all glistening and fleshy. I almost walked face first into a MASSIVE spider webs trying to photograph it.

A new beginning to Havoc’s Moon bloomed in my mind. I got to make rough stage blocking for an action scene and took pictures of this one specific outcropping from multiple angles for reference later. I was so inspired IT WASN’T EVEN FUNNY!

So the moral of this story here is think about what your setting is like in bad weather. You never know what will happen. But also, it’s important to visit, if you can, where your book is set because you’ll get to think about concrete details you may not have considered from your chair at your writing desk.

And I learned that my main character’s favorite food is not pizza like I thought it was, but fried green beans.

You never know what’s going to happen when you go out on location.

Good luck and happy writing!

Matsuo Basho: Narrow Road to the Interior, Sam Hamill translation, 1991

Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge: I Love Artists: New and Selected Poems, 2006

Frank Bidart: In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-90, 1990

Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems, 1969

Jenny Boully: THE BODY: AN ESSAY, 2007

Jenny Boully: [one love affair], 2006

Ana Božičević: Stars of the Night Commute, 2009

Rebecca Brown: Excerpts from a Family Medical Dictionary, 2005

Melissa Buzzeo: What Began Us, 2007

Anne Carson: Autobiography of Red, 1998

C. P. Calvary: The Collected Poems of C. P. Calvary: A New Translation, Aliki Barnstone translation, 2006

Paul Celan: Poems of Paul Celan, Michael Hamburger translation, 1989

Emily Dickinson: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, 1993

Dolores Dorantes: sexoPUROsexoVELOZ and Septiembre, Jen Hofer translation, 2008

C. S. Giscombe: Giscome Road, 1998

Renee Gladman: Juice, 2000

Marilyn Hacker: Winter Numbers, 1994

Kimiko Hahn: The Narrow Road to the Interior, 2006

Christian Hawkey: Ventrakl, 2010

Langston Hughes: Selected Poems of Langston Hughes, 1990

Richard Hugo: The Triggering Town, 1979

Bhanu Kapil: Humanimal: A Project for Future Children, 2009

Bhanu Kapil: Schizophrene, 2011

Carole Maso: Break Every Rule: Essays on Language, Longing & Moments of Desire, 2000

Eugenio Montale: Mottetti: Poems of Love, Dana Gioia translation, 1990

Pablo Neruda: Odes to Common Things, Ken Krabbenhoft translation, 1994

Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories, 1971

Frank O’Hara: Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara, edited by Donald Allen, 1974

Jena Osman: The Network, 2010

Sylvia Plath: The Collected Poems, edited by Ted Hughes, 1981

Claudia Rankine: Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, 2004

Arthur Rimbaud: A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat, Louise Varese translation, 1945

Muriel Rukeyser: Muriel Rukeyser: Selected Poems, edited by Adrienne Rich, 2004

Sappho: Sappho: A Garland, The Poems and Fragments of Sappho, Jim Powell translation, 1993

Selah Saterstrom: The Meat and Spirit Plan, 2007

Juliana Spahr: This Connection of Everyone With Lungs, 2005

Juliana Spahr: The Transformation, 2007

Jane Sprague: The Port of Los Angeles, 2009

Gertrude Stein: Reflections on the Atomic Bomb, 1973

Wislawa Szymborska: View With a Grain of Sand, Stanislaw Baranczak and CLare Cavanagh translation, 1995

Tomas Tranströmer: the great enigma, Robin Fulton translation, 2006

Marina Tsvetayeva: Selected Poems of Marina Tsvetayeva, Elaine Feinstein translation, 1987

James Wright: Collected Poems, 1971

C. D. Wright: One With Others: a little book of her days, 2010

Movies:

All About My Mother: Pedro Almodóvar, 1999

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Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

Shakespeare class 2005, Lynchburg, Virginia. The girl sitting in front of me was furiously scribbling into a green marbled (graph paper) composition notebook. I asked her what she was writing and she said she was writing a novel. I was totally impressed because I had tried writing a novel by hand in high school and I totally failed.

She went on to say that she was going to finish it at the end of the month because she was writing it for National Novel Writing Month. I had never heard of that before. I wanted in. She said it wasn’t too late for me to start.

Continue reading “My NaNoWriMo Backstory”