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Tea and Conquest (Cult of the Butterfly 4)
Tea and Conquest (Cult of the Butterfly 4)
The sun was setting, spilling egg yoke fire across the distant skyline and painting Raina’s backyard in shades of ochre and dragon fire red. Her fig trees were starting to flower, the bottom of the garden a riot of insect life in the fading twilight. There’d be bats later, taking advantage of the killing ground her open lawn offered.
Vibration in his palm brought Sebastian’s attention back to his screen, where battle reports were coming in from the other R4s. They’d been coordinating with a rival tribe to take down a third who’d come storming into their territory, wreaking havoc in the glens. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all that. And from the looks of the numbers on his screen, it would appear the sting went well. It was part of the reason for his lingering presence this evening. True, Raina’s mother usually took one look at him and announced he needed feeding up, but shift patterns and
:icongladefaun:GladeFaun 0 0
Mature content
Like a Dog (Cult of the Butterfly 3) [CLEAN] :icongladefaun:GladeFaun 0 0
In Nomeni Patri (Cult of the Butterfly 2)
In Nomeni Patri (Cult of the Butterfly 2)
“Bless me Father, for I have sinned.”
The confessional. One of the Church’s most sacred institutions. In this nu-millennial age the realities of social anxiety and financial stress were still taking their toll, leaving the common bod with a fistful of woes to face that had no ready fix available.
The hunter-gather psyche was poorly equipped to deal with such issues. Thus, any sort of outlet that offered some small hope of release became increasingly important. The anonymity of the faceless listener could not be underestimated, in this day and age any more than the last.
“Bless me Father, for I have sinned.”
A monotony of anguish and slight. Some of it imagined, some not so much. The Brotherhood took a more prosaic view of the situation than its parent institution. Members receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation were encouraged to go beyond the traditional ritual when considering Acts of Atonement.
We are here
:icongladefaun:GladeFaun 0 0
Mature content
Debutante at the Ball (Cult of the Butterfly 1) :icongladefaun:GladeFaun 1 0
Midnight Train
Midnight train travels my tracks
carrying unshed tears.
High above the ice
that grips my arms, constraining
My agitation, binding
it for the devil it is
Twined, in bloody thorns
:icongladefaun:GladeFaun 2 3
An Unexpected Visitor to Marshall College
An Unexpected Visitor to Marshall College.
“You have a visitor.”
The old man sighed, setting his papers to one side and removing his glasses to give the pretty intern at the door his full attention. “A visitor?”
She nodded. “From London.”
Understanding dawned. “The Brit.”
The intern pursed her lips in what could best be described as doting disapproval. It was the sort of expression one reserved for grandfathers who were being difficult.
It made him feel old, though the answering smile that touched his lips was genuine. And earned him the cheeky grin he’d been hoping for in response. Setting the glasses down, he glanced at the empty classroom in front of him, debating briefly, then shrugged.
Let her see the truth. I’m proud of who I’ve become.
“She waiting outside?”
“I left her by the trophy cases.”
Good girl. He nodded, careful t
:icongladefaun:GladeFaun 2 6
Mature content
Black Orchid (Part Two): Peepshow :icongladefaun:GladeFaun 1 0
Mature content
Black Orchid (Part Two): Clean up on Aisle Three :icongladefaun:GladeFaun 1 0
C's gone...
Saw you smiling amongst
Botticelli clouds and
Gaultier Angels
As the gates swung back to let you in.
:icongladefaun:GladeFaun 1 4
Time out from the World (To Walk the Path 28)
Time out from the World (Path 28)
“The ‘Circle of Virgin Thorns’...? It sounds like dodgy porn if you ask me.”
Timo stuck his tongue out. “Good job I didn't then.”
“Least you got us in there somewhere.”
“Could hardly miss you out, after all you've done for me.”
Ikari smiled, gazing away at the ring where it bisected the night sky overhead.
“Now...” Timo leant in the squeeze his arm. “No getting maudlin, you promised!”
“I know...” The Nym shook his head, smile sad. Timo reached up to rescue the tear on his cheek, kissed him softly. The Nym's skin was cool and salty, a fact not entirely down to the tears: the Run had hit some rough weather on the way out of Mestrarl. Summer storms were particularly bad this year according to Enrico.
Yet tonight the sky was clear as a bell, the ring and the stars behind it painting the heavens with all their beauty.
Ikari pushed away from the rail to r
:icongladefaun:GladeFaun 0 0
Love Beneath the Stars (To Walk the Path 27)
Love beneath the Stars (To Walk the Path 27)
Rivan was stood alone smoking quietly at the centre of an abandoned dance square, the coral lanterns a soft glow to either side. Somewhere a guitarist was strumming idly, picking out notes above the chords as voices from the various small groups still doted about murmured in the pre-dawn darkness.
Really need to do something about my sleeping patterns, he mused, smiling ruefully to himself. Getting up for the ceremony this morning had been a real effort, but now it was coming up on the next morning and he was still wide awake. He knew he’d pay for it day after tomorrow when it eventually caught up with him, but such concerns had no place in this rare moment of content.
A clearing throat made him look up, and he smiled reflexively at the figure wandering out into the open space, only belatedly realising who it was.
“...Rupert Taiin! As I live and breath.”
The clerk smiled self deprecatingly, blond forelock falling t
:icongladefaun:GladeFaun 0 0
Vows (To Walk the Path 26)
Vows (To Walk the Path 26)
Crisp sunshine lit the sky as the famous (and infamous) gathered from across the Arc. The streets of Incarnate were lined with well wishers, many of whom had been up since before dawn to stake out their spot. Caitlin had been clear on this point: a spectacle was important, not as a demonstration of power, but a message of inclusion.
“We need the people to feel like they’re part of this. The Precinct’s big, but we can only cram so many into the grounds. Particularly when you will insist on inviting Drakes to the occasion.”
Mikael had held up his hands, pointing at his sister, who had arrived a few days earlier looking tanned.
“Hey, don’t look at me!” Clarissa had protested. “Blame Timo, he’s the one with the scaly fan club.”
So a parade it was, complete with carriage drawn by a matched set from Railu’s own herds. Caitlin had wanted to ride Mustangs through the streets, but Mikael had pointed out
:icongladefaun:GladeFaun 0 0
Mature content
Dust Settles (To Walk the Path 25) :icongladefaun:GladeFaun 0 0
Mature content
Blood on the Walls (To Walk the Path 24) :icongladefaun:GladeFaun 0 0
Mature content
The Seal (To Walk the Path 23) :icongladefaun:GladeFaun 1 0
Old Friend, Fresh Face (To Walk the Path 22)
Old Friend, Fresh Face (To Walk the Path 22)
The Captain of the Baracudae lowered his telescope, eyes narrowing. “What are they playing at?”
“I don’t know sir.” His lieutenant bobbed unctuously. “Orders?”
“Ready the batteries. If they’ve had enough then we had best oblige them with the killing blow.”
“Aye aye Captain.”
The lieutenant scurried away across the aft castle, heading for the ladder down to the main deck, and the scorpions that dominated this end of the huge ship. The trebuchet would be more devastating but it took longer to calibrate them for the required distance and they needed to be quick. The pertinent point being of course that they had (as yet) failed to score any sort of significant hit on the much smaller, but therefore far more manoeuvrable, craft they currently faced off against.
He slid to the base of the ladder and was setting off across the main deck when the ship pitched suddenly beneath hi
:icongladefaun:GladeFaun 0 0


vigilance intensifies... or something like that by nebezial vigilance intensifies... or something like that :iconnebezial:nebezial 1,012 219
Growing Up
i'm playing hide and seek
with my inner child.
i must admit
he concealed himself well.
:iconpolaranemone:PolarAnemone 17 7
DDSuggestionDrive Feature!
Today is a day to feature some of the participants of January 2017 DD Suggestion Drive!
This year, more than 2100 artists were suggested!

The top 5 suggesters were:
:iconbluediscord: :iconcatgirldstr11: :iconlenacobral:  :iconbluenight01: :iconramwoc87:
but this time I'm featuring random people who participated in the event. Let's see their artworks!
*    *    *    *    *    *

:iconuszatyarbuz:UszatyArbuz 7 12
The Watch by Mouselemur The Watch :iconmouselemur:Mouselemur 117 20
the riptide
There’s nothing but ocean
So I pick a star, any star
(because any star will do)
and it becomes mine, my North Star,  
until I lose my way again,
lose sight of the vaulted ceiling,
forget the color and bent of the sky
until I grab another, latch onto a lifeline,
clutch it close to myself, ask,
Are you it? Are you my North Star?
And it must be—
I have nothing else.
:iconspiritfingers:SpiritFingers 11 21
Results for the January 2017 DD Suggestion Drive
First, some statistics
A total of 2,128 artists were suggested!
:spotlight-left:  Our Top Five Suggesters  :spotlight-right:
:iconbluediscord: with 529 Artists Suggested 
:iconcatgirldstr11: with 446 Artists Suggested 
:iconlenacobral:  with 298 Artists Suggested 
:iconbluenight01: with 243 Artists Suggested
:iconramwoc87:  with 212 Artists Suggested 
:wow: These 5 people suggested nearly 90% of all the artists in the drive! :wow:
:clap: Please give them a HUGE round of applause! :clap:
:icongeorgexvii:GeorgeXVII 64 60
Motoko Kusanagi by AKIOMI Motoko Kusanagi :iconakiomi:AKIOMI 280 22 GITS - The Lina Project by lnd-05
Mature content
GITS - The Lina Project :iconlnd-05:lnd-05 136 75
Hollow Shell
As I sit here crying,
The only sound is the nothingness
That fills me.
There's something
I have always wanted,
That will never be.
I will always be a hollow shell.
My soul and hope are gone
And without him I'm empty.
:iconreznor70:reznor70 17 40
GHOST IN THE SHELL by chesterocampo GHOST IN THE SHELL :iconchesterocampo:chesterocampo 6,954 591 The Outsider by TholiaArt The Outsider :icontholiaart:TholiaArt 357 95 Tombraider Fanart by jennyisdrawing Tombraider Fanart :iconjennyisdrawing:jennyisdrawing 1,347 100 Eclif by TinyWindowless Eclif :icontinywindowless:TinyWindowless 3 2 InTheDark by sarararon InTheDark :iconsarararon:sarararon 20 17 l u m o s by Glinel l u m o s :iconglinel:Glinel 109 84



:icongentlemananachronism: :iconnarnia564: :iconnergling: :icondays-be-strange: :iconliliwrites: :iconmissvixy: :iconhiddenbytheleaves: :iconanthromancer:

Journal History


GladeFaun's Profile Picture
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United Kingdom
Greetings traveller. Welcome to my gallery.

I'm a literary and visual artist (hence the 'varied' above), with a slight lean towards the written word. Been a member on here for some years, but only actively so for the last few. I'm not a regular poster - my work/commute schedule does not lend itself to reliability - but I do try and get on here at least once a fortnight to swing through the forums etc. DeviantART is a community after all :)

For anyone reading this whose interested primarily in my writing (and has an e-reader), you might be well advised to head on over to my Smashwords page here… where you can find my work available to download in almost any format you can imagine.

Titles include:

My newest endeavor the 'Cult of the Butterfly', which a friend lovingly coined my 'drag queen witches thing' :D. Chapter one is featured opposite, and I plan to attempt something approaching a regular release schedule for consequent installments over the coming year.

'The Star Plague Journals', my four book cyber-fantasy, now complete. You can find the first chapter of book one 'The Orphans Revolt' here

'Harlem's Deck', whose first chapter 'Fairground Attraction' ( won me a DD from the kind people of the lit community :)

'Filthy Gore' (what it says on the tin - sex and violence, with a paranormal twist). 'Black Orchid' is the most recent addition to this set. It can be found here and here

Anyway, thanks for washing in on the surf. Enjoy your look around x


Tea and Conquest (Cult of the Butterfly 4)

The sun was setting, spilling egg yoke fire across the distant skyline and painting Raina’s backyard in shades of ochre and dragon fire red. Her fig trees were starting to flower, the bottom of the garden a riot of insect life in the fading twilight. There’d be bats later, taking advantage of the killing ground her open lawn offered.

Vibration in his palm brought Sebastian’s attention back to his screen, where battle reports were coming in from the other R4s. They’d been coordinating with a rival tribe to take down a third who’d come storming into their territory, wreaking havoc in the glens. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all that. And from the looks of the numbers on his screen, it would appear the sting went well. It was part of the reason for his lingering presence this evening. True, Raina’s mother usually took one look at him and announced he needed feeding up, but shift patterns and study commitments didn’t always allow for him to stay much beyond the return of either household matriarch from their day jobs. So he’d been treated to a bowl of Madam J’s infamous gumbo, sopped up with hunks of crusty bread slathered in cream cheese and washed down with pint pots of Kaid’s homemade lemonade. This last was part of a school project Kaid’s class were doing that required the serious five year old to then gather feedback from his guinea pigs.

Personally, Seb thought this was a subtle ploy on the teacher’s part to give everyone else a taste of what her working day was like but he schooled his features, receiving a nod of approval from Maisey afterwards. Raina’s eldest was incredibly protective of her younger siblings, a trait brought on at least in part by the weight of responsibility she’d been forced to shoulder after her father walked out on them. Certainly Kaid and Lucy looked up to her like a second mother.

The creak of the screen door made him turn, and he smiled as Raina stepped out onto the veranda, tray in hand. It bore a pair of citronella candles and a brimming jug of mojito.

“Kaid’s teacher should get them to make this in class,” Seb suggested, smiling as she laid the tray carefully between them before taking a seat on the step.

“Not sure whether the mixing of alcohol would go down so well with the board of governors,” Raina replied, chuckling.

“I suppose your average room of five year old is hyper enough without further stimulants.”

“Oh I don’t know, you should see them at story time. Mr Bear has a real talent for getting them to settle.”

“Hmm, I still think it’s creepy they let the school janitor read to them.”

Raina rolled her eyes. “Only because you have a warped mind. He’s a harmless old man. Used to be an actor you know. Why he’s so good at story time.”

“Thespians, bah! Bunch of degenerates if you ask me. All after something.” But he was grinning as he said it.

“And you witches aren’t?”

He placed a palm solemnly against his chest. “We users follow a higher calling.”

“In your case, one that seems to be dictated by your dick.”


“Hush! Kaid’s just settled down and Mum’s reading to Lucy so she’ll nod off too.”

“Sorry.” He gestured at the glasses. “Shall I pour?”

“Why thank you.”

He served up for them both while she checked her own screen, swiping through the various chat threads.

She accepted her glass with a nod of thanks. “So, it went well.”

He nodded, fingering his own screen. “Think we’ve got them pretty much running for the hills with their kilts pulled up about their chins in dismay.”

Raina raised an eyebrow. “Surely that’d leave certain other areas exposed?”

He shrugged. “Perhaps. But you’ve gotta have something to clutch in fright.” He took a swig of his drink, lips smacking appreciatively. “Suppose it could be their arses, seeing as how they have just been handed them on a plate.”

“What an unnecessarily gory image.”

He rolled his eyes. “You know, for a fearless warrior queen you really don’t have a very strong stomach.”

“Yeah? Well, not all of us spend time dismembering flying rodents in their spare time.”
“I’ve already told you it’s toe of bat. Toe. Not spleen, or liver, or any other internal organ for that matter...”

A cleared throat sounded behind them. Both turned to find a pair of stern faces and crossed arms regarding them.

“If you two don’t mind, might you keep the noise down?” the older woman enquired.

“You’re ruining Tod and the Fire Giants,” Lucy explained, delicate features screwed up in censure. The mass of her unruly red curls did not help Seb in his efforts not to laugh.

“I’m sorry sweetheart. Mummy and Uncle Seb promise to be quieter with their victory celebrations.”

Lucy considered this for a moment, glancing up at her Grandmother. Mrs Johnson senior gave the slightest of nods, gesturing minutely with a finger. Lucy stepped forwards, accepting Seb’s quiet apology and good night kiss, and the hug her mother proffered before returning to her Grandmother’s embrace.

“I’ll be turning in myself directly afterwards,” the old woman announced. “Maeve and I have an early start tomorrow.”

Raina stood to give her mother a quick embrace. “We’ll keep it down.”

Madam J nodded, smiling at Seb over her daughter’s shoulder as she kissed her forehead. “Don’t stay up too late you two.” She stepped back inside. “Peace be with you young Wicca, we’ll see you again at the weekend.”

Seb raised a hand as the old woman and her charge walked back up the hall into the house. He always found it unsettling when Raina’s mother invoked his craft. It left him with the disconcerting impression she could see what he was, what he harboured.

“Hey, you know she doesn’t mean any harm, right?”

He turned to Raina, smiling. “I know. Just gives me the heebie jeebies is all.”

Raina laughed quietly. “Seriously? You?”

He shrugged. “Everyone’s freaked out by something. Can just imagine her knelt before that little alter of hers, praying to all those little saints to save my soul.”

“Now you’re just stereotyping.”

Sebastian topped up their glasses, chin raised with eyes wide. “Perhaps. But she does have an alter.”

Raina stuck her tongue out. Slipped a hand down the front of her top to produce a couple of blunts.

“Ah!” he exclaimed sotto voce. “The victory dance.”

She nodded. “Quite.” Passed him one and leant in to light her own off the flame he clicked into being above his thumb. They both took a drag together, holding the smoke in their lungs. Seb caved first, sputtering quietly as he cleared the dregs. Grinning as Raina released hers in a practised plume.

“So, tomorrow’s the big night.”

He nodded.

She eyed him shrewdly. “You seem… nervous?”

He flashed a smile. “It’s… difficult, I don’t know. Been planning this for so long, and now here we are. Can’t shake the feeling it’s all going to go horribly wrong.”

“Why?” She sipped her mojito. “Hmm, that’s good if I do say so myself.”

“I don’t know. I’d not really factored in any of the interpersonal stuff. Like Merran, or Devan’s relationship with Carlton and Drew. I feel like I’m stepping onto a minefield without knowing where the charges were laid.”

“But that’s why you decided to take your time. Gives you the opportunity to unpick all of that, at least to the point where you can understand most of the likely outcomes.”

“I suppose.” He shrugged. “It’s just cold feet I guess. Like anyone about to make a big commitment.”

“Yeah. Just count yourself lucky yours doesn’t involve a white veil and a scumbag with Mummy issues.”

He raised his glass to chink it against hers. “I do indeed count myself so blessed. Besides, we both know white would be a terrible colour for me.”

“Hmm, yours would need to be harlot red.”


“Or possibly jade… See what I did there?”

“Yes, very funny.” He sighed. “Anyway, back to shop talk. What are we going to do about Cod?”

Her brow furrowed. “I dunno. Wait to see whether they honour the accord first, I guess. If they don’t move we know we’ve got a problem on our hands.”

“Yeah, a problem that includes three high level castles and a sacred circle.”

“They can only use that thing twice during an event. It’s their skin changers I’m more worried about.”

“Yeah. Brings a whole new meaning to the ‘surprise’  in the nursery rhyme: that the bears involved might end up picnicking on you.”

She laughed. “Well, if you spent a little less time gathering skymetal for those ridiculously phallic swords you might have more resources to spare for your own band of teddies.” She took a drag on the blunt. “Always thought that’d be cool, being able to shape change. Haven’t you?”

“Ew, no?!” Besides, what I do isn’t technically shape changing... “Can you imagine how painful it’d be?” Seb shuddered. “All those breaking bones and stuff...”

“But surely if it was magic it wouldn’t hurt?”

Seb patted her on the arm. “Sister, magic always hurts if that’s an option. Trust me, I speak from experience.”

She eyed him through the haze of smoke between them. “I’m not entirely sure I want to know, Mr Laikee.”

He shook his head, grinning. “No, to be fair you probably don’t.” He took swig of his drink. “Let’s talk about something else. How’s Clave?”

She blushed. “Busy with a niece’s birthday party. Said he’ll be on tomorrow.”

“Hmm, I did wonder why he was being so quiet. Quite aside from it being mid morning over there.”

“His sister’s talking about coming this way in the summer...”

“And he might just decide to join them? Raina that’s fantastic news!”

“He hasn’t said anything yet...”

“With that man it’s more about what he doesn’t say.”

“Yes, well. Just you keep it to yourself, you hear? Mum doesn’t know...”

Seb gave her a wide eyed look.

“Oh she knows about him,” Raina reassured him. “I was surprised actually at the progressive attitude she took, but then she does have friends she cams with up in Neppon. I just haven’t told her he might come this way.”

“Planning to introduce him on the doorstep are we? ‘Hi Mum, this is the long distance lover I’ve been telling you about. Might want to buy some ear plugs for the next week or so. And don’t worry, Seb’s having the kids.’”

“First of all, I would never do that to my mother. It’d just be weird.” She shivered. “Secondly, who says I’d trust you with my kids?”

“You do now.”

“No, I trust Maisey with them. You’re just there in case some jumped up neighbour decides to start bawling about minors left unattended...” she reached over to squeeze his arm at her expression “...I’m joking! I’m joking… though we’d have to do some serious childproofing before we let Kaid loose in your apartment.”

“That I will concede.” He chugged the last of his glass. “Right Mrs. Time for me to hit the hay I think.”

She nodded. “I won’t be far behind you. Couch is all made up for you. And apologies if young man disturbs you first thing.”

Seb shook his head, grinning. “It’s cool. Think I’d miss it if he didn’t. You staying up for a bit?”

She waved her half finished blunt, which had gone out. “Thought I’d finish this, soak up the moment.”

He nodded. “Bit of well earned solitude.” Standing, he leant across to offer her a peck on the cheek. “Night Raina.”

“Night love.”

Copyright Paul Smith 2017.
Tea and Conquest (Cult of the Butterfly 4)

Seb always looked forward to dinner at Raina’s for two reasons: her kids, and her mother’s famous gumbo. But tonight there was a third reason for celebration: their recent victory in Woad.

There is a murderer stalking the city of Shensang. His name is Sebastian Laikee, and a blue butterfly stirs deep in his soul, shaking out fractal wings. As the storm of possibilities unfolds he must choose his path (and his allies) with care if he is to succeed.

Tea and Conquest is the fourth installment of Cult of the Butterfly, my latest piece of serial fiction. As ever, smashwords edition can be found here…


Mature Content

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Like a Dog (Cult of the Butterfly 3)

Devan shivered as he stepped back out into the evening air. Spared a brief glance for the building stood behind him huddled amidst the surrounding apartment blocks before setting off up the street. Thomas’ church sat in the middle of Highgate, one of the old inner city suburbs that had seen better days. The Insurgency had not been kind to the place, leaving it in desperate need of some financial input. But with the city’s fat cats moving out of town following the unrest, the city council had decided the cash might be better splashed elsewhere. So now the district belonged to those who needed easy access to the city’s central and commercial districts but couldn’t afford the likes of Sunrise heights or the Copse.

It wasn’t a bad area: crime wasn’t particularly higher than elsewhere, but then that wasn’t saying a great deal in a city whose soul was so tarnished he suspected even Jesus would have a hard time scrubbing it up.

Time to bring out the marigolds mate.

Grinning, he headed up the street, plugging earphones in as he went. Bit of Bletchley I think.

Stuffing his hands in his pockets he made for the end of the street, ignoring the crossing as he headed north for the end of Dipong. Across the tea gardens the Western Line curved in to skirt the head of the square before turning north towards Shizilu Station, where he could change for the Suburban.

The tail end of rush hour was still littering the platform as he arrived, slipping between men and women dressed for the office. The tea gardens were a popular stop off for those who didn’t have to rush home, or had palms to grease away from their boss’s all seeing eye, so he only just made it onto the next train that pulled in. Spent the entire ride stuck between a couple of youngsters in the latest Chen Tza broadcloth, and a pair of nurses heading in for the night shift. He smiled at the nurses, rolling his eyes with them when one of the suit’s crasser comments penetrated Bletchley’s low drawl. Gestured them out first as their ride pitched up on the satellite platforms which ran down Shi’s western edge. Disembarked himself, leaving the youngsters to their dodgy politics as he crossed to survey the board.

Hmm, half an hour ‘til the next one.

A slow smile spread across his face. Turning, he made his way casually towards the far end of the platform, where a set of broad stairs led down towards the gents.


“I’m home…?!” He pulled out his headphones, cocking his head and grinning at the sudden scrabble of claws on hardwood. “Rus!” Scooped the tiny bundle of energy up to ruffle it’s ears, grinning at the excited yapping that ensued. “Where’s Daddy, eh? Where’s your Dad?”
The tiny dog barked enthusiastically, tail wagging furiously as he attempted to burrow into the depths of Devan’s armpit. “Hey! Seriously dude, I don’t stink that much. Come on.” He deposited the ball of excitement back on the floor. “You need to go out?”

The dog sat abruptly, tail wagging. Yapped once.

“Well ok then. Come on.” He strode down the entrance hall, crossing the lounge at the far end to unlock the patio doors. A fresh bout of yapping was followed by a swift exit onto the decking and down into the garden proper beyond. Devan grinned, shaking his head as he turned, leaving the door ajar as he headed for the open plan kitchen. Deposited the bundle of his phone and headphones onto the counter as he headed for the fridge. It’s light spilled out into the darkened room as he surveyed the contents, torn.

Fuck it.

Reaching in, he removed a beer, twisting the top off as he closed the door once more. Flicked the under cabinet lights on to keep the deepening twilight at bay. Took a long swallow from the bottle, sighing contentedly as he leant back against the counter.

Ah ha.

Reached across for the note pinned to the fridge. “‘Gone fishing. Be back tomorrow.’”

So, trade.

Devan grinned, shaking his head. Mitchel was the epitome of the gay bachelor, always on the lookout for the next bit of fun. The fact he was rich and fairly well hung just compounded the situation.

There really is no hope for you my friend.

Mitch was adamant that he would eventually settle down, but in his mid forties there was little sign of that yet happening. A situation not helped by the string of fit young men who seemed to find his particular blend of confident charm irresistible. This, combined with his job (he’d taken the same step as many ageing recording artists and gone from musician to producer at his own label) meant that Devan got the house to himself a lot of the time.

Well, mostly… he amended, as Rus came charging in to do a lap around the lounge before exiting once again. The chihuahua ostensibly belonged to Mitch, but in practicality Devan took care of him as often as not. A reality that didn’t seem to bother the tiny canine in the slightest. It was an arrangement that suited both men entirely. Their work and social lives kept them busy at different times, so that they probably only shared the living space two or three times a week.

Not that that’s a chore… he considered, surveying the spacious lounge. The other advantage of them both being on good money: their house, though out in the suburbs, was at least twice the size of Carlton and Drew’s flat, and that wasn’t tiny.

Right, time for a shower. Striping off the tee he’d been wearing he opened the washer and threw it in, grabbing his beer as he headed for the stairs.

A couple of hours later he opened the fridge to fish out his second beer. Dinner and the resultant dishes were done. Bletchley’s croon had been swapped for the liquid synths of Lipid Shock on the stereo and Rus was snoozing in his bed after his walk. Flipping the kitchen light off, Devan skirted the breakfast bar and crossed into the lounge, collapsing into the recliner that served them as an office chair. The desktop sensed his presence, chirping to life with a quiet whir of fans. He proffered his palm in the cams general direction and the computer piped a greeting in response, light unfolding on the monitor as he set up his key space. Lounging back he flicked the browser icon, waiting as it cycled into being.

“Time to see what the wider world has to say.”

The Glade forums were abuzz with the Queen’s birthday. Likewise the coven sites. Merran had clearly jizzed all over their own VPN with (Devan was amused to see) a variety of pics that just happened to include Sebastian’s blond mop lurking in the background.

Cheeky, but not without precedence, he mused, remembering his own introduction to the sisterhood.

He completed the expected round of validation, thumbing hearts and stars as site appropriate. Paused to grin at a particularly saucy comment from Swan. Offered a pointed response about thorns in uncomfortable places.

Last on the list was the art commune he frequented. Plucking the offending snaps from his phone he flicked them across to the main screen, finessing the order into something more pleasingly narrative before thumbing the post button. His inbox contained responses from two of his regular correspondents. One was thanks for a recent critique he’d offered, the other part of an ongoing conversation with the young poet from across the water he’d been chatting to. The guy’s poetry was intricately beautiful, and though much of it was quite dark there was often a glimmer of hope at its heart, like a night sky shot threw with starlight.

‘Don’t worry, it’s going to be ok’ read the tagline on his profile. Seeing it never failed to make Devan smile.

The door went. Leaning back in the chair he raised an eyebrow, grinning at the expression on Mitch’s face as he entered the lounge.

“That went well then?”

Mitch grabbed a beer from the fridge, pulling a face as he dropped his keys onto the breakfast counter.

“Not quite what you were expecting?”

“Not really.” Mitch took a long pull from the bottle, lips smacking in appreciation. “Wish people wouldn’t piss about like that online. I hate fucking time wasters.”

Devan nodded, tapped the send button on his response before closing everything down with a casual wave. “The joys of online anonymity.”

Mitch growled. “Yeah, but that only works up until you agree to meet someone.” Crossing to the lounge he dropped onto the couch with a sigh of relief, glancing at the unresponsive Rus. “Hello to you too, flea bag.”

“Leave him alone, he’s had a hard day.”

“Hard day my arse. You let him out?”

“Took him for a walk too.”

“My he has been spoilt!” Mitch raised his bottle in a toast. “Thank you.”

“No bother. Meant I could justify desert.”

Mitch chortled. “I was wondering why you were looking like the cat that got the cream.”

Oh dear, am I still smirking? He debated schooling his features, but it was a pointless exercise round a bloodhound like Mitch.

“So, your day go ok?” Mitch asked.

“Closed the deal on the Santiagos place. And been speaking to Swan about spaces for the upcoming equinox event.”

“I still say go with the carpark. It’s got the right sort of vibe for what he’s intending.”

Devan nodded. “I’m inclined to agree, but you know what he’s like. Digging his heels in to see if we cough up a better offer.”

Mitch laughed. “The joys of doing business with the ancient.” He took a long swig, smacking his lips in satisfaction. “You get a lift home?”

“Nah, had to swing by a friend on the way.”

Mitch’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “That friend live on platform fourteen by any chance?”

Bingo. “I may have had to wait for the suburban...”

Mitch’s laugh was full bodied and ribald. Devan found himself grinning along, blushing for some reason like a school boy.

“Well, at least one of us got lucky,” the other man offered, hoisting himself to his feet. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

Devan nodded. “There’s the new episodes of Rain?”

“It’s a date.” Mitch stood, leaning down to scratch behind the chihuahua’s ears. Groaned as he straightened to head for the stairs. “Might want to put some ear plugs in if you’re coming up.”

“Too much information!” Devan called after him, receiving a finger in response as Mitch mounted the stairs. Smiling he went to put away the dishes.

A disgruntled noise drew his attention to the dog’s bed. He peered over the counter. “I’m sorry, did I disturb someone?”

Rus snuffled low in his throat. Devan blinked, flipping to peer across at the otherside. The canine monstrosity there cracked one smoking green eye at him, head like a small convertible shifting on its forepaws. He blinked back before his mind could put too much effort into spatial reconciliation. It’d only give him a migrane.

Finishing up, Devan flipped the light out as he headed for the stairs.

“Later dude.”

Another snuffle followed him upstairs to bed, and thoughts of what the following evening had in store.

Copyright Paul Smith 2017.
Like a Dog (Cult of the Butterfly 3) [CLEAN]

Like many gay men Devan viewed the rush hour commute as an opportunity, not a chore.  

There is a murderer stalking the city of Shensang. His name is Sebastian Laikee, and a blue butterfly stirs deep in his soul, shaking out fractal wings. As the storm of possibilities unfolds he must choose his path (and his allies) with care if he is to succeed.

Like a Dog is the third installment of Cult of the Butterfly, my latest piece of serial fiction. 

The [EXPLICIT] version can be found in a variety of e-reader friendly versions on smashwords here…

In Nomeni Patri (Cult of the Butterfly 2)

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned.”

The confessional. One of the Church’s most sacred institutions. In this nu-millennial age the realities of social anxiety and financial stress were still taking their toll, leaving the common bod with a fistful of woes to face that had no ready fix available.

The hunter-gather psyche was poorly equipped to deal with such issues. Thus, any sort of outlet that offered some small hope of release became increasingly important. The anonymity of the faceless listener could not be underestimated, in this day and age any more than the last.

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned.”

A monotony of anguish and slight. Some of it imagined, some not so much. The Brotherhood took a more prosaic view of the situation than its parent institution. Members receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation were encouraged to go beyond the traditional ritual when considering Acts of Atonement.

We are here to make a difference, his old tutor, Father Makri used to say, wrinkled jowls creased in a smile, let that difference be relevant! Let the advice you offer be tangible, rather than some vague piece of proselytising. Otherwise our presence out here amongst the stars becomes little more than a well intentioned farce.

Such statements usually prompted some quote from one of Makri’s favourite comedies; the man was famously irreverent in his tastes when it came to entertainment. But such mockery did not, Thomas felt, diminish his message. And it was one the young priest had taken with him when he finally left the Mission’s echoing halls to make a difference in the wider world.

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned.”

Some questioned the work he and his brothers did out here, questioned the very foundations of his faith.

How can you carry on when almost everyday the news features some fresh atrocity involving the damned? Yet the most your side can muster are a handful of poorly documented interventions where they did little more than offer encouragement…

This sort of attitude, he rather felt, missed the point. That being that he, unlike his forebears, had actual proof of the enemy they sought to defeat.

What further validation of the righteousness of his cause should he need?

As to the lack of proof concerning his own side, well… it was called Faith for a reason.

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned. A lot.”

His gaze shot to the confessional window, peering through the ornate latticework that was one of his church’s few riches. The Brotherhood of St. Christopher was not a wealthy arm of the faith, for all it was it’s most wide reaching.

“What are you doing here?”

“What does it look like? I’ve come to confess.”

“You can’t be here,” Thomas hissed, leaning towards the rosewood screen, “someone might see you!”

“Who? The place is deserted.”

Thomas cursed under his breath, wrestling for a moment with cross in hand before stepping from the box. I will not desecrate the sanctity of this institution. Standing in the echoing cool of the nave, he smoothed a hand down the front of his cassock, touched his dog collar self consciously as the other man emerged. Strong. You must be strong.

“Nice place you’ve got here.”

“What do you want Devan?”

Devan eyed him, chin up, head back, one hand raised unconsciously to his lips. Thomas made himself look away, started instead across the nave towards the central aisle, fumbling his lighter from pocket of his robes. Glanced over his shoulder when there was no sound of following feet. Found Devan watching him from the rear of the pews.

“Seriously Devan...” he began lighting candles, lifting them one at a time from their tall, wrought iron stands to touch flame to wick before replacing them. He was well aware many found his use of the old flint wheel nuzo something of an anachronism within these walls, but Thomas saw no problem, given his mission.

“I just thought I ought to keep you abreast of developments.”

The penny dropped. “The party. Of course!” Thomas placed the last candle back on it’s stand, snapping the lighter shut with a practised flick that made Devan smile. “Well, how did it go?” he asked, advancing back up the aisle.

Devan shook his head, smiling. “Well.” Lifted those beautiful eyes to meet Thomas’ own. “As can be expected at this stage, anyway.”

Thomas nodded. “Excellent. That’s good. The introduction occurred?”

Devan grimaced. “It was brief, but then given the occasion...” he shrugged those broad shoulders “...the real test will be later this week.”

“Ah, yes...” Thomas forced his expression to remain neutral. “The coven.”

“You could try saying it like it wasn’t a dirty word. I thought your lot were supposed to respect other people’s beliefs.”

“We are, as long as those beliefs don’t impinge upon civil liberty.”

That shut him up. Thomas sighed at the downcast look Devan now wore. “You’re doing the right thing now. That’s what matters.”

“So I keep telling myself.”

Thomas stepped forward to squeeze his shoulder. Ignored the twinge in his belly as the other man met his gaze. “You’d best go.” He glanced at his watch. “Evenings usually attract more of the old dears, and they have a tendency to turn up early.”

Sighing, Devan turned to go, striding towards the double doors that headed the nave.

“Let me know how it goes!?” Thomas called after him. The witch raised a hand as he slipped out the door.

The priest stood starring at the portal. Finally he turned away, a small sigh escaping his lips as he went back to his candles.

After the sermon there followed the usual round of PR. A process that could sometimes take almost as long as the sermon itself. Thomas had long ago learnt to allow for it in his day, though the sheer amount of minutiae produced by a parish, particularly an inner city one as hectic as his own, never ceased to amaze him. But he’d made a commitment when he’d taken the place on to be as involved as humanly possible. To show an interest in everything that went on, from the youth theatre group that rented the space once a week, to the Mother’s Union bake sale that Mrs Emerson so tactfully reminded him was looming on the horizon.

He wasn’t insane: his young verger Adisa was a Godsend (quite literally). And much as he may complain about May Emerson and her cronies on the MU, they formed one of the sturdiest of the pillars on which the community stood.

So he took his time, listening and carefully committing to memory anything important. Makri had considered it bad form for a Priest to be seen with pen and paper. It cheapens your relationship in their eyes, he’d argued, speaking about parishioners. They don’t want to feel like a diary note! The old man had chuckled. Appearing to know everything will do wonders for your reputation…

The sound of the outer door closing was always followed by a slow count to five (to be certain everyone had definitely gone). Then he’d walk swiftly but calmly to the cloister for several minutes of feverish word vomit, making sure to get everything down in the master diary. Memory disciplines or not, the short term memory was only made to hold so much information for so long.

He smiled fondly as he finished scrawling, remembering the time May Emerson had walked in on him. It was during his first month of tenure, back when they were all getting used to each other. There had definitely been that feeling of a mother walking in on her son doing something he shouldn’t be, a sense only deepened by the slightly awkward silence that ensued. Then she had smiled politely, apologising for the further intrusion but she’d “...forgotten to remind him about the flower arrangers due the following week”.

He’d thanked her, having regained some of his own composure.

She’d paused at the door, a small smile playing at the edges of her lips. “Don’t worry Father, your secret is safe with me.”

The wink she’d offered as she left spoke volumes about the three sons she’d raised.

Satisfied he’d got everything down, he did something unusual for him and returned to the nave, heading across the front of the pews to kneel before the alter steps.

Hello Father. He gazed up at the cross, imagining the tolerant smile of the man nailed there. Glanced to one side at one of the six stained glass windows that were his church’s other extravagance. St Christopher glowed with the fiery light of sunset, his patrician features surveying the room from above the neck ring of his space suit.

Father, it’s not in my nature to ask for things... he shook his head above his clasped hands, grinning wryly I won’t break the habit of a lifetime. But I was always taught that you are a good listener. So if you’ll indulge me? He took a breath, shifting position and feeling his right kneecap click in protest. I’m getting old. He glanced up at the alter again. That wasn’t a complaint! He chuckled. Surrender the trappings of youth and all that… Lord, I’m starting to sound like my mother. Yes, well…

Get to the point Thomas.

Hmm, yes. Conflicted emotions. Figurative hand wringing. You get the idea Lord…
he looked up at the figure on the cross again… sure you had to deal with more than your fair share in your time. So you’ll get where I’m coming from when I say things are starting to get a little... ‘murky’?

We’re approaching a juncture in our work here. And I find, now I face the crossroads again, that I’m not keen to step across the line a second time. I know… I know! … that this is why I am here. Why the Brotherhood have placed me in this city, where I might do what needs to be done. Life, any life, is sacred. It’s one of the first tenants of faith.
Everyone deserves a chance at forgiveness. You yourself died for that very reason…

He had to stop. Dab at the unexpected tears stinging the corners of his eyes. Sacrifice for the greater good. It was the reason he’d first joined the ministry as a younger man. The reason he’d taken his vows. The idea carried with it a rush of emotion that never failed to leave him feeling empowered.
But that didn’t stop the doubt.

I understand the reasons, and to be honest I agree in this instance with the course we have chosen. The council have meditated on it, as have I! Makri always tasked us: ‘be not a tool, a blind conduit. What the Church requires, make it your own. Take responsibility! And if you feel you can’t, say so! No one man can know God’s will.’ I believe there was a caveat in there concerning his Holiness in Rome (he chuckled at the memory of Makri’s pursed lips, the old man’s eyes dancing as he held up a finger to forestall any further cheek) but as his intercession is literally years away we must accept this burden ourselves.

So. We move forwards. And hope that things come out for the best. Amen.

He levered himself to his feet, ignoring the twinge from his knees. Not quite the spring chicken I used to be. Though he was well aware most of his colleagues in the city would laugh at him if he dared refer to himself as ‘old’ within their hearing.

With a final genuflection to the alter, and a nod for the Saint, he headed for the rear of the church to lock up.

Oh to have been born a few centuries and light years from here, where ‘dealing with people’s demons’ did not have quite such a literal meaning.

Copyright Paul Smith 2017.
In Nomeni Patri (Cult of the Butterfly 2)

Father Thomas takes his work very seriously. But even a man of the cloth such as himself can have his Faith tested.  

There is a murderer stalking the city of Shensang. His name is Sebastian Laikee, and a blue butterfly stirs deep in his soul, shaking out fractal wings. As the storm of possibilities unfolds he must choose his path (and his allies) with care if he is to succeed.

In Nomeni Patri is the second installment of The Cult of the Butterfly, my latest piece of serial fiction. It's also available on Smashwords here… in a variety of e-reader formats.

I love the 'If I could DD...' projects the CVs run :) ( Community Feature Project: If I Could DD
Didn't you wish you could DD some works sometimes because you found them amazing and thought that they deserved more exposure? Well, this is your chance! 
This December we are encouraging you to feature your fellow deviants with a journal of artworks that you would feature as a Daily Deviation (commonly called "DD") if you could. So let's embrace the Holiday Season and spread some good cheer by joining in and featuring our community!
How does it work?
Create and publish a journal feature of images that you would choose for a Daily Deviation Feature from your preferred gallery. (i.e. Literature writers and/or people who enjoy Literature would feature from the Literature gallery.)When your journal feature is live, link it back to the appropriate Community Volunteer's Community Feature Project Journal in the comments area. (i.e. If you choose to feature Literature
 being the current one)

So, rather than boring you with my words, allow me instead to point you towards some fine ones by other people...

Seventh Son: PrologueDear Mother and Father-
No, too formal. He'd never called them that in his life, and now really wasn't the time to start.
Dear Mum and Dad,
Much better.
Am off to seek my fortune. If not back in five years, assume am either dead or wildly successful. If wildly successful, will buy you a castle. And a herd of those big black cattle from over the valley, the ones which make the best milk and have meat that tastes fit for royalty.
Please don't worry too much about me. Have asked a lad from Oldbrook's farm to come and help you with milking, so you won't miss me too much in the barn, and I've mended the gate on the bottom field. Jon Tanner says he can help with slaughtering when the time comes, long as he can get a churn of milk to take home for his bairns.
Much love
Your son

He bit his lip, reading back over the last two lines. He could still change them. Cross them out, pretend he'd never written 'em in the first place. Pretend it'd always said what his parents

Day 185 of 365 by MysticSparkleWings

Imaginerium Chapter 1 (Rough Version)Chapter 1
It started out as a normal day, after all, it always does; a story has no relevance unless it is different from the day-to-day, if it is not extraordinary. At least, that’s how I always thought of it.
My name is Blake and, up until the events that transpired, I was a pretty much normal kid: average height, average grades, average life, and average hair (brown in case you wondered). If I had anything unusual about me, it was my left eye, which was a startling bright blue. I never knew why, everyone else in my family has brown eyes, including my grandparents; Mom always said it had something to do with recessive genes but that didn’t help much. My sister Claire always teased me about it, at least, until she turned fourteen and had other things to think about.
Today however, both us us had the same thing on our mind, a nagging question which had caught our attention and refused to let go until at last we had an answer: Why the heck was there a muse

The Dollhouse“Missy McIntyre is not a witch.” As the eight year old of the group, Erica felt it was her place to be the Voice of Reason. She smoothed her hair back under her cat-eared headband and glared at the two boys, her brown eyes matching the rich color of her skin.
“Uh huh.” Jessie, the louder of the two, asserted. His own chat noir costume annoyed Erica. His mom totally bought it for him, while she’d had to make do with what she could find.
“She is a witch, just like her Gram was!” Richie practically shouted. The zombie makeup he wore stood out in the late afternoon light. He was getting fake blood on everything.
“Shut up!” His brother shoved him further back along the fence, trying to keep them out of view of the house’s windows. Missy wasn’t answering the doorbell for trick-or-treaters, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t home.
“Melissa McIntyre is a dental hygienist.” Erica stated. Her mom had said so.

Papillon bleuJe suis un papillon bleu, les collines de glaces sur mon chemin me glacent toutes entière, je fais maintenant partis des cadavres de mes semblables mort en voulant traverser l'impossible.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has found DeviantArt 


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loverofthestrange Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2017
thank you for the fav!
Narnia564 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2016
Thanks for the fav broooooooooo :)
GladeFaun Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Welcome hun :)
Narnia564 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2016
Thanks for all the fav broo :)
GladeFaun Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Never a prob :) Loving your new icon btw
Narnia564 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016
Thanks :)
arsuew Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you for the favourite and the comment 
GladeFaun Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Not a prob :)
Narnia564 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2016
Thanks for the fav broooo :D *Napstablook dance* Blooky-animated-25 
GladeFaun Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
:D welcome!
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