MoCCA Fest 2014

I don’t remember the last time I was this exhausted. But even though I feel like I could sleep for a week, I immensely enjoyed this year’s Mocca Fest. So many talented people, and all so nice, too! To all of you that I met there, a big thanks for making my weekend so fun. Especially Gideon Kendall, who I had the pleasure of tabling next to!

I saw so much amazing art there - here are some people to check out, though this is by no means an exhaustive list:

Anuj Shrestha

Kayla Kinoo

Will Lytle

Hyein Jeon

Kim Ku 

Junghwa Park

Edit: Oh, and to those of you who asked me about commissions - I would be very interested! If you have something you’d like illustrated, drop me a line at b9paradox@gmail.com :)

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Done! Come by table E29 at MoCCA Fest and have a look!

Done! Come by table E29 at MoCCA Fest and have a look!

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Some digital paintings from my drawing class today! I really enjoyed painting from life in photoshop - 

© M. Lai, 2014

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MoCCA 2014!

Hey all! Like my fiction? Well, here’s your chance to get ahold of your very own copy of it! This weekend at MoCCA Fest I’ll be selling a small print-run of an illustrated collection of my flash fiction and nanofiction.

If you’re in the area, please stop by table E29! I’m sharing a table with some other awesome, creative people, so you don’t want to miss us :)

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Forever and Always

Ragnarök being averted seemed to have left Loki in a state of inertia. He seemed so surprised that he had not in fact caused the end of the world that now that he was free, he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. After a week of him doing nothing other than offering advice and snarky commentary on my daily routine, I gently suggested that perhaps he ought to think about what his plans were, now that he no longer had the Twilight of the Gods hanging over him. He gave me a puzzled look.

“Am I bothering you?” he asked, almost defensively. 

“No,” I said. “But maybe you should get out a bit — see your kids. Or…even Sigyn.”

Loki’s face fell as I mentioned that name. I should have known the subject would be a touchy one. I sat across from him, and tried to get him to look me in the eye.

“Look,” I began. “You’ve spent a lot of your rehabilitation communicating with her from afar — writing letters, talking on the phone. And I get it. You’re ashamed of the things you’ve done, and the pain you’ve caused her. But sooner or later you’ll have to face it.”

Loki said nothing, but his lowered gaze spoke for him. 

“Loki, this is your wife we’re talking about. The goddess who, had it come to it, would have been perfectly willing to sit by your side while you were bound, catching venom in a bowl before it dripped onto you. You owe it to her to go and apologize, face to face.”

The God of Mischief finally looked up, uncertainty shadowing his face. “Do you really think she could ever forgive me?”

I smiled, nodding wholeheartedly. “Of course. Loki, her love for you is one of the main reasons your rehabilitation succeeded. She believed in you, and that faith was strong enough to inspire others to do so. You owe her far more thanks for stopping Ragnarök than you owe me, or anyone else.”

At that, Loki shifted in his seat, as if he were trying to decide whether or not to ask me something. Finally, he reached down into his jacket pocket and pulled out a ring. He held it up to the light.

“Alright, my friend. You seem to know so much — tell me, do you think she’ll like this, then?

The ring was wrought from silver and intricately carved. The thin band had been made into the shape of feminine arms encircling a fierce looking beast. On the inside something I couldn’t read was engraved. I pointed to the strange marks.

“What does that say?”

“It says, ‘Forever and always, for the goddess who believed.”

I gave Loki a thumbs up. “She’ll love it. Guaranteed.”

Word Count: 461

© M. Lai, 2014

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Reserve

Might make more sense after reading this piece

Dean Doubleday prided himself on a steely reserve that kept work from bleeding over into his daily routine. It was rather unusual that upon stepping into his shower, he should find his mind bombarded with images of circular, purple bruises from hard metal on blue skin. As he toweled off his hair, he gave himself a stern look in the mirror.

“Now look, Dean,” he said authoritatively. “You need this job. Can’t afford to get concerned about what the government is up to.” 

-Really?- said a small voice in the back of his head. -Have you really become that frigid, Dean Doubleday?-

He sighed into rough cotton fibers and wondered exactly how long he could hold out against his conscience.

Word Count: 120

© M. Lai 2014

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Two Years Ago Today

“I died two years ago today,” remarked Bantam, quite out of the blue. He and Kit were sitting in their new apartment, unpacking boxes. She looked up at him, those words still triggering odd feelings in her gut.

“Worst day of my life,” said Kit with a shudder. She got up and walked over to him, resting her head on his shoulder. “Thank God it wasn’t permanent.”

Bantam smiled at that, and moved his flannel clad arm to wrap it around Kit. He buried his sunburnt face in her spiky black hair, inhaling deeply. She smelled like that herbal shampoo that her Grandfather thought was a gift from the gods and should have been paid a commission to ramble on about.

“‘Course it wasn’t, Kitty. Love you too much to stay dead.”

Word Count: 132

© M. Lai 2014

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Saved

“We did it. Loki, it’s over — we’ve really done it!”

As the minutes past midnight continued to add up, we both sat wide eyed, hardly willing to believe. All the fear and uncertainty seemed to shiver and flake away. The moonlight streamed in, giving the disbelieving trickster god a shimmering halo. I beamed at him, overflowing with pride for him and his accomplishment. If any small part of it was due to my support and refusal to give up the notion that he could and would be redeemed, then I was a lucky mortal indeed.

Just then, there was an odd sound at my side. As it continued, I realized it was the hiccupy laughter of relief. Dissolving into a nervous combination of shock and glee, Loki threw his arms around my shoulders, surprising me. Not knowing what to do, I somewhat awkwardly patted his arms until he pulled away, grinning so wide he’d have put a Cheshire cat to shame.

“Thank you,” he said between peals of laughter, “for not giving up. You — you believed there was a man when all I saw was a monster. And I will always be grateful for that.”

Word Count: 195

© M. Lai 2014

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Today’s the Day

The silver tongued God of Mischief was unusually somber today. He sat in a corner, head bowed in thought. The sleeves of his fitted black shirt were rolled up, drawing my eye automatically to the scars that laced his pale forearms. His vows to himself, made upon the edge of a knife.

“Today’s the day,” I said, which in retrospect was a pretty terrible way to break the silence. Loki gave me a look that told me he was all too aware of what day it was. He said nothing, though, turning instead to look out the window. Red tendrils of hair blew across his perfectly shaped nose, like flames licking polar ice. I took a deep breath and sat down next to the reformed shapeshifter, folding my hands in my lap. Everything I could think of to say sounded superficial or downright silly. 

“Ragnarök,” Loki finally said. He looked up and met my gaze. Never before had I seen so much fear written across his usually haughty face. I almost wanted to look away - I felt somehow as if I was intruding, seeing so much of the emotion he tried all too hard to hide. If he had been one of my human friends, I would have patted him on the back, or taken his hand. But he was a god, and I’d never be so presumptuous as to casually make contact with him. This lack of a frame of reference made me feel rather useless. Surely there was something more I could do?

“Look at it this way,” I finally said, hoping what I was about to say brought some semblance of comfort. “If we survive today, then we’ve done it! Your redemption will be proven. If we survive today, Loki Laufeyjarson, then we truly will have saved the world.”

All this earned me was a scoff from the red haired trickster. “There is a difference, my friend, between saving the world and simply not destroying it.”

Still, as he said this, a small smile flitted across his thin lips.

Word Count: 342

© M. Lai, 2014

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A Tweet Collection

Here’s a summary of my twitter-fiction from the past couple days, for those of you not on twitter!

- (1)

He wore his scars with swagger and smirk, all spark and no extinguisher. The kind of man who if you set aflame, smiled and watched the fire  

- (2)

As she pulled him close, greyish skin warm through his suit, it didn’t even matter that she could feel his intestines against her torso.

- (3)

Dean wondered if krakens dreamed the same things humans did - Volker’s powerful tentacles often writhed and coiled as if crushing ships.

- (4)

She cried for the hope in his eyes that could not be extinguished, and for the purity that stood firm before a swirling chasm of hate.

- (5)

Lately, it was getting difficult to count the number of bones she’d broken. Maybe that was a sign that she needed a new job.

- (6)

If he was not the Reaper, she would continue to dance in the sunlight. It seemed a pity for such a life to end so soon.

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