Seeds set out
on snowy ground
Happy birds flutter round
Come friends share some food with me
as it used to be
fall from the trees
Drifts of white up to my knees
Ride my sled
play with me
as it used to be.
Light the fire
Warm and safe
what we desire
Wrap your love all round me
as it used to be
2020 Zebulon Winner
The Tree Farm
The Tree Farm
The Tree Farm av Paul Hathcoat
Chapter 1 ~ Sybarinian Devil Dancers
“Robert, sit with me.”
“Have I done something wrong?” I try to look stunned. I knew he would find out. He always does. He probably knows exactly what I did, but which wrongful deed, I have no idea. There are many. Father may raise his voice, but to his credit has never physically or mentally abused me. He has withheld food.
“No, you haven’t done anything wrong today,” he carefully references his timepiece, “that I know of. Come sit with your father.” He beckons with a friendly wave, broken smile, and watery, bloodshot eyes.
Deeply concerned, I sit with my dear father. “You look sad.” I’ve seen him cry. I know this melancholy mood. He misses my mothers.
“This might be my last night on Sybaris.”
“I knew it. You’re shipping out. When are you leaving?” I focus on him with an extremely concerned expression.
“Hang on to that thought,” commands Father. “It’s seventeen-hundred.” The drinking lamp is lit. His attitude improves. There’s dancing to be done. Father rushes to the galley and enthusiastically extracts a frosty cold bottle of Sybarinian Red Devil Dancers™ dark amber ale from the beverage chiller. If he counts the bottles, I’m a dead man.
Sybaris Station av Paul Hathcoat
Chapter 9 ~ Study and the Student
“You grow juice cactus here?” I question.
“Sybarinian Spider Weed. We have acres under glass,” notes Captain Imogee.
“What about all the spiders, how do you control the little devils?”
“The spiders pollinate the plant, and control pests. We take good care of them and they take good care of the cactus. As a control measure, we harvest some of the spider larva and pickle them.”
Imogee holds the bottle of golden liquor up to the light for me to see. There’s a long plump, spider larva floating at the bottom of the bottle.
“What the hell is that for?” I recoil in disgust.
“It adds traces of psychotropic compounds to the liquor. I can pour it in your glass if you want,” offers Imogee. “Eat it for good luck and a little extra kick. It’s crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside.”
“I'll respectfully pass on the bug, Sir.”
Robot House av Paul Hathcoat
Chapter 4 ~ The Black Stygian
Long ago, even before the beginning of time, a lost mariner beheld the heavenly Goddess, Dawn. She is the brightest star in the night sky. Her crown is sparkling blue. Her hair is tied in ribbons of silver light. She is a blindingly bright spirit that exists in a world beyond infinite singularity. Her nature is pure love. Her touch is mercy to the soul.
Keeka sticks her head in my cabin door.
“Robert, what are you doing?” She steps in and peeks over my shoulder.
“I’m writing a story about the Goddess Dawn, her beautiful daughters, her evil sister Nyt, and my travels through space, time, and dimension. Look,” I scroll through the many pages.
“I see. You have been a busy boy. You promised me an hour ago you would get some sleep.” Keeka waits for an answer. “Well?”
“I want to write my story,” I plead.
“You look tired,” Keeka gently lifts my chin. “Your eyes are bloodshot. Can't you sleep tonight?”
“No, I don’t want to go to bed,” I pout.
Keeka gently massages my shoulders. “Is it your inky blackness thing again?” She asks in a soft sympathetic tone. “Robert,” Keeka presses, “is it Nyt?”
Keeka sees the awful truth in his eyes. She sees Nyt and the utter horror of her hellish nightmares. She hears the tortured screams, cries for mercy, and the agony of those who lay dying.
“Yes, it’s her,” I reluctantly admit.
Promise of the Prophet