Impractical Applications (Kestrel’s Bad Day)

The following is the more in-depth version of Kestrel’s bad day exercise that I threatened on Wednesday.

“Prophecy will be the death of me someday.”

Kes should have known better. As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she knew better. It had been fine when it was just her fellows, but Mandible was still working on the concept of idiom, and for all that she was still getting used to the thought of a demon familiar, the little guy was nothing if not (at least in its own mind) helpful. It just wasn’t always helpful to her.

By skin, by breath, or by eating? Mandible asked from just inside her shoulder.

“What?” Kes asked.

How did you come in contact with it? Need to know where to eat. Did you inhale it? Lungs need cleaning? Is it a poison?

“No….” Yes, his world had been inhuman. But Kes really couldn’t imagine anyone going as long as the little guy had presumably lived (all right, she wasn’t entirely sure if he was four, forty or four hundred, and she had a sneaking suspicion she’d miscalculated those) without at some point running into the idea of prophecy. Not its god, thank goodness, if Lysha was manifesting to all and sundry you wouldn’t be able to kick a rock groundside without hitting someone possessed of the divine madness that made one incomprehensible without the assistance of some sort of mind-altering substance. Just… well…

So what is it? She was beginning to regret having told Mandible to interrupt her if her mind started going in circles. Sometimes it was useful. Now it was a nuisance.

“It’s…. it’s like seeing the future.”

A hallucinogen! Mandible rubbed his front pair of legs together. Taste good!

“No…. no…. some people are dreaming, that’s not…”

A narcotic?

“It’s not a drug! It’s just a thing. Only not really a thing, not really a force either, just a… you know things. Or at least, you get really vague hints to things that involve figurative language and imagery, and it isn’t necessarily right, and you can’t really tell who it applies to and who just avoids it entirely, and honestly, bug, you’ve gone without it most of your life and it’s better that way.”

Mandible’s antennae drooped. Something I can’t eat….

Great. Just great. She had to feel sorry for the little thing. She did not feel sorry for demons. Her colleagues would never let her hear the end of it. Though to be fair, her colleagues didn’t generally find themselves saddled with demons who wanted to eat everything that threatened them in any way, whether it was actually the poison said demons wanted everything to be so it would be edible or not. Every now and then she wondered at the fact that his kind hadn’t bribed something to find a way to turn sadness into a drug so they could eat that.

Then how does it kill you?


  1. Michael says:


  2. UZ says:

    Thank goodness nobody in the real world thinks it’s OK to enter into conflict with abstract and intangible concepts! Oh… wait…

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