Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Killing Moon

P   R   E   V   I   O   U   S   L   Y      I    N 
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S
He buried the pleading in his head.  Vicky’s woe wasn’t allowed to exist.  Not in his world, not anymore.  There isn’t even a V, he thought, in my alphabet there is only the letter S, and S is for survival. 
Steph’s departure served his hypothesis; her leaving for the kitchen provided proof of a swelling pride, a quality synonymous with her new role, a character under his direction.  Can’t be in the room whilst I read your stuff, eh, Steph? Thought Spiderfingers.  Good.  Lovely to see your ego bloom.
Spiderfingers inspected the writing pad nestled in his hands, the jottings of red biro delivered the start of a stalker story.  A vulnerable pretty young thing raped and stabbed by some lone nut.  Predictable, pedestrian, and it’ll win her no fans among the Feminists, he reckoned.  Steph’s writing what she thinks will impress me – that much is clear.  Still, he noticed glimmers of intrigue shine through the text.  She almost has a handle on my voice, he decided, ruffling his hair, thoroughly unable to focus on her scribbling, not whilst the grey-skinned creature stretched out across the ceiling tiles.
Rooenn is the face of terror and his glistening, angular body can manifest anywhere I choose.
It would only take a thought to provide the Terrorsmith’s ignition, to have him crawl down the wall and dice Milo the Walrus into blood-soaked pieces.  The chaos god’s minion, that horrific extension of darkest will.  Rooenn bore glowing claws and gnashing teeth, a chain mummifying the straggled-haired head.  Rooenn the Terrorsmith, under the thrall of a drunken god.  And tonight, he’s hungry.  S is – after all – for sustenance. 
Spiderfingers resisted butchering the dozing Milo.  Instead, he sent the Terrorsmith out into the world’s darkness, to shadow a drunken woman, stumbling through Brent Cross.  She slurred at no one, staggering in her broken heel as she reached out to a lamppost for support.  The horizon buoyed and bobbed from all those cocktails.  Unluckily, this drunk had taken the wrong bus home, and now she’d become lost in North London with no one to blame but herself.
The dead phone battery.
Her ache from a two mile trek in ‘sitting down’ shoes.  
Her stilt-high stilettos being murder to travel in became news with up-to-the-minute coverage.  The world’s reply included a shut up, that it had kids: “It’s a school night.”  She’d taken a short cut down an ill-lit underpass.  Well, they always do, because the victim is a species that breeds in the dark.  She couldn’t fight Rooenn – she just spewed all over him.  But vomit turned Rooenn on. Vomit turned his master on, who badly wished he was there to stick his cock in the potato chunks and cocktail phlegm.
“Suck it off,” he’d rasp, “suck it all off.” The promise to let her live? A lie.  He needed her like an advert desired the perfect placing.  The bitch is a way to make a living, he thought: “I’m the new Starbucks.  You’re gonna put me on every high street in the known world.”
Miles from what the media would label The Brent Cross Horror, Spiderfingers sensed Steph returning to the room.  The room in that office block where he’d slumped into the luxurious black leather swivel chair, eyes glazed, mouth slightly open.  His retreat to the shell of his homeless body granted Steph her lone audience member.  But really, his consideration poured over his victim like cling-film expertly wrapped over fresh meat.  The dead woman lay there broken; a carmine covered tangle at the mercy of Rooenn’s industrious detached carving.  No mere cadaver – she’d become much more.  This woman, no longer a fool in torn tights swilling in alcohol, but now recast in her new life, a reincarnation more billboard than mammal.  He wondered what the top brass of Scotland Yard would make of this carnage, especially the poor girl’s mutilated face.  The raw, blistering gashes engraved into her forehead with something sharper than any knife:
Light filtered through shades, and the pink blush of dawn yanked at his peripheral vision, whispering of morning’s stealthy approach, the cheep-cheep of birds subduing his blood-hunger, dark thoughts subsiding under the steady brightening of the land … Rooenn … nowhere to be seen.
“When you first told me about Babushka doll lit, I was really interested.” said Steph. “I just feel that maybe you’re trying too hard to impress me.”
“And your slasher story isn’t supposed to wow me?” he replied.  Steph flinched on her corner of Milo’s desk. 
“How about a story without the gimmick?” He said nothing, although he desired to talk about his past life with Dilf culture, the dependence on oral storytelling as the prime way of preserving societal identity.  Or he could offer a chapter on his time hidden away from the world.  The derelict council flat, naked and afraid – a shaken creature, the stink of his own making engulfing him as he shivered afraid, terrified of the supervillain his mind put together.
An archenemy born to entertain his ego.
Telling her about Doctor Chimera is completely out of the question, he decided.  Vulnerability would undermine so much hard work, and yet, he yearned to tell someone. “And that’s another thing,” said Steph, “What do I call you anyway? Are you Rumple or Spiderfingers? Or John?” Spiderfingers shuddered and ran his hand over his face: “Listen,” he said, “I’ll give you one last tale, yeah?  No cheap thrills this time, I promise.  Fancy something, flash?”
Steph nodded.
“Far beneath the hub of my entrenched and bottomless sleep, in the strangest scene of fire-lit dreaming, we gather in a circle, sitting around something burning in the centre.  It’s not wood.  We listen to its story about faith and drive – an ancient story.” Steph slipped down from the corner of Milo’s desk to rest with her knees supporting her chin. “A fairy-tale and I don’t remember why, but when the formless thing in the fire has finished telling it, the idols present always roll around, waking The Oma with their laughter.  Dearest listener, in this account you’ll discover the length and breadth of a captive god’s jealousy.  You’ll find out that even against his own soul, the immensity of his twisted hate is boundless.” Steph surrendered her disbelief.  She became a fly caught up in the strong silk of his voice: “In some circles, The Fate of Flare translates as a comedy.  I only hear the madness and the tragedy.  If you are human you’re not expected to laugh, but if the urge takes you, please, feel free.”
The Fate of Flare
For an eternity now, Rao’s burning spectre – the one they call Flare – has battled against fatigue and flown the cosmos, searching for The Pale Faced Lady.  His quest has been long and fruitless.  Some say he must stop his hunting, but he can’t.  The pursuit is his life and will surely be his death. 
The nightmares! Oh, the premonitions of his princess, his King’s favourite sibling, all dressed in silver and wreathed in black.  He sees her desperate storm eyes scan the horizon for an escape.  The tundra around her is overrun with foreign dangers; each menace using trickery, many hiding behind familiar and distant faces.  Each threat growing larger as it feeds upon her secret fears.  Poor Princess Luna – that’s L.U.N.A, Luna – she’s learnt her lesson.  If she escapes this dim region, you can bet she’ll never again press upon dusty doors or stalk fleeting footsteps.  Luna is as clever as she is lonely; of course she knows the entity chasing her cannot be Flare.  She sometimes sees the faker, a distant spark, his flaming hair flowing, just out of reach.
… In the morning, safe from the dreams of proud, judging gods, I’ll awake in the reality that is London.  Sometimes I cry as I stare up, straight into the beams of the new rising sun, the moon’s welcome predator.  And what about Flare? He’s hunting on, unaware that he’s the butt of an old cosmic joke.  He’s nothing but a fleeting amusement for Rao, himself dying and diseased, alone and friendless.  Rao – the poor bastard – he’s a troubled deity, one who tells these tales of self-loathing from his prison in the Oma’s magma, just to keep himself occupied.  Rao spreads his stories to me, and to others like me, but only in the dreamland.  I’m only half divine and I just can’t catch the funny side of this one.  Show me the comedy – I’ll reveal it to be the oncoming murder, the despair, the tragedy of Rao.
Spiderfingers sat back in the black swivel chair.
“Wow.” Steph bolted up and toward her coat, paper and pen snatched from its folds, “It’s not polished – not by any stretch of the imagination – but I think there’s something in there.  Probably needs to be shorter …” She paced the office, frantically wounding a page with red biro. “... Yeah, shorter.  And I don’t like the ending.  Something’s … something’s too much?”
Her pen is an industrious instrument that hacks and carves at my story.  And S is now for scalpel.
“Maybe you should ask why Rao punishes his soul?”
“Another Babushka story?” she replied, “What a surprise! O.K, you said Rao was imprisoned?”
“I did say that, didn’t I?”
“Well, it’s obvious who Princess Luna is, your Pale Faced Lady, but really, couldn’t you come up with a better name? Princess Luna.  Lunar.  It’s all a bit too easy, isn’t it? Playing around with letters and puns seems a bit juvenile, don’t you think?”
“But isn’t that all we ever do, Steph? Just play around with letters? Anyway, I’m knackered.  Aren’t you?” She shook her head.  Spiderfingers hauled himself onto his feet heading for the door.  His time with her had been successful for the sale had been made.
“Wait a minute,” she asked, “how does this ‘Flare’ story hook up with ‘Man is the Meal’?”
“I dunno.  I guess that’s your homework, Steph.” He pulled at the cold metal handle and stepped over the threshold into the hallway.  He listened to her voice as she tried to catch his attention, but he kept with the walking, stomping his way to the emergency staircase going down, down, down, into the black.  Lucky Steph, now in possession of a small book.  The aquamarine front cover; the back ripped off; all of it covered with dirt, stinking of street grime; a gift awaiting receipt upon carpeted office floor.  A journal, a diary – edited for anything revealing.  He’d written out characters, amalgamated others, bent rules of his world to heighten the drama, the untamed fiction now in Steph’s safekeeping.  Pages which mentioned her name were torn out.  Eaten.  Devoured entirely.  Inside, she would find a reanimated Kurt Cobain and a handy reference guide to animals from lands far, far away from Earth.  There was also an explicit dossier on each and every member of the Buchanan’s: a dysfunctional family with super powers.  The word suckle begins with the letter S, thought Spiderfingers, grinning as he walked out into the dawn.

Spiderfingers lay sprawled out on the tarmac of a car park.  Daylight purged his eyes, as if the great Almighty shone a light into his soul, inspecting the many signs of abuse.  He turned away, giving the eye to a skinny mutt tied to the fence surrounding the parking lot.  He despised the animal.  He wished the dog would try to find a way to free itself, instead of waiting for some long gone owner to experience a change of heart, to return with food and the promise of a loving home.  He sat within the folds of his crimson trench coat, grimacing at the scrawny canine, wondering how long it lived in its limbo.  He reached through his delirium and found a small pebble. 
What is a writer without an audience? He thought chalking furiously.  What am I without somebody watching me?
The Killing Moon
Often, I think of werewolves.  They’re so selfish.  Lately, I’ve had trouble buying into the whole modern day chain-yourself-up variety.  Wolf-men are not heroic.  You were dead the moment you realised the wolf-bite had a lunar transformational effect, y’know? Killed by the moon, so to speak.  So do the villagers a favour, Wolfie; buy a gun; load it with silver and get it over with; would you? Please? He stopped, unsure of the reasoning behind scratching nonsense onto the car park concrete.  He became caught; a brief flashback to evening’s spent listening to deranged, howling, incurable guests of Bellevue Asylum.  I have to save the world … before I fucking lose it, he thought, his ears picking up on someone crying.  At first he convinced himself that the sobbing he heard was the dog, but he couldn’t pretend too well, not at all in fact.  It wasn’t a dog he could hear.  The crying belonged to a girl.
The sorrow visited him in broken sentences, chipped words and brittle meanings emitted from the wire doll fashioned for him.  She blabbed about her mother’s eternal headache, her dad’s agonising arthritis.
“You ----- come back,” he strained his hearing, “-- need --- to rescue us.” There wasn’t enough detachment in his soul to let go of the damaged instrument.  The freedom of the previous night, his impassioned dark compulsiveness thoroughly drained from him.  No story scrawled on car park tarmac could whisk his mind away, his words failing to outrun weeping truths Vicky sent his way.  Through twisted umbrella spokes; through hands; plight straight from her brain swamped his.  Vicky blubbered through talk of her mum and dad, her sister and all of her families suffering.  She pleaded on behalf of all of her kin before addressing her own woe.
“Spider -- nose ---- stop bleeding.  --- won’t my nose ---- bleed---?” He hefted his wreck of a body off the ground, making his way towards the dog, all zig-zag-like, so dazed, weary.  When he released the starving pooch from the fence it immediately nuzzled a scruffy head against his calves.  Like a cat, a pet exuding faith against the legs of a potential guardian.  He shuddered at the prospect of another casualty and kicked the dog in the face.  He watched all the trust drain out of the brown eyes.  There, thought Spiderfingers, now you’re safe.
N   E   X   T      T   I   M   E      I    N
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S
Despite their easy chemistry, reasons for distance flooded into his brain from all sides.  But Vicky was a damsel in distress, and it was always so easy for him to see himself the way she saw him.

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(N.B The comments posted below pertain to an extended version of this story, truncated due to issues of pace). 


  1. Another excellent instalment; fractured, compelling and totally fiendish. It's nice to see some of threads coming together, characters previously only spoken about coming to the fore and so on.

    I must admit, I was a little surprised at the description of Milo. His physical appearance is completely different from how I imagined. It's an interesting subversion and makes me wonder even more about Steph's motivation for indulging in this relationship with him.

    I'm also incredibly worried about Spiderfingers' interest in Gideon. I was willing her not to tell Spiderfingers about her son,and now I'm cobcerned that something bad might happen to the boy! Possibly at the hands of Rooenn! Please say it ain't so!

    I still feel like Steph's motivations for her behaviour are clouded though. The focus in this instalment is once again squarely locked-on to your anti-hero. I hope we get to here more from Steph in the next few months - I want to understand her reasons for her actions. This is especially true in realation to her relationship with Spiderfingers and with Milo.

    In terms of grammar, just one thing: in your very first sentence, you say 'I wake up wedged between it, the dry and humid walls of her evening...' You can't be wedged between a single item, so the sentence would run better as 'I wake up wedged between them, the dry and humid walls...' or 'I wake up pressed against it, the dry and humid wall...'

    Other than that she's beaut. Albeit a twisted and disturbing one. :)

    be between two things, you can't be
    wedged between it - first sentence

  2. Lol, I've just realised I've left a note to myself at the bottom of that last post. It makes me look like a bit of a jibbering lunatic. Please ignore the final two lines!

  3. I've gone and sorted that tricky first line which interestingly, I hated! Such an easy fix though, so I'm glad you're in the circle to point shit like that out!

    Happy you like how things are slowly coming together. It's a story. It would be so wrong for all these strange paths to lead us to nowhere.

    Milo is very different from how I'm sure people imagined but then, we must find out more about Steph to know what makes her tick and thus what she finds attractive.
    What's happening next month?
    Reality T.V, the last outing of a superhero team (think Doom Patrol rather than X-Men), Hero-Worship and Rooenn branding another of it's/his victims.

    Worried about Gideon? Oh, don't worry. He'll be just fine. Honest.

  4. That last line of your comment does nothing to reassure me! Eeep!

    No worries re: the grammar stuff, I've got an A level in English Language don't yew know! I guess some of the stuff I was taught has stuck. Which is nice!

    Can't wait to see your twisted take on reality TV in the next instalment!

  5. The boy will be fine. What would Spiderfingers get out of harming him?
    Great that we've a member of The Circle that has an A Level in English Language, though I suspect, you're not the only one ;)

    The seeds for the reality T.V segment were sown in the Man is the Meal story and as for the supeheroes...
    Less said the better.

    What do you make of



    Has Spiderfingers (night time version) gone round the bend?

  6. As ever, well written and entertaining. In fact I arther think this is the most cohesive out of this , er, section/arc.

    I, too was surprised by Milo. BUT well, he is a trope! Im more surprised at you! Walrus? Big office, no furniture? Ole Chap???? Ok his language i would let you get away with as its definative of the type of person you are trying to portray, but all of it together? You can display his wealth (monetarily and girth wise) in much better ways, you words are good, these are old..

    Sick and Ironic; His reasurrance, and their preoccupance with the possible murder of the Jehovis (sp meh) when they calmy sit there discussing his brutal murder of a baby!! I would say i like it, but it doesnt seem appropriate.

    Great use of Roa's story/punishment to give us some insight into SFs. Well tantalising. Split soul, endlessly chasing himself (subjective gender), imprisonment. Since when was Boleram his father? I though John Clay and Boleraam squished together, bam, SFs.

    Speaking of fathers...Gideaons practically on fire??!!

    Object Girl; well i was sorta on the right track with Sfs poking in Stephs head, didnt forsee this techiness tbf. I forget you fondness for sci fi. Reminds me of the comp from Resident Evil. Curious to see her motivation.

  7. It's cohesive? Well that's a relief as these next few parts allow all the seeds thus planted to grow and cross pollinate.

    O.K, just so I'm not misunderstanding you, you're saying that there are better ways to describe Milo being well off? That you had a problem with the office space? Lemme know as I'm keen to ammend as I go. The office is disused office space; handy to have an affair in...

    Thanks for linking the Rao story. Previously it was pages and pages long. I decided to be fair and see if condensing it would help reveal more about the narrators narrator ;)

    Yes, Boleraam and John Clay are two souls that have been joined together, so duh, he refers to each as a father. It's how I'd think on stop me from going mad anyway.

    Sci-fi is cheating tbf. If my day job were less involving I'd write this more traditionally. Still, the twists and turns that come up after this issue will justify it. What do you make of our possible journey to Po? Any ideas how Ungumpo may fit into all this? I dare you to guess!

    No ones seems interested in Rooenn's carvings :(

    Any ideas what 21FROM26=2OF8 means? The police are probably baffled, so someone play Poirot/Miss Marple hmmmm?

  8. Honestly? Rooens rape-fest is sarting to fuck me off. Its too repetitive. Shocking, disgusting, brutal, evil: yes. Developing plot? Well i get the idea. If you are going to horrfy me, can you do it differently each time?, the sat nav address for Po? Where the killer will happen to be? A hungry pool of visions is a very ineresting take on reality tv.. like it.

    Milo is a walking, talking cliche. disused offic?I didnt get that impression. Often a massive office with little furiture is a clear sign of wealth. read it a 100 times. same with 'walrus'. That oyster-gobbling Walrus from Wonderland is oft used. I think he needs tweaking, needs more f your stamp on him.

  9. Interesting the fact that you want Rooenn's murders to entertain you. Steph's story, the onle about a woman getting off at the wrong stop and being brutally murdered - she hates it. Finds it dull.

    Put the pieces together and you might find something else more worthy of your time than say, oh i don't know...death by power drill or something? Heh.

    Yes, it's a satnav address. Well done! A gold medal for Ashley! HA! Wanna try a guess Leanne? Go on, you'll kick yourself if I tell you.

    Never thought of the tarn as reality T.V but yeah, there is a link I might feature in some way. To be honest the next issue is the LAST time I offer new elements/plant new ideas into the arc. It's about everything coupling together now ;)

    Milo is a cliche. How horrid he'll feel when he finds out, hmmm? IF he does, cos I like the odd stereotype thrown into the mix. Not every character in an epic need be so complicated. Or do you disagree?
    How can I give the impression that the office is disused? I have idea's but wish to utilise your attention whilst i have it. Rather like a needy child or idol :)

  10. Being a bit of sci-fi nerd myself, the formula carved into the forehead of the victim reminds of Red Dwarf. You know, when they were stuck in the total immersion video game better than life and Kryten was trying to get a message to Lister by carving u=btl into his arm?
    Yeah, I am that person.

  11. I though that the crap Rooenns been carving onto the bodies of victims might be too easy to decode. Thankfully it isn't, or maybe you guys are no good at playing detective? We shall see...

    @Ashley: Gideon's father isn't Spiderfingers so hey, don't worry, I won't be heading down that route anytime soon. I thought also that Rooenn making Abigails parents look like they'd raped killed and mutilated her was pretty original as far as hideous deaths go. I also figured that Spiderfingers mocking Steph's slasher story by instructing Rooenn's kill to be inspired by it was pretty dark. Are you really bored Ashley?

    I LOVE Red Dwarf! It has been AGES since i watched an episode. I'm cheap so I'll have a nosey around on YOUTUBE.

  12. Having gone back and read over some of the other chapters, I kind of have to agree with Ashley about the whole ‘repetitive rape scene’. Rooens has done it before, now he’s doing it again. It’s feels like this has become his ‘thing’ and, while it’s not boring me, it’s kind of like, ‘oh, so we’re here again? That’s happening. Okay, cool.’ There’s no shock factor for me the second/third/fourth time - if that makes sense. But then I am pretty hard to shock. Too much TV will do that to you.

    Is a sat nav address? Do you have to do the maths as well? Because then I would guess 5 and 16, which is probably wrong. I was never good at maths. Ugh, it’s going to annoy me until I figure it out. I’ll have to read from the very beginning I think.

    Also, I too don’t believe you when you say that nothing bad will happen to Gideon.

    Favourite line:

    See people, the one circus clown stilt of a stiletto is just murder to walk in - she lets the world know this - the world tells her to shut the fuck up, that it has kids, that it's a school night.

  13. Thanks for the comment Carla!

    This is Rooenn's second appearance in The Russian Doll Stories and maybe I'm just a wimp but the two murders he's committed so far are enough for me to consider him/it a suitable 'face of shadow'. Will his atrocities get worse? That pals would be telling and I think that whether his murderous sub-plot becomes a matter central to the plot doesn't quite depend on what he does but how his barbarism is viewed. Spiderfingers casually killing through Rooenn, mocking Steph's stalker story is pretty horrid; ironic that you and Ashley want more from it really since Spiderfingers deffo agrees with you on the poor entertainment factor.


    Yes, there will be more of the 'sat nav' address in stories to come. You really will kick yourself when the answer comes bobbing along.

    SERIOUSLY, Gideon will be fine. What would a god of chaos gain from killing a child?

    Glad you liked the stiletto line! One of my favs for sure. I recommend reading from STEPH'S GOLD MEDAL if you feel left out. It was written as a 'jump on point' for new readers since it's Steph's first time meeting Spiderfingers as well ;)

  14. I adore the opening so lyrical and intense. Really gives me the sense of waking up in a feverish haze. Starting to get a clearer/more coherent idea of who Spiderfingers is, well as much as possible bearing in mind the who ad what he is! In hindsight I'd like to have read this section a bit earlier then I would feel a little less overwhelmed by the richness of the tale your spinning.

    Honestly I've never thought about what a pavement tastes like. I think you've got hat spot on.

    Don't really like the phrase “raising one lone eyebrow ” three words for the same thing, feels a bit over embellished.

    Got a bit confused as to who the Walrus was either Milo or Clive on first reading. Not sure what happened to the security guard I suppose coming from a theatre back ground I look for the “Clives exits stage left” or assume a character's still there. I know you like a certain degree of ambiguity but I'd like to feel more cemented with the supporting characters, which would allow more mystery where it's vital to your style/themes.

    Him/it doesn't sit right, I see your trying to show Rooenn is male but not so much human but I think a more descriptive sentence could sum this up with greater fluidity.

    I get the sense Spiderfingers is a tortured and restless spirit, but I don't yet know exactly why. Intriguing, I look forward to finding out why.

    Steph asks a lot of questions post story, is the point to only ask the one right question to avoid a sticky end? Or was that just the first story? Or has Spiderfingers gone soft on her?

    Steph tells Spiderfinger's about her son, so to me that is a signifier she trusts him completely and is in no way threated by him. Which is ok except a couple of chapters ago she was running away from him, I'd like to see Steph growing to trust Spiderfingers. I'm not sure if I had a child I would tell someone I thought to be partially insane or dangerous about him/her.

    I agree with Aahley's comment that it's quite explicitly sexual and I don;t see the necessity to the plot. Yet anyway, I'm sure you've got something in mind!

    Tried to talk about things other than the stuff I liked, and I pretty much liked all of it so I hope it's quite helpful!!!

  15. Thankfully Leanne was on hand to knock some sense into the opening! If you like it, thank her!
    Spiderfingers is the chaos god so he’s not the easiest of characters to understand. You’re right though in expressing how this chapter gives us more of who he is without the details being obscured by the show-offy storytelling he dazzles Steph with, and she is quite dazzled. I’d say because she holds her own ability in such little regard. More on their abilities/relationship later…not gonna spoil it for you.

    ‘Don't really like the phrase “raising one lone eyebrow ” three words for the same thing, feels a bit over embellished.’ – Katherine B

    Fair enough. Have you got an alternative? If you look through some of the comments (mainly Leanne’s and Ashley’s) I’m quite keen to take on suggestions so long as there is an alternative pointed out to me. Nice. Don’t forget, Spiderfingers loves the sound of his own voice, hence the embellishment. Any idea as to how it might sit well within characterisation and not offend reading sensibilities?

    You’re right about Clive. I’ve got him to leave the room and return to the reception in the lobby. Thank you.

    Regarding what Rooenn is, I’m prepared to drop the it for now and have him described as a him. Spiderfingers relationship to Rooenn will be revealed in two chapter’s time. When you read Trust No One Under Twenty, you’ll find that Steph has been attempting to close the gap on the creative gulf she perceives separates her from Spiderfingers. I’ve given nothing away but it’s weird, the nature of these comments sometimes morphs into placating the audiences fears. Maybe I should let you be worried for a while? Maybe the pay-off will be better?

    ‘I get the sense Spiderfingers is a tortured and restless spirit, but I don't yet know exactly why. Intriguing, I look forward to finding out why.’ – Katherine B

    Indeed you shall.

    So far it appears that the logic behind The Russian Doll Stories is for the listener to spot something that would lead to a further story beneath the surface or rather within the one told. In any case, Steph is intrigued with Spiderfingers world. She seems to want to figure him out. She wants to see the whole picture.

    Appreciate your take on Steph’s trusting of Spider however, think on it like this: You spot a homeless man in the road, beaten up and ignored. Not only do you feel an obligation to do something about it out of civic duty, you’ve had dealings with this man. A man by all accounts you respect for his linguistic flair. Do you leave him?
    Also, it appears that Steph and Milo were arguing in the car as to the why she should take him to the office. Maybe Milo is arguing Steph’s previous belief, that he is dangerous? Maybe Steph feels secure with Milo around whilst she talks to him, extracts info on The Russian Doll Stories. Don’t forget, Steph seems to be a vulnerable woman in that her stories do nothing for her. She is attracted to what Spiderfingers can do for her…she can’t leave him to be taken away. She may never see him again. I’d like to think that she has dropped her guard down regarding mentioning her son because she has more than a smattering of liberal guilt. So he’s a vagabond who tells fantasy horror stories. Simply because he is not in print or in a smart suit doesn’t mean she ought to fear him. Right? If any of this can be communicated more in the tale, lemme know? Throw an idea my way? I might just include it!

    Rooenn is disturbing and his presence is not ancillary. Wait and see.

    Thanks for the comment, hope to read a reply to my concerns here, and soon! Yay!

  16. I see what you mean now with the embellishments by Spiderfinger's due to the fact he loves the sound of his owns voice, just that sentence in particular stuck out as off kilter slightly.

    Since you asked, if I were to phrase it I would go with something like:

    As if a lone cloud floating above the pale sphere, the walrus launched an eyebrow into the stratosphere and bayed "Your mugging?"

    But that's just off the cuff, not much workings gone in to that phrase, perhaps a bit too loaded. But my attempt working in imagery of the moon (with your chapter title) with a Spiderfinger-esque flourish and a less than complimentary description of Milo. But that's just me, you might find something like that too cumbersome.

    I always find putting an action before speech emphasis the words in comparison to after. You have a sense of what the character looks like as their saying the words you're reading.

    I really enjoyed reading Sim's version of Spiderfingers. While I'm not a active fan of fanfiction or a fan at all of the Twilight to 50 Shades translation, I do enjoy writers writing other writer's characters! (Did I get my apostrophes and plurals right there?).

    I guess I am colored by my own experiences when it comes to the Steph/Spiderfingers relationship. I had a very frightening encounter with a tramp once, albeit not a lyrically magnificent homeless vagabond! I guess my perception is that without a home you don't have the same foundations, morals, stability or rules. As such, it leads me to feel, the homeless may not have the same respect for boundaries and that, for m, is something to be fearful of. Especially in terms of Gideon as you have included infanticide in such close proximity.

    Thanks for disposing of Clive for me :) !

  17. Kudos for trying to include the moon in the eyebrow line. I’d say that you’re right in that it does come across as too loaded and find it odd that you’d take something already noted for being too embellished and suggest a replacement that is even more so. I think I’ll leave the original as it is, but in chatting about it you’ve helped me appreciate it and of course, your own sensibilities.

    Actions before speech! Actions before speech! LOVE indulging in that convention (as you’ll find in the next part Dangerous Beginnings).

    ‘I really enjoyed reading Sim's version of Spiderfingers. While I'm not a active fan of fanfiction or a fan at all of the Twilight to 50 Shades translation, I do enjoy writers writing other writer's characters! (Did I get my apostrophes and plurals right there?).’ – Katherine B

    I figure you’ve got the grammar right enough for a comment, no worries! Sim writing Spiderfingers echoes a plot point that occurs a lot later in this series of tales (What Does Spiderfingers Say About His Creator). Even though we have people writing new Bond stories, new Sherlock Holmes adventures, the idea of a writer taking on board another writers creations is something that happens a heck of a lot more in comics isn’t it? Each character belongs more to a company and its continuity rather than strictly belong to the person(s) that first birthed them. Future stories will cover the relationship between fictitious and those that render the fiction a reality..

    ‘I guess my perception is that without a home you don't have the same foundations, morals, stability or rules.’ – Katherine B

    I’ve had bad experiences with the homeless. I’ve had heart-warming anecdotes. I met a man who had spent the majority of his adult life on the street. Said he wouldn’t have it any other way. Bet my bottom dollar he meant it, simply because the relationship between family can be so strained that it can affect ones psyche, that being homeless allows one to be free from the expectation of living an ordinary life. I can’t remember the statistic now, but most homeless people fall into the bracket of people’s been abused emotionally, physically and in some cases they’ve been cast out of households for their spirituality. Let’s not forget sexuality as well. My point is that Steph was willing to overcome certain prejudices that we all may inherit from the limited interaction with homeless people. Limited because those that do reach over the boundaries you’ve mentioned don’t represent all of the homeless. Spiderfingers’ own views of homelessness are coloured by his worldview, a view we are learning more and more about. Did you pick up on his personality shift during the night? He is a lot more demonic when the sun goes down. It has to be pointed out that we the reader are aware of Spiderfingers link to infanticide via Rooenn, whereas Steph has heard about Baby Abigail’s death through the media and has no idea of the links she could make with our homeless wanderer and the scandal. In closing, I’m happy with Steph’s need to help Spiderfingers…her ambition seems to have tampered with a certain logic, a logic that might prevent her from new experiences.