Bonus Story: Fresh

on April 14, 2008 in Other Tales

Wherein Steff Doesn’t Care

Thursday, Astera 25th, 221

So, I get my essay back with a B. Big note on the front, too. Says, “Your premise is interesting but I wonder how firmly you actually believe it.” Fuck it, anyway.

I worked my ass off on that thing. I figure, either it’s good or it’s not. What the hell is Professor Nimitz doing, judging the sincerity of it? He just doesn’t like what I have to say.

I don’t care, though. Dead is fucking dead, right? A corpse is just raw materials. How’s it any different from the clay or whatever a golem maker uses? I mean, even without necromancy you can animate flesh or bones the same way you animate a carriage or a factory line or a dancing sword or whatever. They’re just objects. Necromancy makes them more useful, but once you realize that they’re objects it doesn’t matter how you use them.

When I die, I hope somebody uses my body somehow. I don’t care how. They can zombify me or eat me or turn me into a cute pair of boots, for all I care. For all I will care. I won’t be around any more to complain.

I wouldn’t mind being boots. Fashion immortality. That’s something, right?

I’m not suicidal, though. I don’t want to die. I hate the thought that I’ll have to. My fucking dad might live until the Last Battle, if he never gets bored enough to go on ahead, or careless. I’d love to outlive him on principle, but I’m not stupid enough to think that’s really going to happen.

I don’t care, though.

I don’t.

Lisa’s waiting for me when I get to the fountain.

Smoking, of course.

She offers me a cigarette. I give her a dirty look.

“My one vice,” she says. “And the only one you don’t have. How come you won’t smoke?”

“I told you,” I say.

“You told me you caught a cold,” she says. “So? Everybody gets sick.”

“Mortals get sick,” I tell her.

She laughs. Her laugh’s so annoying. Her voice is pretty good, but I can’t help hearing what she doesn’t want me to, especially when she laughs.

I want to strangle her, a bit. More when she laughs like that.

I wonder if she knows that. I wonder if she suspects how often I think about it.

“What’s so funny?” I ask instead.

“You are mortal,” she says.

“Only on my mom’s side,” I say. “I don’t want to spend my whole day coughing and hacking, okay? It happened once. If I don’t do anything stupid, I can hopefully go my whole life without it happening again.”

Lisa’s got that stupid bit in the front of her throat that human men have. She wears these ugly yellow or red scarves to hide it. When I imagine myself choking her, she doesn’t have it. Her throat is smooth and perfect.

I’m not serious about that, by the way. I mean, I think about it, but it’s just a daydream, a stupid fantasy. It’s something to jerk off to, something to sketch in my notebook. Not something I’d actually do.

Oh, don’t even pretend you don’t have fantasies that you’d never act on. Everybody does. I think the people who can’t own up to it are the ones who actually go off and kill somebody.

I’d totally fuck Lisa, though, if she’d let me, but as she says, her legs are “closed for renovations.” She won’t let anybody near her ass because she’s a good little Anankhan Khersian, or as good as she can be under the circumstances.

“I’ve been thinking about my name,” she says.

“Oh?” I say.

She does this like, every other day. I take out my notebook and flip open to the last page I was working on. I’ve got a sketch of her half-started. There’s a snake on a tree branch, with its tail hanging down and coiled around her neck like a noose.

I think it’s actually the scarves that do it for me. She looks like she’s half-choked all the time to begin with. She’d probably pass better without them. They draw attention to what she wants to hide. Humans have such dull eyesight and who looks at a throat, anyway?

“I don’t know,” she says. “I liked ‘Lisa’ when I picked it, but it seems kind of boring. I mean, there’s a lot of Lisas on campus, you know?”

“I guess,” I say. I add some half-assed shading to the drawing. I draw like my half-ogre roommate plays the harpsichord. Doesn’t matter. Since I can’t ever show anybody what I draw, it doesn’t really matter how shitty it is.

“So, have you given any thought to your ‘after’ name?”

“Well, I don’t see what’s wrong with Steff,” I say.

“Don’t you want to make a clean break, though?” Lisa asks.

I close my notebook. She’s giving me a look that makes me want to smack her a little. Kind of half-pleading. Like she wants me to give her permission to change her name. Like I’m supposed to be her partner in this.

Or co-conspirator, or something.

I take a deep breath and let it out through my nostrils. This is why I stopped hanging out on the TS tapestries. That and the drama.

“When I’m done with school, I’m gonna tell my dad to take a flying fuck at the dome of the world and move a million miles away,” I say. “That’s all the break I want or need.”

“You know why I hate you?” she says.

She does this all the time. She doesn’t actually have the brains to hate anybody, but she thinks it’s cute to say this instead of “You know what bugs me about you?”

I hate lots of people, and there isn’t anything cute about it.

“What?” I ask.

“You don’t care about any of this,” she says. “It takes me ninety minutes to get ready for my day and I’ve still got about a fifty-fifty chance of passing as a woman to people who don’t already know, but you can just pull on a skirt and you’re good to go. Even when you’re wearing jeans like today, you get taken as a woman more often than me.”

“If you really want to be taken as a woman, you just have to say the word,” I say. I smirk at her. She hits me with her bag.

She isn’t even really that cute. Lines like that do something to me, though. It’s like the gods hand me a set-up line, and I’ve got to use it.

I wonder if it would be a violation of her religious world view for me to fuck her between the breasts. Hers are real. She’s been taking potions of feminization for years. Since she was fourteen. Really understanding mom.

And the money to buy that kind of stuff.

“What?” she asks.

“Nothing,” I say.

“You’ve got that look on your face,” she says.

“What look?” I ask. I try to give her an innocent smile.

“The look that you’ve got something awful that you’re just bursting to say,” she says. “So say it.”

“I want to fuck your tits,” I say.

She punches me in the stomach. Hard. Femmed out or not, she’s still a full human and she’s still stronger than me.

“You asked!” I say, laughing. She’s so easy to provoke. Sometimes I wonder if I could get her to choke me, a little. It would be almost as good as the other way, and probably safer, since she wouldn’t really do it for real.

“I’ve got to scoot,” she says, flicking her cigarette into the fountain.

“You haven’t said no,” I remind her.

“To what?”

“The tit thing,” I say.

“No, Steff,” she says, getting up and smoothing her skirt. “N-O. No.”

“Your mom spent all that gold on potions and you won’t even use them,” I say. “How do you think she feels about that?”

“Bringing my mom into it’s not going to help,” she says.

“There’s poor, flat-chested children in the Argentus who’d kill for what you have.”

“Goodbye, Steff.”

I watch her walk away. My cock stirs for some reason. I’m going to have to stop tucking it down if it’s going to keep doing that.

She’s not that cute. She’s a year older than me and she’s fat. She outweighs me by like three times. She’s a fat, self-righteous know-it-all tranny and I wish to no one in particular that she’d let me in her pants.

I’m jealous of her breasts. That’s what it is. Simple jealousy.

I head back to Harlowe with my backpack in front of me. It’s annoying having a fucking hard-on, especially since I spent more money than I have trying to stop it.

I stop on the second floor. Moahr’s room. Door’s open. Some kid I don’t know is there. Looks like a dog. I mean, really. Fur and all.

Kind of hot. The fur/dog thing is, I mean. The guy as a whole’s kind of blah.

I knock on the door frame.

“Oh, hey,” Moahr says. He hands a stone jar to dogboy. About a third of Moahr’s alchemy shit is stone or metal stuff I guess he brought from Koboldland. “I’ll be with you in a second.” To dogboy, he says, “Now, when you do this for class, you want to use spider webs, but when you do it for your personal collection, use silkworm shit, if you can get it.”

“Got it,” dogboy says.

“Now go put that over on the windowsill,” Moahr says. “Uncovered. My assistant, Finbar,” he says to me. “How’d that dick numbing stuff work for you?”

The guy called Finbar chokes and almost spills the jar of whatever.

“Fine,” I say. “It wore off too quick, though.”

Moahr shrugs.

“That’s the way it goes,” he says.

“It didn’t even last an hour,” I say. “For what you charged me…”

“I charge what I have to,” he says. “First axiom of potionmaking: rarity of materials and difficulty are proportional to applicability of the finished product. That’s before you factor in supply and demand.”

“There’s a lot of demand and applicability for oil of impotence?” I ask.

“It doesn’t just work on dicks,” he says. “Numbness is useful for all kinds of shit, both offensive and healing, and anything with healing uses just about counts double. I could give you something that kills your sex drive…”

“No,” I say. “How about something that makes me not care so much?”

“About your dick?”

“About anything,” I say.


“Not apathy,” I say. “Just something so I’m not, you know, bothered.”

“How about happy?” he asks. “I can do happy.”

“About everything?”

“Easy,” he says. “Easier to make you happy about everything than some things.”

“How much will that cost?” I ask.

He shrugs, and looks at Finbar, who nods.

“We’ll have to work it out,” Moahr says. “It won’t be too much, though.”

“Why not?”

“Because happiness isn’t that useful, in the big scheme,” he says.

“Okay,” I say. “How long?”

“Come back tomorrow,” he says. “I’ll have something then, or I’ll know how long it’ll take.”

“Okay,” I say.

I’m halfway to the stairwell when I hear Finbar saying, “Dick-numbing oil?”

“He’s okay, for a faggot,” Moahr says. “Little creepy. The good thing about dealing to fags is they’ll give you head, if you’re hard up.”

Yeah, fat chance of that. Like I’d go near that ugly little goblin thing’s thing, or his dog-faced sidekick.

I don’t care. I really don’t.

I’ll care even less, if Moahr comes through.

Meanwhile, I know where to get a cheap substitute.

Viktor’s staring at his stupid keyboard like he doesn’t know what it’s for when I come in.

“Knock,” he says. He sounds pissed, but he’s not even playing anything, so I don’t know why he’s all bent out of shape.

“Sorry,” I say. I head for his bed and reach underneath it. “I need to borrow a beer.”

“This early in the morning?”

I stop and turn around to look at him, to see if he’s joking.

“What is funny?” he asks.

“It’s like, one in the afternoon,” I say.

He looks at me like he thinks I’m joking, or something, then puts his hand up on his forehead like he’s slapping himself in slow motion.

“You forgot to go to class again,” I say. We’re only on the second week of school and this is like the third time he’s just completely zoned out at his keyboard.

He throws his head back and roars. He’s shirtless. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him with a shirt on except when he’s going to class. Somebody next door drops something.

My cock’s doing the shifty thing again. I probably shouldn’t stare at my half-ogre roommate. It’s a miracle he hasn’t killed me already. Just about any roommate would have had disaster potential for a “faggot” like me, but a big manly half-ogre was about the top of the chart. Even one who thought he was a musician.

They eat their dead. Ogres, I mean. Assuming that’s not humanocentric propaganda. Their own dead. Their enemies. Their slaves. Can’t let any meat go to waste.


Raw materials.


Maybe he’ll even make my skin into boots.

There’s no pretending my cock isn’t hard. It slips completely free of its makeshift prison as I watch Viktor.

He smashes his chair and knocks all the shit off his desk, then brings his forearm down on top of it and splinters it. He raises a fist over his magic keyboard and stops inches above it. He turns around, his red eyes flashing. His lips are curled in a snarl, and it makes his tusky pointy teeth more prominent.

His chest is heaving.

Mine, too.

His cock is rock-hard and sticking out as well as it can beneath his pants.

Mine, too.

Don’t notice. Don’t notice. Don’t notice.

He notices. His eyes lock right on to it. I wait for him to say something. He doesn’t, though. I realize that it’s coming. He’s going to kill me. He’s totally going to kill me and eat me and that’s going to be it.

“Get a beer,” he says. He sounds a little hoarse. “Get me one, too.”

So maybe I’m not dead yet.

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5 Responses to “Bonus Story: Fresh”

  1. pedestrian says:

    I am thinking that Viktor should switch to a concert grand piano. It has the greatest power and range of all symphonic instruments.

    The grand piano and the violin, between them provided the driving force for the mass-culture revolution that we call Modernism.

    Current score: 5
    • Jechtael says:

      I’ve been thinking for dozens upon dozens of chapters that he would do well with a pipe organ. As a particularly large half-ogre, he could probably even work the pump himself with one foot when he’s not using the pedals.

      Current score: 6
  2. fragzilla says:

    I have read this story 3 times and missed this bonus story every time until now. I regret that fact immensely.

    Current score: 0
  3. keyonte0 says:

    Steff is a bit of a sociopath.

    Current score: 0