Hortencia Fragments

Sketch of a woman smoking a cigarette on an elaborate bed.

Antelucan Hortencia ❧ In the hour just before dawn, she wakens, caked with dry sweat. The room smells of sweetness and exertion. The shadows on the wall make it seem like a coil of black smoke is rising from the ashtray by their bed, though she knows this is impossible. She looks at John and smiles. Her only regret is that she could have slept longer. Slept this sleep without dreaming.

The Marrow of the Music ❧ The piano looms. Now someone is playing. Discord, banging, noise. The notes sound wet. Nanny Laia will be furious.

Piano wood cracks under some immense pressure. I can’t see what did it, my eyes won’t work. They won’t leave my hands, full of splinters.

Play now, says Laia. I move my hands to the keys. Where my finger rests on the white ivory, it streaks with black, as though oil were leaking from the tip of my finger and filling the hollowness of the white. I look at my nanny. Play. I begin. Each key I touch turns black. The sound is like a fly’s iron wings beating glass. The glass screams.

I am pawing though the inside of the piano. Its wires are soaked in gore, charred and dripping. My hands are black. Repent.


The artwork for this entry was never finished, nor was its accompanying text. It was posted to the Patreon as a way of teasing the introduction of this new character.

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