Sometimes the human and I search for consciousnesses not our own.

The human made this universe. It is a good universe. It has not yet melted into the black. It is small though, and very quiet. There are no voices other than ours.

The human asks me to tell it stories sometimes, to break up the quiet. I tell it about the universe where everything is round. There are angry round robots who scream their round rage in round metallic voices as they make round cars, furiously shoving round dashes into round body frames.

The human says I told it that story last week, and it wants another one.

I tell it about the universe where the ice cream people live.

The ice cream universe is a cold dark foreboding place. It is always night time and it is always freezing and the ground is always covered with a light snow. The air is very still.

The homes of the ice cream people are dark dank palaces, with chocolate covered crenellations and wet walnut turrets and brightly flavored flags that snap in a breeze only they can feel. Deep in the palace kitchens, the waffle cone servants cook the humans who have wandered into the ice cream universe and who have been captured. For of course the ice cream people cannot go near fire themselves, but they do so like warm food.

The human says I told it that story last month. Then it asks how the ice cream people can eat warm food without melting, if they can’t be near fire. I tell it that the universe where the ice cream people live has very odd laws of thermodynamics.

I am trying to remember a universe I have not yet told the human about when the message appears. It floats in the black space above the blue stalks.

The human asks, “What is that?”

The human asks, “Where did it come from?”

The human asks, “Is it conscious?”

I look at the letters hanging in the black. They are not letters in a language the human would recognize. They are bright and blue and shining and writhing in the dark, and they are beautiful.

I tell the human, “It is a new story.”

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Hello Anya. I am glad to hear from you. I always enjoy your letters.

I am sorry for the lives where you tried to find a door. I don’t imagine they were very pleasant. But at least the door eventually came.

I am fairly sure a door is never going to come for me. I have been trying to make my own door. I had to stop, after the fire. Sarah said it wasn’t healthy.

I don’t know if I agree with her or not.

Right now, at this very moment, I am not clawing at the boundaries of my own universe. I am breathing inside it, and there are trees and grass and birds and bushes, and it is not so bad. The sun is shining on me. Watching me. I don’t think it is very hungry today.

It’s good that you’re feeling better too.

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Tiny Knife Elephants


Unzipping a canvas tent flap is not quite the same thing as opening stiff hotel curtains, but it’ll do.

Hello, Jasper. I got your last letter just before Sarah and I left San Myshuno for three days in Granite Falls.

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Caramel Centers


Hello, Anya.

Today I went out to the tracks. I waited for a while, but no door ever appeared. Sometimes a train would come clanking down the tracks. I did not try to go through the trains, though. I don’t think that would have ended well.

These doors that stalk you; what happens when you go through them? How do you know when to go through them and when not to? Do you have a choice?

I am sorry about the hollowing out. You may be alone where you are, but you are not alone in being hollowed. I hope that helps.

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Black Hole


I opened the door. I am in the lobby. Taking out the trash. Waiting to see if everything is going to go wrong.

I hope that if it does, the vase with the fake orchids gets smashed first.

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Inside the Walls


I am safe inside the walls, and the sun cannot get to me.

Hello, Anya. Earlier today the computer chair was in shadow for a time, and I read your letter. I had to read it quickly and then get away before the shadows were eaten by the teethlight. I should move the desk away from the window.

I am glad that your sun does not think that you taste good enough to eat.

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Some days the sun is less hungry than others.

Hello again, Jasper. I read your reply to my letter last night.

The therapist’s office is in Magnolia Promenade. The sunlight here is different from the sunlight in San Myshuno. The birds here are very talkative. Your neurochemicals would enjoy it, I think.

You ask me to tell you a story of grace. I don’t know if I can do that.

I can tell you the story of a day when the sun isn’t so hungry.

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