2.23. Aconitum

It’s rare that a deer makes it this far into town. There’s more than enough vegetation in the interior, and the risk of predators hardly makes it worth it. But apparently Dominic’s tomatoes are enticing enough for this bold deer.

Dominic’s anger is intense when he discovers the stark remains of his garden. He spent years--years--cultivating the perfect tomato, and then some goddamn deer had to gobble it up in, like, two fucking chews because those worthless animals developed the evolutionary adaptation to just fuck shit up.

Even worse, the damn thing trampled his wolfsbane, leaving nothing more than torn and flattened flowers. It’s a full moon, and Dominic had plans for those flowers.

Deep breaths--it isn’t worth turning into his father over this. There’s a solution. There always is.

2.22. Babymoon

Lark reclines on a pool float, soaking in the sun. A bead of sweat rolls down the back of her neck. It’s a surprise--it’s never this warm in Aurora Skies, even at the height of summer. But it’s also a welcome rarity. Maybe if she stores up enough of this heat, winter won’t be as biting. 

She breathes in and out as the pool float buoys back and forth on the water. She can hear sharp calls of birds, the rustle of wind through nearby trees, and the faint sound of the waterfalls crashing into the fish-filled lake. Life surrounds her: plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, all of it miraculously everyday. Even her body is host to its own ecosystem, hordes of microbes that regulate her organs and help fight disease. The day her high school biology teacher had mentioned gut flora, the class gasped in horror. Lark, however, was struck by how paradoxically empowering and belittling that was--she is neither the smallest creature in the universe, nor the largest, and she’s never alone even when she…

2.21. The Peat Dance

It’s a windless day, cool and still. Steam rises off the geothermal lake, carrying with it the faint smell of sulfur.

2.20. Love Is Patient

Lark frowns as she runs her fingers over her jawline. A series of fresh pimples meets her touch. She rustles through the vanity's drawers, cursing under her breath as she searches for cotton balls and a bottle of witch hazel. She soaks a cotton ball and touches it to her face. The cool of the astringent is temporarily soothing, until Lark angrily rubs the cotton over one particularly prominent pimple. A sting accompanies the pop, but she feels no relief. She’s nearly 30 and way too old for breakouts like this.
In fact, the last time she had a breakout this bad was when she was pregnant with Fenrir.

2.19. Inverse Probability Flux

Lark recoils, her eyes widening with fright.

“Will it hurt?” she whimpers.

“It doesn’t hurt, Lark. You ask that every time and it never hurts, does it?”

“I’m just nervous, okay?”

2.18. One Hundred Words

The days fly by.

2.17. Some Kind of Monster

It’s barely morning--long enough after midnight for someone to be starting their day, but too early for that someone to be a reasonable human being.

Lark is jolted awake, disturbed into consciousness after something jumped into bed next to her. Her heart races as she blinks at her surroundings, which take on nefarious qualities in the low light of dawn. It takes a moment for the panic to subside--she’s in her new room in her new house.